Chichester’s senior athletics team produced fine performances to finish runners-up to a strong Aldershot and Farnham squad in their home Southern Athletics League fixture at Portsmouth.
Three club records were broken and Chichester scooped both athlete of the match awards.
In his final match before resuming his medical career in America, Chris Zablocki produced the second fastest time ever in the Southern League in the 3,000m, crossing the line in 8min 32.3sec and being named male athlete of the match.
Chichester’s South of England 400m champion Ollie Smith warmed up for the inter-counties at Basingstoke the following day with a club record 10.8sec 100m and a 21.9 clocking over 200m to claim the next two best performances of the day.
Rebecca Moore battled her way round the 5,000m in blustery conditions and lapped the rest of the field to come home in 16min 56sec, setting a new club record and breaking the Southern League record by 15 seconds.
This performance made her female athlete of the match in front of a very good Aldershot sprinter and Chichester’s Sophie-Anne Haigh in third with a speedy 12.3sec clocking in the 100m.
There was the usual strong pairing of Tim Brown and Phil Kearney in the throws and Brown had his most productive match of the season with second places in shot, discus and javelin, capped by a win in the hammer.
Kearney supported well in these events and joined up with Brown in the high jump, clearing 3.05m for a runners-up spot in the pole vault.
Ben Collins was just outkicked by a couple of older athletes in the 800m while Zablocki again found his way to the front in the 1,500m and unleashed a 60-second last lap to win by seven seconds in just over four minutes.
In both events, Charlie Benson was a good B string setting personal best marks in both events.
Showing the club’s middle-distance strength were Will Broom and Ben Morton in the 3,000m with both athletes setting PB marks, with Broom propelling himself high up the UK rankings with a 9.14 clocking, 30 seconds faster than his previous best.
Conrad Meagher produced a fine display in the 3,000m steeplechase by racing clear of his rivals to win in 10.20.
Completing the squad were Brandon Bell over 200m and 400m and there was a welcome return to competition by Jamie Moore, who turned his hand to a mixture of hurdles, pole vault and triple jump and had an impressive 400m hurdles win.
For the women, Moore and Haigh added to their No1 events with good performances elsewhere, with Haigh winning the long jump and Moore just having to give way to a pair of top-class Aldershot athletes in the 1,500m.
In her first year in athletics Karina Bennett has already become Sussex cross-country champion for her age group, and in her second appearance on the track, she joined up with Moore to gain a double first for Chichester over 5,000m, this after lining up in the 800m.
Alongside her was Aldershot’s cross-country international Emilia Gorecka. Not put off by such illustrious company, Bennett stuck to her task and finished in front of the rest of the field which included Florence Smith who doubled up well for Chichester in 800m and 1,500m B strings.
Isabelle Cooper scored good points in 100m, 200m and long jump as did Roberta Collyer in 200m and javelin.
Chichester’s best result of the day in the women’s field events came in the javelin A string where Lauren Cooper was far too good for the rest of the competitors in setting a new personal best of 31m, a winning margin of 10m-plus after good performances in shot and discus.
The final SAL match of the season is on Saturday, August 20 at Worthing where the club is hoping to build on the late season success.
This Saturday (July 16), Chichester’s under-13s and under-15s head to Woking in a bid to claim one of two promotion places in the National Youth Development League. Lying half a point behind leaders Horsham, either first or second place on the day would guarantee the prize.
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