After being narrowly into third place in their opening fixture at Andover in April, Chichester’s senior athletics team travelled to Poole for match two and emerged with a convincing win by more than 100 points.
It lifted them up seven places to fourth in the table and was their best result for a number of years – in no small measure thanks to the growing number of ex-juniors who have progressed to the under-17s and under-20s and are more than capable of doing themselves justice in the senior ranks.
The seven senior athletes on duty more than played their part as the backbone of the team but the 18 under-20s and under-17s in the squad of 25 coped well in their transition to the senior ranks.
League table (after two matches)
1 Plymouth 470 match pts 8 league pts
2 Team Dorset 416 8
3 Bournemouth 465 7
4 Chichester 378 6
5 Guildford & Godalming 374 6
6 Winchester & District 373 6
7 Newquay & Par 292 6
8 City of Salisbury 396 5
9. Exeter Harriers 328 5
10 Havant 309 4
11 Worthing & District 275 4
12 Poole Runners 119 4
13 Swindon 276 3
14 Andover & Overton 182 3
15 Team Kennet 257 2
16 Fleet & Crookham 47 2
Throwing stalwarts Tim Brown and Andy Hall got things off to a good start and, with the help of Phil Kearney in the javelin, virtually dominated the shot, discus, javelin and hammer, only dropping two points from the 32 on offer.
Ranked number two in the UK for his age group, Hall’s hammer throw of just shy of 40m was probably the best mark of the day.
One important improvement from the first match was Chichester’s ability to contest all the men’s events with Kearney joined by Aaron Hancock in the pole vault and Hancock joined by Brandon Bell for the 110m hurdles.
Conrad Meagher was joined by under-17 Max Lambkin to get the club off to a great start in the 400m hurdles, one of the most demanding events.
On the track there was the usual consistent display from the middle-distance squad with Will Boutwood winning the 1,500m after just being outkicked by a fast-finishing Newquay athlete in the 3,000m with Ben Morton supporting well in the longer race with a B string win.
Meagher and Alex Mani made a good combination in the steeplechase despite Mani’s spectacular fall at the water jump.
In the sprints regulars Bell and Cellan Robinson were joined by two more of the club’s promising under-17s, Lambkin and Tom Claydon, for near-maximum points, with Liam Telford making his first appearance for the club as a non-scorer. Ben Collins joined Bell for the 400m and Mani in the 800m.
Alex Ioan was joined by Claydon in the long jump with Claydon jumping nearly six metres which he followed with a 1.70m high jump. A quartet of under-17s gained valuable experience as non-scorers in the middle-distance events with JJ Staples, David Bisatt, Jack Dean and Alfie Spurle all showing good promise.
Although the six women in the match were not quite able to fill all their events, the introduction into the team of senior Amy Brown acted as a catalyst for the rest of the squad – meaning they finished with an impressive points total and made a significant contribution to Chichester’s overall score and in turn their league position.
Sprinters Sophie-Anne Haigh and Rachel Laurie were once again in dominant form over 100m and 200m while middle-distance runners Amber Dodd and Hannah Anwyl scored a double win in the 1,500m and picked up good points in the triple jump and steeplechase at the end of the match.
Rosie Compton showed good form over the sprints and jumps and Brown’s contribution was all the more praiseworthy for the scope of her events ranging from hurdles to hammer and discus to pole vault and javelin.
The club’s next Southern League fixture is on Saturday, June 17 at Winchester.
* Chichester’s juniors travelled to Bournemouth in the National Youth Development League and found themselves faced with a standard of competition far higher than in the opening round.
They did well to cope with the pressure and stay in the leading pack, leaving them a close third out of six clubs after two fixtures.
However this promises to be the toughest league for a number of years and they will need to be at full strength for the final two fixtures.
League table after 2 matches
1 Bournemouth and New Forest 904 match pts 10 league pts
2 Winchester & District 919 8
3 Chichester 906 8
4 Walton 898 8
5 Woking 868 6
6 Havant 357 2
With A-race wins hard to come by, the star run of the day for the under-15 boys was from Liam Dunne who switched for this match to the 1,500m and after a cagey first couple of laps, strode away from the field to win by seven seconds in 4.43, a new personal best.
Archie Sadler offered good support in the B string and there were solid runs from Ben Wadey and Oscar Hares in the 800m. Jacob Piper held his nerve against the top two in the 100m, both of whom ran sub-11.5 seconds.
Newcomer Harry Angell did well in the high jump and long jump while another debutant Dylan Giles strengthened the throws with a shot put win and Sam Spivey and Dominic Barth performed well in javelin and hurdles.
The under-15 girls also had to contend with grade-one sprinters but Emily Russell, Fleur Hollyer and Rachel Durham all performed with credit.
The middle-distance races were also well contested with a quartet of Maggie King, Sophie Lambourne, Nicole Boltwood and Hannah Carmichael in the 800m while Olivia Toms and Nina Moranne battled hard in the 1,500metres in windy conditions.
There was good hurdling from Freya Chandler, with Hollyer supporting well in the B string. The long jump and high jump pairing of Emily Shippam and Jess Rayner scored good points while the throwing section was again on top form with Alexia Everley, Millie Grant and Holly Trinder in action in shot, discus and hammer with support from Chandler in the javelin.
The under-13 events featured plenty of nationally-ranked performances but Chichester’s relatively-inexperienced squad kept battling to the end of the match, scoring valuable points to keep the club in touch with the leaders.
As with the under-15s it was a performance in the 1,500m which caught the eye for the boys’ team with Joe McLarnon running an assured race to win in exactly five minutes.
Younger brother Barney ran well in the B string, as did Oliver Fuller and Fionn O’Murchu in the 800m with Marcus Bone reserve. Fuller and Roman Watson made a good hurdles pairing and all-rounder James Cole was joined by Joe Fuller in the throws.
Sophie Dudman once again won the high jump and was just edged out in a very fast 70m hurdles while Cerys Dickinson and Isobel Buckler nearly scored maximum points in the 1,200m.
Eva Buckler ran well over 800m while Amelie McGurk, Lucy Hollyer and Amy Stables all performed with credit.
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