Chichester athletes happy with track and field finale

Some of the Chi Runners team at Worthing / Picture by Sarah Kilroy
Some of the Chi Runners team at Worthing / Picture by Sarah Kilroy
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Chichester finished their senior track and field campaign with a hard-fought runners-up spot at a blustery Worthing track.

With a mixture of improving juniors, seniors and veterans, the club gave a good account of themselves to finish in front of Bournemouth and a combined Andover and Overton team and were beaten only by hosts Worthing.

Meagher volunteered to run the 3,000m steeplechase and after playing a waiting game for the first seven laps, he managed to produce an impressive turn of speed over the final 200m to make it four wins out of four.

Even missing a number of regulars, Chichester dominated the track events and recorded ten firsts and two second places from the 12 events, from the 100m to the 5,000m.

In the men’s match Charlie Roe finished a close second in the 100m in a new personal best of 11.1sec and went on to show the rest of the competitors a clean pair of heels in both 200m and 400m, where he was supported well by Isaac Kilroy and Brandon Bell in the B string races.

Ben Collins usually likes a fast pace in the 800m but on this occasion was content to stay in the pack battling the gale-force wind down the back straight.

The tactics proved spot on as he raced away from the field in the finishing straight, a race plan he repeated in the 1,500m with the same result.

In both races, Conrad Meagher provided excellent back-up in winning the B strings and took up the A-string mantle in the 5,000ms in the absence of James Baker, still not fully recovered from an injury sustained earlier in the season.

As if this was not enough, Meagher volunteered to run the 3,000m steeplechase and after playing a waiting game for the first seven laps, he managed to produce an impressive turn of speed over the final 200m to make it four wins out of four.

He become only the second Chichester athlete, after Baker, to achieve this feat in a league match over the four middle distance events.

In the field events, Chichester’s trio of Phil Kearney and veterans Tim Brown and Andy Hall were up against the talented Evans twins from Worthing but were comfortably ahead of the rest of the athletes in the throws.

A disappointment for Brown and Hall was the enforced cancellation of the hammer event as the new netting did not meet the stringent safety standards for the event.

Kearney had a busy afternoon with good marks in 400m hurdles, high jump, pole vault and javelin. In his second match for the club, newcomer Alex Ioan was again on good form in the long and triple jumps.

There was a similar story in the women’s section of the match with Alyssa White stamping her authority in the sprints and winning both by a clear margin and posting good times in the process including a quick 12.2 in the 100m.

Grace Wills battled well into the teeth of the wind for a convincing win in the 800m and was equally as impressive in the 400m, showing impressive sustained speed to leave her rivals training.

Middle-distance and road-running specialist Emily Moore tried hard to stay with veteran international Caroline Hoyte in the 3,000m but had to let her rival go clear in the second half of the race to bag the runners-up spot.

This did not prevent Moore from returning later in the match to notch up Chichester’s tenth track win of the day in the 1,500m.

There was good support for White in the sprints from Isabell Cooper in the 100m then White, Cooper and Roberta Collyer combined to score good points in both high jump and long jump.

The throws were well covered by a new combination with one of the pair making her first appearance for some 16 years.

Jenny Lyne, who was competing under her maiden name of Phillips back in 1999 and 2000, came into athletics from rugby, having reached the pinnacle of the sport with appearances in two world cups.

Persuaded to come out of retirement for athletics because of to the involvement of her two sons in Chichester’s junior section, Lyne provided a more than useful contribution in shot, discus and javelin.

She was joined by under-20 javelin thrower Lauren Cooper, who retained her unbeaten run in her favoured event and combined well with Lyne in shot and discus to keep the scoreboard moving and play a part in Chichester’s comfortable team second place on the day.

PHIL BAKER

Match result

1 Worthing & District 202

2 Chichester 151

3 Bournemouth 107

4 Andover & Overton 81

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