Fine Chichester performances in final Southern Athletics League match

Chichester's relay winners Sarah Fenmor Collins, Alex Fryday, Tess Shipton and Annabelle Hellyer.
Chichester's relay winners Sarah Fenmor Collins, Alex Fryday, Tess Shipton and Annabelle Hellyer.

CHICHESTER’S senior track and field team produced some fine performances in their final Southern Athletics League match at the Mountbatten Centre, Portsmouth on Saturday.

In the first season of the newly-formed combined men and women’s team there have been many encouraging signs that this team has a promising future. With a mixture of under-17s, under-20s, seniors and veterans, Chichester were able to challenge in most events including a number of double first places.

One event where youth prevailed was in the pole vault where Jamie Moore was unchallenged in the men’s competition with a final clearance of 3 metres 90cm, just below his club record of 4 metres, while Tess Shipton recorded her first win in the women’s competition with a personal best of 2 metres.

Shipton then completed a fine afternoon with a javelin win, which was matched in the men’s event by Felix Irwin-Brown, who is still in the under-20 age group, but went to the top of the club rankings for 2011 with an impressive 43 metres winning throw. Moore meanwhile completed a double with an unexpected high jump win.

Experience paid in the middle distance races with James Baker lapping the rest of the field in the 5000 metres with a 15.30 clocking, supported well by veteran Chris Jack who took the B string honours.

Baker completed a double in the steeplechase, but was prevented from making it another clean sweep by a fast finishing Vale of Aylesbury athlete in the 1500 metres. In both events Callum Adams was a worthy B string with two good second places. Elsewhere on the track George Grainger produced another sub 57 second clocking in the 400 metres hurdles for an emphatic win and then used his speed in the 200 and 400 metres partnered by Rory Myers and Freddie Ransom respectively.

Chris Cox was near his best in the 800 metres and formed a promising partnership with Irwin-Brown in the shot, while Nick Fenmor Collins made his first appearance for a couple of seasons with a close second place in the B string javelin.

There was a similar combination of youth and experience in the women’s squad with under-20 Katie Hardcastle emulating Shipton’s success with a convincing long jump win at over 5 metres.

Alex Fryday and Annabelle Hellyer showed good sprinting speed and, together with Shipton, have been part of the club’s successful under-17s over the summer.

Making it the first husband and wife combination to compete for Chichester in the same team, Sarah Fenmor Collins made her first track appearance for many years and bravely tackled all three middle distance events over 800, 1500 and 3000 metres.

In spite of this she still had enough energy to line up with Fryday, Shipton and Hellyer to record a superb 4x100 metres relay win at the end of the match.

Showing great team spirit, this effort was nearly matched by the men’s 4x400 metres squad as Grainger, Myers and Cox handed over to Adams who bravely held off the Winchester athlete for a hard-fought third place.

While last weekend marked the end of the league season for the seniors, Chichester’s under -13s and under-15s are eagerly awaiting their respective Sussex grand finals in early September.

The under-15s travel to Brighton on Friday, September 2, while the under-13s are at Crawley on Sunday, September 4, with both squads never having finished outside the top four in the nine-club final.