Chichester’s under-13s were in action in their Sussex grand final at the K2 Stadium, Crawley, just two days after their under-15 counterparts had performed so well in their final at Brighton.
They were not quite able to match their elders’ result, but the club’s youngest track and field team came away with a hard-fought fourth place to maintain their proud record of finishing in the top half of the ten-club final in each of the 18 years it has been held.
This was despite missing eight members of their regular squad who have performed so well at national league level over the summer.
The seven league points they gained for fourth place keeps Chichester at the top of the all-time table since 2000, although Crawley’s second place this year has brought them level on points – with Horsham just half a point behind.
Match result 2017
1 Brighton & Hove 349 match points
2 Crawley 345
3 Horsham Blue Star 284
4 Chichester 266
5 Lewes 217
6 Brighton Phoenix 200
7 Worthing & District 195
8 East Grinstead 154
9 Haywards Heath 82
10 Eastbourne 37
All-time league rankings
1= Chichester 156 league points
1= Crawley 156
3 Horsham Blue Star 155½
4 Brighton & Hove 145
5 Lewes 105
6 Worthing & District 85
7 Eastbourne 77
8 East Grinstead 60
9 Brighton Phoenix 56
10 Haywards Heath 49
Although very much a team effort, Chichester saw one club record broken in the boys’ match with Joe Mclarnon recording a time of 3.01.5 in the 1,000m. Unluckily this scintillating run was not enough to snatch a win on the day as UK No1 Ethan Scott from East Grinstead was also in the race.
The pair battled stride for stride until the final bend when Scott summoned up a final effort to cross the line in 2.56.6, a new Sussex League record for the 26 years the competition has been held.
Chichester’s new pairing of Callum Hale and Luke Darwen were on top form in the sprints while Fionn O’Muchu headed the 600m, supported well by Connor McCormack with reserves Logan Cooper and Marcus Bone.
The good news is that all four boys are eligible to be in the same team next year.
O’Murchu turned his hand to the shot putt and gained an unexpected second place in the A string with Joe Fuller winning the B string and gaining Chichester’s equal best points haul of the day with 19 out of 20.
The other event was in the discus where Milo Nutt unexpectedly won the A string with Fuller runner-up in the B string. Nutt and Sam Corbett gained 14 points in the javelin.
Corbett stepped up as reserve in the high jump joined by Oscar Hamilton-Power, making his first appearance for the club, with Hamilton-Power joining Ollie Fuller in the hurdles. Fuller and Mclarnon were both close to four metres for good placings in the long jump to complete a well-balanced squad.
The girls’ squad was hit more than the boys by unavailability, with just four of the 11 athletes having been regular members of the national league team.
Sophie Dudman, the most experienced athlete at the match, led from the front to produce a fine example of hurdling. After a steady start, Dudman flew down the track over the final hurdles to snatch second place from the Horsham athlete on the line and just fail by a tenth of a second to catch the winner from Crawley.
Amberley Norris-Wharton was one of a number of the squad making their first appearance in the final and backed up well for third place in the B string. These two were also in action in the sprints assisted well by Poppy Chandler and Maisie Sadler.
In the middle-distance events, there was a new pairing of Skye Sadler and Amelie McGurk in the 600m while Cerys Dickinson ran well in a very competitive 1,000m.
In the field events, Chichester’s best showing was in the javelin with Ruby Chandler and Izzy Walford in action while Walford teamed up with Dickinson in the shot and the two Chandler sisters added well to the points total in the discus.
Austeja Ribiouate was hampered in her sprinting by a slight injury but that did not prevent her from putting a good performance in the long jump, ably supported by Lucy Hollyer in the B string.
- PHIL BAKER
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