Chichester runners warm hearts on a chilly day
Chichester started their junior National League campaign in fine style at a chilly Portsmouth.
After a four-hour programme comprising 50 events across the under-13 and under-15 age groups, Chichester finished in second place to a strong Horsham team and a mere five points in front of Woking. Bournemouth, Havant and Reigate occupied the last three places. What was especially impressive was how the 15 newcomers in the 40-strong squad supported the established members of the team.
With many stars of last year’s team having moved into the under-17s, responsibility rested on the shoulders of the remaining members of the team who were runners-up in last year’s Sussex final.
These plus newcomers and members of the 2015 under-13s more than played their part in the results with the boys under-15s emerging as top team.
Leading from the front was Cellan Robinson who had convincing wins in the 100m and 200m, recording times of 12.7sec and 25.6sec into a strong headwind.
Supporting well were Jacob Piper in the 100m and newcomer Joe Futures in the 200m for near-maximum points over the two events.
Liam Dunne and Ned Potter notched second places in the 800m and 1,500m with back-up from Jeremy Sharp and Harry Sage.
The club’s depth in talent was seen in the 800m with five non-scorers led home by Alex Mani, another making his debut for the club, Harry Smith, Owen Thomas, George Ashby and David Bisatt.
The most unexpected result of the day was probably in the hurdles, where Ethan Brown and Sam Price flew home ahead of the rest.
These two had a profitable afternoon with Brown clearing 2.20m for second place in the pole vault and Price repeating the runners-up spot in long jump and high jump.
In the throws, only Robinson in the shot and Brown in the javelin are regular throwers but the rest of the squad rallied round to amass a crucial 30 points.
Highlight of the relays was the stirring performance of both teams. First the under-15s proved too strong for the opposition in the 4x100m with Piper, Futures and Price handing the baton to Robinson, who simply raced away from the opposition down the home straight.
Then the 4x300m quartet were in action with Brown, Dunne and Potter battling with a strong Woking team over the first three laps with Mani battling all the way down the final straight to dip at the line at the same time as his rival. The teams were given the same time but the judges gave the win to Woking by the thickness of a vest.
The under-15 girls’ team had a new look with Alyssa White, Rachel Laurie and several others having moved up an age group.
Maya Shankar, part of last year’s under-13s, had the fastest times in the sprints, ably assisted by Rosie Compton and Emily Russell – with Annabel Eden and Lauren Flanagan gaining good experience as non-scorers.
After a good cross-country season, Amber Dodd, Caitlin Brown and Maggie King picked up useful points over 800m and 1,500m against strong opposition with Olivia Wiseman also in action over 800m for her second-claim club.
In the field, Rosie Sloane produced one of the best performances of the day in winning the long jump with her final leap, well supported by Shankar for a second place in the B string.
In the throws, Charlotte Rawlinson was supported by the rest of the squad and their contribution greatly helped the score.
Under-13 girls and boys
Virtually the whole under-13 squad were newcomers, with only three of the 15 having had previous experience in a club league match.
The standard from all six teams was remarkably high for this stage in the season with marks such as 1.50m set in the girls’ match and two boy javelin throwers well over 30m, plus several other marks of a county standard.
While not winning any A string events, virtually all 15 athletes set personal-best performances during the day.
Sprinters Mia Brown and Fleur Hollyer set the ball rolling in the 70m hurdles then faced strong opposition in the 75m.
All-rounders Millie Grant and Ruby Cousins tackled the 150m and teamed up for the javelin.
Primary-school pupil Cerys Dickinson and Sophie Dudman were given a slots in the 800m with established pairing Nina Moranne and Nicole Boltwood gaining near-maximum points in the 1,200.
Another newcomer, DJ Barth, led the sprints for the boys while Seamus McCormack and Sam Corbett led team in the 800m and 1,500m respectively supported by Sam Sage, Jake Farquhar and Thomas Beasley.
The overall standard of the other teams was generally county standard but Chichester stuck to their task and helped their older team-mates to a great result.
1 Horsham 536pts
2 Chichester 485
3 Woking 480
4 Bournemouth 454
5 Havant 270
6 Reigate 131
by PHIL BAKER
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