Chichester’s talented under-15s had to settle for a hard-fought runners-up spot in the Sussex Grand Final at Withdean in Brighton.
In a nail-biting match, the lead changed hands between Chichester and Crawley several times.
A virtually full-strength boys’ team won their section despite a couple of injuries sustained during the match, while the girls, missing a couple of key athletes, had to settle for a close fifth.
With nine clubs involved, outright victories were hard to come by but Chichester’s field eventers managed two double firsts from their A and B strings.
Throwers Peter Thomas and Jay Lake were in fine form in shot, discus and javelin to notch 47 points out of 54 from the three events, the highlight a double first in the shot putt.
There were two second places in the hammer, in which the Crawley A string athlete threw a league record 55m to put him second on the UK age-group rankings.
Ted Maddocks and Andrew Bysouth notched the other double win in the long jump, which Bysouth followed with a win in the high jump. Sam Pillans just missed maximum points with second in the B string.
On the track Collins Alfred was second in a 100m where seven athletes were split by less than a third of a second.
Jake Emerson faced quick times in the 200m in his first appearance for the club.
James Amos secured a hard-fought second in the 400m, a placing repeated by Casey Keates in the 800m, one of the most exciting races of the evening. Luke Garnham supported well in the B string.
Jake Pillans was well under five minutes in a classy 1,500m. Brother Sam was unable to line up after a knock in the high jump.
The 4x100m squad of Bysouth, Emerson, Maddocks and Alfred raced to a 51.6 clocking and were pipped only by outstanding teams from Horsham and Crawley.
The 4 x 400 team of Salt, Keates, Pillians and Garnham fought to the line for second in the final event.
In a standard equal to the boys’ match, Chichester’s girls did well to match all other teams except for champions Crawley, whose 25-point gap was just enough to give them the overall victory.
This was despite the unavailability of most of the club’s specialist throwers but it gave a chance for Chichester’s team spirit to ensure every event was well covered.
Chichester emerged with the best results in the field events with Abby Moss and Jade Bailey well over four metres in the long jump, enabling Bailey to win the B string.
The best girls’ A string result was from Sophie Shergold with a fine second place in the javelin while, on the track, Charlotte Reading came through with a fast finish to gain third in the 800m with Lauren Dugdale supporting well in the B string.
Rose Ellis was up against one of the strongest fields of the night in the 1,500m where she battled well for fifth with Jess Goddard gaining good points for second in the B string.
Amy Brown had the most versatile match of any Chichester athlete with a good 200m and high jump after partnering Zoe Nunn in the hammer.
Caitlin Moore spearheaded the sprints, with Nunn a useful B string in the 100m, while Beth Rogers ensured more vital points were gained in shot and discus.
As with the boys, the two relays at the end of the match were crucial in maintaining Chichester’s place in the top two with Brown, Bailey, Nunn and Moore just edged into seventh in the 4x100m while Moss, Shergold, Rogers and Reading powered their way to second in the 4x300m to repeat the boys’ result and finish on a high.
See the under-15s doing the Mobot - in the Observer, out now