Chichester’s under-13 squad performed heroically in the Sussex Grand Final at Crawley to produce their best all-round performance of the season – finishing fourth out of the top ten teams in Sussex.
This maintains their record of never having finished outside the top half of the placings in the 19 years the final has taken place in its present format.
It was so nearly a place in the top three as Chichester and Horsham were separated by a single point going into the 4x100m relays with only Brighton & Hove and Crawley ahead. Despite their best efforts, Chichester’s relay runners just could not get ahead of Horsham and had to settle for fourth place – but finished a massive 80 points clear of the next best team in fifth.
The club were given a flying start by a new combination of sprinters in the girls’ 75m with Lila Stone a fine third in the A string race in 11.02sec with team-mate Izzy Holcroft going one better for second in the B string with 11.37.
A total of 17 out of 20 points was just what the rest of the Chichester athletes needed, helping boost confidence in a very inexperienced squad.
Later Stone and Holcroft repeated their positions in the 150m and played a major part in the relay team to cap a fine afternoon.
Sinead Jones and Eleanor Farquhar provided a useful combination in the 600m while Alice Waterworth and Grace Bishop picked up useful points in the 1000m.
Farquhar teamed up with Gabriella Styles in the hurdles while Lola Hart gained useful experience over 75m and 600m in non-scoring races.
Another newcomer, Juliette Franks, showed good form in the shot with third place in the A string while Lucy Hollyer, normally a track runner, gained the same position in the B string for an unexpected 16 points.
Ruby Chandler was on good form in discus and javelin with Hollyer and Amelie McGurk gaining third places in the B strings.
McGurk teamed up with Franks in the high jump while Waterworth and Styles completed the squad in the long jump.
With a bare minimum of ten boys available, Chichester were forced move some of the squad into less familiar roles to make the best use of the abilities of those at the match.
Multi-eventer Fionn O’Murchu is the current club No1 in five events at this age group but all athletes are restricted to two events plus a relay for the Sussex final. As a result, O’Murchu missed out on probably his strongest event, the 600m, but instead teamed up with Connor McCormack in both shot and javelin.
This paid off as the pair were both over the 8m mark in the shot with McCormack just ahead with 8.09 to O’Murchu’s 8.07.
Only one other competitor from any other club was able to match them so 19 points out of 20 were in the bag.
In the javelin, O’Murchu threw a best of 26m for second in the A string while McCormack finished third in the B string with just under 20m and another 17-point haul.
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On the track Josh Dunne and Logan Cooper caught the eye in a very high-standard 100m to finish in a shade over three minutes while Henry Weld and
Hal Edgar were also equally matched in the 600m, their times separated by a tenth of a second in 1.56.
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Micah Campbell spearheaded the sprints to good effect, well supported by Marcus Bone and Weld over 75m and 150m.
Joe Steyn produced a fine equal second place in the high jump with a clearance of 1.35 with Dunne reaching nearly 4m in the A string long jump while Alfie Carr provided good support in the B string on each occasion.
With all ten boys showing great team spirit, Edgar and Cooper tackled the hurdles while Bone filled the one gap left in the B string discus to partner Steyn and add vital points to keep Chichester hot on the heels of the top three.
1 Brighton & Hove 393 match pts
2 Crawley 376
3 Horsham Blue Star 289
4 Chichester 284
5 Haywards Heath 202
6 Eastbourne Rovers 141
7 Brighton Phoenix 136
8 Lewes 132
9 Worthing & District 99
10 East Grinstead 91