Chichester athletes make solid start to new national league

Chichester's under-17 and under-20 athletes brave the cold at Winchester
Chichester's under-17 and under-20 athletes brave the cold at Winchester

Chichester’s under-20 and under-17s did battle at a cold and windswept Winchester in their first match in the new national Youth Development League.

With another encouraging all-round performance from the 21-athlete squad, Chichester claimed second place behind a strong showing from hosts Winchester & District but well in front of their other four rivals.

In the women’s section, there were double A-string victories for Isobel Brown and Rose Ellis with great support from

the rest of the team.

As well as scoring an expected high jump win in difficult conditions, Brown was impressive in the 200m and showed good speed in the relays at the end of the match.

Ellis, meanwhile, battled against the wind to win the 800m and 1,500m in the under-17 age group while Lucy Thraves and Lucy Ellis picked up a string of second places for the under-20s in the same events and Georgina Warner kept up the momentum over the seven-and-a-half laps of the 3,000m.

In the under-17 sprints, Caitlin Moore was narrowly beaten in the 100m but made up for it with a fluent winning run in the 200m as well as scoring a personal best in the triple jump.

With Holly Beaton showing good form over 300m and Jade Bailey impressing over both hurdles and long jump, the team was completed by Zoe Nunn and Beth Rogers, who amassed 23 points between them in the throws, a significant addition to the total.

In the men’s events, there was a similar story of good performances over the whole range of events.

Chichester’s best individual event came in the 3,000m with Harry Leleu leading from the front to finish clear in 9min 15sec, a good effort in the windy conditions.

Josh James stuck to his task to win the B string 30 seconds back while Ed Gerwat was just pipped for second place in the under-17 section in the same race.

There was strong representation for the club in the other two middle-distance events with Jake Pillans leading the way

in 800m and 1,500m followed by Sam Pillans and Harry Pink.

In the sprints, Jake Emerson and Matt Dodd faced quick runners from other clubs but emerged with credit while Greg Smith came down from his usual distance to show good form over 400m, supported well by Robin Elms.

Peter Thomas was Chichester’s only specialist thrower in action and notched up three good second places, far from a disgrace as the England No1 hammer thrower was in the field, as was a nationally-ranked Winchester athlete in the discus.

The rest of the squad filled for in the rest of the throws with the highlight a 37m effort in the javelin with the 800g senior implement.

Match score:

1 Winchester & District 545pts

2 Chichester 419

3 City of Portsmouth 301

4 Havant / Isle of Wight 255

5 Fleet & Crookham 124

6 Woking 62

This weekend is the first chance for Chichester’s junior section to show their form on the athletics track, with the opening fixture in their national Youth Development League being held at Portsmouth on Saturday.

The two age groups in action will be the under-15s in school Years 8 and 9 and the club’s youngest age group, the under-13s in school Years 6 and 7.

For many of the latter it will be their first real experience of athletics in a stadium - but their winter’s training and form over the cross-country section should stand them in good stead.

The club’s training headquarters has moved to the new facilities at the University of Chichester for the summer.

Potential new members are welcome but should contact club secretary Phil Baker before coming. Email with your details.