Chichester athletes come through toughest assignment of season

Jacob Piper and Max Lambkin were in action at Swindon / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Jacob Piper and Max Lambkin were in action at Swindon / Picture by Lee Hollyer

Chichester’s senior track and field team knew their June fixture at Swindon was likely to be their most daunting of the season – and so it proved.

League leaders Salisbury were due to be the hosts but, with access to their home track still unresolved after a dispute with their owners, the match had to be switched to Swindon. This did not prevent Salisbury from keeping up their unbeaten record with a well-fought victory over Brighton & Hove, with Newquay & Par in third and Chichester fourth.

This height would have won the majority of league matches but on this occasion was only good enough for equal third place.

In the midst of this overall high standard, Chichester’s athletes produced some fine performances including several personal bests despite warm conditions.

The club’s strongest part of the programme came in the sprints where five of the men’s team lined up for the 100m. With the athletes running into a slight headwind, Max Lambkin continued his fine season with a time of 11.9sec, one tenth ahead of Jacob Piper in 12sec, followed by Brandon Bell in 12.5, a new PB from Oscar Hares in 12.6 and Cellan Robinson in 12.8.

Lambkin also did well to record a 23.8 clocking in the 200m.

Ethan Hartley ran a speedy 400m while Ben Collins was just edged out by two Brighton athletes in the 800m and 1500m. Alfie Spurle showed versatility by joining Collins in the 800m and Hares in the triple jump before tackling the 2000m steeplechase and just failing to overtake his nearest rival on the line with a powerful finish down the home straight.

Ethan Brown was another athlete involved in a variety of events with a good high jump and javelin, the latter with Robinson as B string, before setting a new PB in the pole vault by clearing the magic three-metre barrier for the first time.

This height would have won the majority of league matches but on this occasion was only good enough for equal third place.

In the women’s events Emily Russell equalled her best 100m time with 13.8sec with Jess Werfalli a good back-up as B string. Jenny Jakeman bravely tackled both the 400m and 400m hurdles while Florence Smith was just below her best with 8.77 in the triple jump.

Newcomer Jenny Horton showed her worth to the team with a solid 800m and good performances in discus and javelin.

The five athletes had saved enough energy at the end of the match to contest both the 4x100 and 4x400m.

South of England Masters

Chichester’s throws coach Andy Hall was in action at Battersea in the South of England Masters Championships and was rewarded with two gold medals and one bronze.

Able to throw the 6kg weight in the hammer, 1.26kg lighter than the senior implement he throws in club senior matches, Hall won the competition with a best of 41.28m, lifting him to fourth in the UK rankings for 2018.

This performance proved to be slightly embarrassing for the officials as a 40m perimeter fence had been put up for safety reasons which Hall demolished on his opening throw.

His second gold came in the weight throw which, while not an Olympic event, is a true test of strength for the athletes with a huge weight of 11.34kg attached to a short metal chain.

Hall’s winning throw was a new PB of 14.55m, lifting him to third on the UK list. A bronze was added to the total with a 10.38 effort in the shot.

* Chichester’s Mr Consistency was again in action on Saturday and achieved a double victory in just over a couple of hours and was deprived of an unprecedented hat-trick only by a change of venue for his club’s tack fixture.

Just three days after his runners-up spot in the Midsummer 5, the 41-year-old lined up in the Moors Valley parkrun near Ferndown and proceeded to knock three seconds off an already-fast lap record with a time of 15min 50sec.

Then it was a short trip to Ferndown for the 10k and 5k races. Baker lined up for the 10k option but the race was marred from start to finish with a catalogue of marshalling errors.

However, knowing the importance of familiarising himself with the course beforehand, Baker ignored the marshals and ran the correct distance and was credited with a winning time of 32min 40sec thanks to an alert timekeeper.

Such was the general confusion that the Chichester athlete was awarded the win despite not actually crossing the finishing line.

Baker’s plan had originally been to join his fellow clubmates further north at Salisbury to contest the 5000m but had to back out on hearing that the fixture had to be moved to Swindon, depriving him of what would certainly have been a unique feat of winning three races in different locations on the same day.

PHIL BAKER