Chichester's men lead the charge for athletics glory at Swindon

Ollie Beach / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Ollie Beach / Picture by Lee Hollyer

Chichester’s senior track and field team put up a fine display at Swindon with their men in particular giving a good account of themselves.

The men finished second to a strong Guildford squad but were too good for both Havant and Exeter. Another weakened women’s section meant that overall Chichester slipped behind Havant to settle for third place overall.

On another hot day it was impressive that several new personal-best performances were set during the match.

The sprinters realised it would not be a day for fast times when they had to battle a stiff breeze into their faces down the home straight but Chichester’s men’s pairing of Max Lambkin and Ethan Hartley shewed their mettle by scoring 14 out of a maximum 16 over 100m and 200m.

Lambkin was just outside his fastest time this season but a 23.9 200m clocking was good in the conditions. Hartley, meanwhile, set new PBs of 12 and 24.2sec respectively.

He also had enough to spare with a sub 52-second clocking on the opening leg of the 4x400m relay.

Elsewhere on the track Jack Dean and Ned Potter provided a good pairing in the 800m with Dean finishing strongly in the final 50m.

Potter teamed up with Ben Collins in the 3000m, dropping just one point between them with Collins smashing his previous best time by 16 seconds with a 9.03 clocking in the hottest part of the day. Potter also ran well in the conditions with a time of 9.32 and easily won the B string.

Alfie Spurle showed his good range of ability over 400m and 1500m before joining up with Dean in the triple jump to good effect.

David Guillan showed good form in the high jump in his first match for the club as well as linking up with Collins in the long jump.

In the throws, Andy Hall had to contend with nationally ranked Peter Cassidy from Guildford who set a new best mark of 57.92, bettering his previous best by two metres.

Undaunted, Hall, UK silver medallist for his age group, was just short of the 40m mark and in front of a very capable Havant athlete.

With fellow regular thrower Tim Brown on officials duty as match scorer, Jonathan Russell stepped up very capably to help Hall accumulate 20 points for the club in shot, discus, hammer and javelin.

In the javelin they were faced with another 50m-plus thrower, again by one of the talented Guildford squad. Epitomising the team spirit, Hall even found the energy to make a 2.05m clearance in the pole vault, adding another second place to the total.

The women’s section on the squad were again lacking in numbers but the trio of athletes competing set four PBs and notched up an A string win.

Emily Russell looked in the sharpest form of her season so far and was rewarded with new lifetime best times in both 100m and 200m, the 13.5sec 100m time the most impressive running into a headwind.

Phoebe Pontet supported well in the 200m after tackling her first ever 400m hurdles. With good sprinting speed and a fluent hurdling technique Pontet showed much promise for the future.

In the throws, Alexia Everley has been showing good late-season form and was rewarded with a winning throw in the discus as well as picking up good points in both hammer and javelin.

The Chichester senior squad now have a five-week break from league action but will be in action for their final match of the Southern League season at the same venue on Saturday, August 18.

*Two of Chichester’s up-and-coming athletes were in action in the English Schools track and field championships in Birmingham.

Representing Sussex schools was Seaford College’s Ollie Beach, who justified his selection with a fine throw of 41.12m in the discus in the junior boys’ age group. This was his first time over 40m in a major competition and nearly two metres more than his previous best.

This effort placed him fifth in the final and propels him up to seventh in the UK under-15 rankings.

What makes Beach such a good all-round athlete is his ability not only to be competitive in other throwing events such as the shot putt but also show a good burst of speed on the track and vie with the best in Sussex over 300m.

Another member of Chichester Runners & AC was representing Hampshire Schools – Liam Dunne in the intermediate boys’ 1500m.

Dunne has made the transition from last year’s under-15 age group with a flourish and has knocked a massive ten seconds off his 1500m best this season, which now stands at just over 4min 4sec.

This would have been good enough to make the final at Birmingham but Dunne just could not match the fast finish of the leading competitors in his heat.

Dunne has another season in the same age group so the experience of these championships will stand him in good stead for 2019.

Chichester talisman James Baker has not let the summer heatwave stop him from adding to his mammoth total of more than 800 race victories in his illustrious career spanning well over two decades.

A regular sight at the Chichester parkrun if his busy race schedule permits, Baker was less just four seconds off his best time last Saturday with a fine 16.03 clocking, one of the fastest times anywhere in the UK and more than two minutes ahead of the rest at Chichester.

This was just a few days after running away from the field in equally emphatic fashion in the 30th anniversary running of the popular Gibbet Hill race near Haslemere.

Runners have to climb up to the Gibbet Hill landmark in the course of the 10k race and Baker used his renowned strength over hilly terrain to break clear of his rivals and cross the line in 35min 36sec, once again nearly two minutes ahead of the rest.