Chichester hold their own among southern powerhouses
Chichester's under-17s and under-20s travelled to Bournemouth for the third round of the National Youth Development league '“ and their 20-strong squad were involved in a great battle with the other five clubs.
They just missed out on a top-three place after four hours of competition.
The division the club are in this season represents one of the strongest ever seen on the south coast with Brighton and Southampton joining the powerful trio of Bournemouth, Winchester and City of Portsmouth.
Conditions were good for sprinting which resulted in a clutch of personal-best times for the Chichester men’s squad.
Lewis Hall lowered his 100m best for the second time in a month with an 11.7-second finish while the club’s 200m runners finished with virtually the same time.
Hall and Max Lambkin were rewarded with clockings of 24.2 seconds in the under-17 races while Brandon Bell was just a tenth slower in the under-20 age group.
In the 400m Ben Collins dipped under the 54-second barrier for the first time with 53.9sec and had a good all-round day by breaking the 6m mark in the long jump for the first time with 6.01.
There was strength in depth again in the middle-distance races with the best being saved to last with a 4.52 clocking from Leo Stallard in the 1,500m steeplechase where he was joined by Alex Mani.
Stallard and Collins had earlier dipped under 2.09 for the 800m while Jack Dean, JJ Staples and Charlie Benson all set good times in the 1,500m.
In the longest race of the day Alfie Spurle and Harry Sage kept up a good pace despite of a lack of opposition from the other clubs.
The hurdles saw Lambkin competitive over both the 100m distance and the gruelling 400m event.
In the field events, Chichester had the best showing of any club in the triple jump with Staples, Dean, Spurle and Sage all in action while the throws were spearheaded by Cellan Robinson and Gus Haplik.
Despite having to contend with the leading UK hammer thrower from Brighton, they stuck to their task to gain valuable points for the team in shot, discus, javelin and hammer.
Once again Chichester’s sprinters made the most of the conditions with Alyssa White and Rachel Laurie posting the fastest times over 100m and 200m.
White gained confidence for the English schools championships in Birmingham at the end of this week with a good 12.4sec clocking in the 100m and retained her form well down the home straight with 26.0sec in the 200m.
The times were almost matched by Rachel Laurie, who also showed fine form with times of 12.6 and 26.1.
Phoebe Pontet took advantage of a space in the 100m teamsheet and showed a very fluent action in the hurdles.
Rosie Compton ran well in the 200m with Laurie and was over the four-metre mask in the long jump. Middle-distance duo Florence Smith and Chloe Benson teamed up in the 1,500m at the start of the afternoon’s action with Smith showing her all-round ability with a 9m-plus effort in the triple jump.
The final fixture in the league takes place at the Withdean Stadium, Brighton, on Sunday, July 23.
Sussex Under-15 League at Horsham
Although missing several members of their National League squad, Chichester put up a spirited performance at Broadbridge Heath in the Sussex Under 15 League.
Although it has only been formed for only ten years, the standard of junior athletics in Sussex seems to be going from strength to strength and three league records were broken in this latest fixture.
Performance of the night was by Chichester’s Liam Dunne, who smashed the league record by more than four seconds in the 1,500m to record a time of 4min 19.3sec.
This is not only a new Sussex League record but also sets a new club record as it beats the previous time of 4.23.4 set by Ben Collins in 2015.
Dunne is another Chichester athlete who has been selected for the English schools championships at the weekend but for Hampshire schools rather than Sussex as the ex-Westbourne Primary schools pupil studies at Bohunt School in Hampshire.
His event at Birmingham will be the 800m as he had already gained qualification for the shorter distance in the inter-counties.
At Horsham there was a new look to the boys’ team with new sprint pairing Oliver Sanderson and Zac Entiknapp in action in the 100m with Sanderson doubling up in the 200m as well as scoring near-maximum points partnered by Ben Wadey in the hurdles at the start of the match.
Archie Sadler and Archie Lyne coped well with a fierce pace in the 800m where the first three A string athletes were all under 2min 11sec.
In the throws, Chichester had a strong pairing with Vinnie Conte-Smith forming a good partnership in shot, discus and hammer, meeting most of the competition from the Crawley and Worthing athletes.
In the girls’ events, Chichester’s middle-distance quartet had the best results.
Maggie King and Nicole Boltwood gained two second places in the 800m, having to contend with a record-breaking run from the Crawley A string athlete.
The 1,500m pairing went one better with Olivia Toms leading from the front from the gun to finish more than ten seconds ahead of her nearest rival in 5.08.5 while Charlotte Bullard proved too good for the B strings to give Chichester their only maximum points of the match.
Millie Grant, Jess Rayner and Maya Solly battled well in the sprints while King and Bullard stepped down a distance to get some speed racing in the 300m.
In the field events Holly Trinder was joined by Grant and Solly in the shot and discus while Grant Trinder and Rayner completed the team’s events in long jump and high jump.
The under-15s will be in action with the under-13s at the final junior National League match at Woking on July 15.
Match score at Bournemouth
Brighton & Hove 370 pts
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