Chichester’s under-13s and under-15s maintained the high standard set by their older team-mates with a fine all-round display in the younger section of the National Young Athletes League at Portsmouth.
Leading the seven-team division for the early part of the match, they were finally overhauled by a strong Portsmouth team who
pulled clear over the latter part of the 48 events across four age groups.
However these two were comfortably ahead of the remaining five teams to establish a clear lead going into round two on June 1 at Woking.
Chichester’s under-15 boys set the standard for the rest of the squad by finishing top of the tree - 35 points ahead of their nearest challengers.
On the track there were fast times set in the sprints by Max Newton, Jack Hatton, Brendan Bell and Joe Roman over 100m and 200m with the quartet capping a fine day with a convincing relay win.
Roman was also dominant in the 300m, setting the fastest time of the day, with Zac Hurst ensuring maximum points for Chichester with a double win in the B string.
Hurst combined with Sam Pink over 800m while Brodie Keates and Sam Reading were in action over 1,500m against tough competition from the other clubs, with Kai Terry a useful reserve.
In the absence of specialist field event athletes, the nine-athlete squad kept the points tally moving by filling the jumps and throws, with Hurst’s win in the high jump a highlight.
The boys’ under-13s also emerged top of their section, but by a much narrower margin with all credit going to an
inexperienced group of athletes, most of whom were making their first track appearance for the club.
Stand-out performance was from Ben Collins, who literally ran away from the field in the 800m to cross the line 15 seconds clear of his rivals in a fast 2min 30secs in windy conditions.
Two of the club’s emerging primary-school group did themselves justice by winning the B string with Jeremy Sharp just pipping Harrry Sage on the line.
Leo Stallard and Noah Chisham showed their versatility with good performances in both the 1,500m and hurdles while Peter Hughes and Jack Stallard put in useful performances in shot and javelin.
In the sprints there was a first appearance for Harry Wynne in the 100m and 200m with Lewis Hall in support and Jack Dean as reserve.
To match their older team-mates, the quartet of Wynne, Hall, Hughes and Collins finished the match with a fine relay
For the girls, Sophie Ann Haigh produced the stand-out performances of the day with a dominant display in both the 100m and 200m highlighted by a 12.8 sec English schools qualifying mark, albeit with a following wind. Such good early-season form bodes well for the rest of the summer.
New member Lauren Tickell and Mia Faulkner backed up well in the respective B strings.
A new pairing of Grace Wills and Mia Cunningham-Stockdale picked up useful points in the 1,500m while Saskia Gardam was unlucky to have been judged to have broken lanes too early in the 800m, which deprived her of a well-fought win.
Imogen Deacon spearheaded the throws with the rest of the team in support while Maddie Smith showed good speed in the invitation 300m.
The final group in action were the under-13 girls, the majority having their first experience of a club track fixture.
Leading from the front, Alyssa White showed fine speed in 75m, 150m and hurdles with a 10.8sec clocking over 75m the pick of the bunch.
With Molly Roman, Roberta Collyer, Caitlin Brown and Abigail Field all under 12 seconds, the sprint squad look to have a good deal of potential.
Eloise Lane and Beth Brown were in action in the 800m, where Portsmouth were in dominant form - including in their squad Chichester Corporate challenge winner Josie Czura in the 1,200m. However the seven Chichester athletes stuck to their task and made sure Chichester’s second place in the match was confirmed.
1 City of Portsmouth 632 points
2 Chichester 512
3 Woking AC 334
4 Fleet & Crookham 323
5 Worthing & District 276
6 New Forest Juniors 267
7 Havant AC 258