After a month’s rest from team competition, Chichester’s juniors return to action this weekend with the two Sussex Grand Finals.
After competing together as a combined team in their successful National League campaign over the summer, the club’s u13s and u15s go their separate ways in the Sussex team competitions.
Both squads will have to follow a high standard set by their predecessors in previous years. The u15s will be at the Withdean Stadium, Brighton tomorrow (Friday) evening and will be aiming to make it a hat trick of top 2 placings out of the top 10 Sussex clubs who will be represented.
Both in 2015 and 2016 Chichester were the only team to manage to run national Premier Crawley close, beating off the challenge of a strong Brighton & Hove squad in the process. However, with many of last season’s u15s having moved up into a higher age group this season, all eyes will be on the new crop of athletes to see if they can maintain Chichester’s remarkable run in finishing in the top three in five out of the seven years that the final has taken place.
It looks like being very much a team effort as just one of Chichester’s current squad is ranked number 1 in their event with Liam Dunne’s 1500 metres time of 4 minutes 15.2 seconds not only the fastest time of 2017 but an all-time league record to boot.
The action starts at 6.15pm on Friday with the boys and girls hammer and finishes with the exciting 4 x 100 and 4 x 300 metres relays at 8.45 pm.
Two days later on Sunday the under 13’s will be doing battle at the K2 Stadium, Crawley for the 18th year of the Sussex Grand Final with again the top 10 Sussex clubs in action. Chichester surprisingly won the first final in 2000 and have never been headed at the top of the all-time league table ever since.
They have amassed 149 league points in that time, just ahead of joint second placers Crawley and Horsham on 147 with Brighton & Hove not far behind on 135. The dominance of these top 4 clubs can be seen in that 5th place Lewes are on 99, exactly 50 points behind the leaders. Similarly with the under 15’s, the majority of last year’s team have progressed into the next age group so much will depend on how the new intake can cope with the pressure of what promises to be a titanic battle for the top 3 places.
Both the Crawley and Brighton squads look very impressive on paper with Horsham not far behind so in theory Chichester are not expected to finish any higher than fourth so team spirit will come into play. Sunday’s match at the K2 starts at 12.30 pm.