Chichester finished off their National Youth Development League campaign in fine style at Worthing with third place out of seven to cement their place among the top teams of the division.
Although they were missing a few of their more experienced under-15s, what was encouraging for the future of the club was the strength of the under-13 squad.
A strong wind down the exposed part of the track down the back straight made things difficult for the distance runners.
1. Winchester & District AC 571pts
2. Worthing & District Harriers 413
3. Chichester Runners & AC 398
4. Woking AC 384
5 Camberley & District 372
6 Aldershot, Farnham & Dist 274
7 Havant AC 88
With only half a dozen under-15 boys available, Chichester knew all six needed to be on their best form – and they were.
Going from strength to strength this summer has been Joe Mclarnon who has discovered a rich vein of form since making a switch from a 1500m runner to specialising over the shorter two-lap 800m event.
Once again Mclarnon was in dominant form with none of his rivals able to match his turn of speed over the final 200m to win in 2.12, a good time in the blustery conditions. Backing up well in the B string was Gabe White, who made a welcome return after injury.
There was another good combination in the 1500m with Harvey McGuinness running another sub 4.50 time to snatch the runners-up spot in the A string while Hal Edgar showed a good turn of speed in the B string.
Mclarnon had unexpectedly won the 300m with Edgar second B string for another event which gained the club near maximum points.
With the club’s top sprinters not in action it was left to first-year under-15 Arthur Dearlove to step up to run the A string in both 100 and 200m where he coped in fine fashion to record personal best times in both at 13.2 and 27.3.
The only specialist thrower in action was Hugo Martell who, after two relatively modest third places in hammer and discus, made up for it with a winning throw of 10.47m in the shot and a new personal best.
For the girls, Cerys Dickinson was again showing good speed over 800m but not quite able to maintain her unbeaten run in this league in having to settle for second place.
Gemma Appleton backed up well in the B string as well as having a busy afternoon in hurdles and shot.
There was a new combination in the 1500m with Amelie McGurk and Tamsin Anelay being given the same time of 5.49 after both unleashed a fast finish down the home straight after a tactical race.
The quartet of middle-distance runners gave a good account of themselves for second place in the 4x300m relay.
As with the boys, there was a single thrower on duty with Lulu Millen picking up good points in hammer and discus before setting a new personal best in the javelin with a throw of 22m.
For the first time this season, the combined under-13 team outnumbered the under-15s with five of the squad of 17 making their first appearances in this league.
Making the most impact among the newcomers was sprinter Harriet Crow, who battled hard against the UK number-two ranked athlete from Woking.
Undaunted Crow finished a fine second and her time of 10.6sec propels her into the UK top 100 in her first competitive club match.
Ellie Courtney ran well for 11.2sec in the B string with non-scorer Emma Cobden, another of the first timers, recording a speedy 11.5.
Crow had earlier recorded 21.2sec in the 150m with Rachel Hopwood a fine B string in 22.4, and the quartet of sprinters combined well for the club’s fastest time of the season in the 4x100m relay.
Hopwood and Cobden had combined well over the hurdles to give the club early good points and matched this in the long jump.
In the middle distance events, Chichester called on four of their strongest runners with Laila Hellyer running a speedy time of 2.41sec with Carrie Anelay picking up good points with a sub 3min clocking.
Lillie Hellyer opted for the 1200m and was less than a second behind the winner in 4.23.8 with Grace Eminson winning the B string in 4.43.3 making it the most successful combined event for Chichester’s under-13s.
Tilly Hobbs spearheaded the team to gain second place in the shot with just over 7m and recorded another javelin win with just over 21m.
In the boys’ under-13 match individual wins were hard to come by with Josh Dunne’s runners-up spot in the 800m the best of the day in just outside 2.30. Dunne has earlier unexpectedly won the B string 200m, supporting sprinter Josh Eaton. Eaton teamed up with newcomer Caiden Robinson in the 100m with Robinson showing his versatility in shot and javelin.
In the middle-distance events, Chichester fielded their strongest squad of the season with Will Bailey and Digby Fulford posting good times over 800m while Alessandro Smitt and Henry Court both set PBs in the 1500m at 4.35 and 4.42.
Ollie Meaby again gave a useful contribution by starting the match with Eaton in the hurdles and picking up good points in the throws.
South East Inter-Counties Under-17s event at Chelmsford
In a tough match involving eight of the top counties in the south, Sussex’s under-17s excelled themselves with a best-ever top-three placing, with Chichester’s Liam Dunne playing his part.
Although Dunne had run for Hampshire schools over 1500m at the All England schools championships in Birmingham earlier in the month, he returned to perhaps his more favoured 800m distance.
The new club record holder did not disappoint and ran his second fastest time with a 1.56.12 clocking in far-from-ideal conditions for third place in a high-quality A race which included three of the UK top 20.
Dunne’s consistency over 800m and 1500m this season has marked a step up from 2018 and will stand him in good stead as her goes into the competitive under-20 ranks in 2020.