Young Chichester athletes sihne against south’s best

Grace Wills was one of the stars for the under-17s/20s team / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Grace Wills was one of the stars for the under-17s/20s team / Picture by Lee Hollyer

Chichester’s under-17s and under-20s travelled to Winchester for round two of their national Youth Development League campaign and were rewarded with a string of personal-best performances among some of the toughest opposition in the south.

Nowhere was that more evident than in the field events where a 70m-plus hammer throw from Ben Hawkes of Worthing saw him lead the national rankings while nearly half the field in the women’s discus were ranked in the UK top ten.

Chichester more than held their own with Alyssa White and Rachel Laurie gaining good sprinting wins and Rosie Compton offering good support in the B string races.

Chichester more than held their own with Alyssa White and Rachel Laurie gaining good sprinting wins and Rosie Compton offering good support in the B string races.

Grace Wills set a new personal best of 3min 56sec in the 1,500m while middle-distance regular Caitlin Brown was joined by newcomer Ella Saunders to pick up useful points.

There was another best time for Phoebe Pontet in the hurdles and she and Compton improved in the long jump.

Lucie Munday was joined by Olivia Moranne in the throws and both performed well in the hammer, shot and discus.

In the men’s events there was a good all-round showing on the track with sprinters Brandon Bell and Lewis Hall in the 100m and 200m while Cellan Robinson, Max Lambkin and Tom Claydon strengthened the squad to notch up five personal best times between them.

Lambkin had recorded a fast time over 400m hurdles supported by Dean Young and set another best time with Sam Price over 100m hurdles.

Price went on to jump 1.65m in the high jump with Tom Claydon equalling his best with 1.70. Claydon was close to the 6m barrier in the long jump with Alex Ioan and George Orchard in support while Robinson showed his versatility in shot put and hammer.

In the middle distance events, Ben Morton led the line with good runs over 1,500m and 3,000m with Alfie Spurle and Harry Sage also in excellent form.

The next fixture is at Bournemouth at the end of June.

Having already shown good form in their national league campaign, Chichester’s under-15s travelled to Horsham for the first fixture in the Sussex League, a series of matches which culminates in the Sussex grand final in September.

This is a league where stars of the future have come to attention and this season looks like being no exception with a host of county-best performances, especially from Crawley, who won the girls and boys’ matches.

There was a three-way battle for runners-up spot between Chichester, Horsham and East Grinstead which the home side edged.

There was a good balance in the Chichester squad in track and field and the girls and boys came away with identical match scores.

The girls’ field events were strong and Alexia Everley posted two close runners-up spots in hammer and discus while Millie Grant and Maya Solly had the same outcome in the shot after they had paired up in 100m.

Emily Shippam and Jess Rayner formed a reliable partnership in long jump and high jump with Leila Solly a capable reserve in the high jump.

Olivia Toms ran a good tactical race in the 1,500m to break away on the final lap with Nina Moranne in the B string while Sophie Lambourne and Nicole Boltwood made a good pairing in the 800m.

In the boys’ match Liam Dunne was too good for the rest in the 800m, smashing his personal best to come home in 2.05.1, half a second outside the league record set by Chichester athlete Ben Collins in 2015.

Ollie Beach teamed up with Dunne in the 300m then showed his all-round ability with runners-up spots in discus and javelin.

Dylan Giles showed high standards in hammer, discus and shot with Toby Causer supporting well in the shot.

On the track Jacob Piper had only the Crawley athletes faster over 200m while Archie Sadler and Jonny Simmonds teamed up in the 1,500n with Max Cooke and Harry Angell in the hurdles.

In the jumps, Piper and Sadler made a good long-jump pairing as did Angell and Causer in the high jump.

The whole squad performed with credit and can look forward with confidence to their next match.

PHIL BAKER

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