Take pride! Local sporting year has been one to cherish

As 2019 ends, sporting people across the Observer patch can look back with pride on a year when achievements were many and varied.

Wednesday, 25th December 2019, 8:30 am
The Chichester City team who reached the Sussex Senior Cup / Picture by Neil Holmes

From the professional jockeys who thrilled racegoers at Goodwood and Fontwell right down to the juniors just starting out in grass-roots sport, so many did so much this year that they can be mightily proud about.

In the final three months of the year, our sport pages have been dominated by Chichester City’s remarkable FA Cup run.

Miles Rutherford’s team fought through six qualifying rounds then got a first-round bye to reach round two of the famous competition for the first time in the club’s history.

Bognor lift the Sussex Senior Cup / Picture by Tommy McMillan

It’ll not be forgotten by anyone who was involved.

Earlier in the year, Bognor won their first trophy for 32 years when they beat Burgess Hill at Brighton’s Amex Stadium to claim the Sussex Senior Cup.

On the rugby front, both Chichester and Bognor RFC had a solid 2019, winning more than losing while entertaining fans at Oaklands Park and Hampshire Avenue.

See a selection of our best back pages of 2019 in our review of the sporting year in this week's Observer (on sale Dec 24)

Deirdre wins the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood for her Japanese connections / Picture by Malcolm Wells

Don't miss our best sport videos of the year on this site from Boxing Day to New Year's Eve

On the cricket front, Middleton remain our leading local team after an excellent Sussex Premier League campaign, while Chichester Priory Park and Bognor do well in division two with hopes of joining them soon.

This part of the world is lucky to have two great racecourses and both served up some great days in 2019.

But has there been a more inspiring day at either in recent years than 2019 Ladies’ Day at Glorious Goodwood, when Khadijah Mellah’s win the Magnolia Cup and the Japanese horse Deirdre’s victory in the Nassau Stakes created such a buzz on the South Downs? Wonderful!

James Baker, centre, won the Chi Half for the eighth year in a row / Picture by Derek Martin

In athletics, the area’s three big races – the Chi Priory 10k, Bognor Prom 10k and Chichester Half Marathon – continued to go from strength to strength, while Chichester Runners and Tone Zone Runners members chalked up some brilliant achievements.

Those just scratch the surface of the thriving local sport scene, and we say well done to everyone who played, organised or watched local sport in 2019.

Here’s to a lot more of the same in 2020 - and with that in mind, do keep sending your sport stories and pictures our way - [email protected] is the address to send them to.