Chichester athletes set out stall for English schools call-ups

Cellan Robinson was a star man for Chichester in the Sportshall meeting   Picture by Lee Hollyer
Cellan Robinson was a star man for Chichester in the Sportshall meeting Picture by Lee Hollyer

THERE was a further chance for Chichester-area athletes to impress the selectors at the south-east regional inter-counties event at Reigate.

It followed their success at the Sussex schools championships last month.

Athletes who finished in the top four in the Sussex championships are already assured of a place in the team for the English schools race in March, which this year takes place at Blackburn, Lancashire.

Some, including Rose Ellis and Harry Leleu, decided to have a break from competition but others took the opportunity to test themselves against class opposition.

Sussex aside, the other counties in the south east region are Essex, Kent, Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire, which account for the majority of top southern athletes and make up the most competitive group of counties in the whole country.

Ben Collins achieved the highest placing with a superb fifth place – top Sussex scorer – in the junior boys’ race and was ahead of many of the top finishers at the south of England championships the previous weekend, when he was forced to pull out with a tight hamstring.

In the same race, Will Broom was a fine 37th, and sixth Sussex scorer, which puts him in the frame for the nationals.

Another local athlete to be first Sussex man home was Casey Keates, who continued his excellent season with 19th place in the senior boys’ race, with Harry Pink 69th in the same event.

In the intermediate age group Luke Campbell had the honour of county selection and crossed the line in 57th.

With county champion Ellis deciding to miss the senior girls’ race, there was still plenty of local interest with Charlotte Reading continuing her recent good form in 17th, making her third Sussex scorer, followed by Hannah Croad in 28th, who was the fifth Sussex girl to finish, and Emma Maynard in a creditable 55th.

Amber Westron, while part of the Chichester club’s under-17 team, is eligible for the intermediate age group at schools level and produced a solid run for 41st at Reigate which gives her a chance of Sussex selection.

There was another good run from Olivia Wiseman in the junior girls’ race in a splendid 14th place running against many girls a year older, including winner Josie Czura from Portsmouth, who had the most convincing run of the day in any of the six races.

Sportshall action

While the club’s middle-distance athletes have been battling through the mud of the cross-country season, Chichester’s sprinters and jumpers have been taking advantage of the indoor sportshall season.

In their most recent Sussex League fixture at Tanbridge House, Horsham, there was the usual high standard of competition from the Crawley, Horsham and Brighton clubs with any county champions on view.

One athlete unfazed by the competition was Cellan Robinson, who scored a double win in the under-13 two-lap and four-lap races for the second match in a row.

He was ably assisted by Max Cooke in both events and the pair combined for an exciting win in the eight-lap paarlauf.

In the under-13 girls’ squad, the best individual results were from Josie Pratt in the two-lap, Eleanor Lowes in the shot and Rosie Compton in the vertical jump.

There was good support from Olivia Moranne, Maya Shankar and Emma Farquhar in the shorter races while Maggie King and Tahlia Juggins tackled the six-lap to good effect.

There were two fine wins for the under-15s with Heather Jacobs again in unbeatable form in the shot and an equally-good showing from Rachel Laurie and Isabelle Bish in the paarlauf, beating favourites Crawley by some distance. The pair had already shown good form individually on the track, supported well by Alice Cox-Rushbridge and Heidi King.

For the under-11s, Fleur Hollyer notched an individual win with a joint top score in the speed bounce and there were promising performances from Nina Moranne, Eleni Georgiou, Nicole Boltwood and Megan Elkins as well as Archie Farquhar in the boys’ under-11 age group.

The final match of the season is this Sunday at the same venue with all competitors having their eyes on selection for the Sussex team in the inter-counties match at the end of the season.

West Sussex Fun Run League

Despite the chilly temperatures at the moment, a record of field of more than 700 runners turned out for the Worthing Lido four-mile event in the West Sussex Fun Run League.

There were 575 finishers for this event, another record in this popular all-year round series of races over various distances and terrains. Chichester assembled a squad of 17 runners for the race, including four brave souls who had battled through the tough challenge of the south of England cross country the day before.

First home for Chichester was Mikey Neville in 11th place in 23.36, scoring maximum bonus points for the club.

Also making the top 100 were two athletes who had conquered the nine miles at Brighton – Nick Palmer, 72nd in 26.39 and Justin Eggins, 77th in 26.48.

Other Chichestyer times: Andrew Moore 115th in 28.07, followed by Colin Harley, 123rd in 28.20, Kevin Batt 169th in 29.32, Tom Blaylock 186th in 30.02, Mark Hazlewood 206th in 30.31, Amanda Godfrey 249th in 31.38, Sue Barty 257th in 31.45, Dave Barty 297th in 33.03, Jill Renson 301st in 33.07, Sue Baker 342nd in 34.07, Sandra Nemorin-Noel 371st in 35.11, Eva Mikuska408th on 36.33, Robert Sawers 425th in 37.10 and Dave Grunwell 545th in 44.06.

PHIL BAKER