Athletes hit the ground running for Chichester

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Chichester’s track and field athletes started off their league campaign in fine style over the weekend when both their senior and under-20 teams were in action.

On Saturday there was the first-ever match in the newly-formed Southern Athletics League with a combined men’s and women’s team competing at Eastbourne.

As expected, Chichester were stronger in the men’s events having been part of the Southern Men’s League since 1994, and the throwers carried on where they had left off at the end of 2010 with another maximum haul of 32 points from the four events.

Team captain Tim Brown led by example with a clean sweep of A-string wins, highlighted by an impressive 37m hammer throw.

Rob Bourne was an able B string to be close to 11m in the shot and just short of 40m in the javelin.

As in previous years, the club’s middle-distance contingent picked up useful points with James Baker leading the way with a 5,000m and 2,000m steeplechase double, assisted by Chris Jack and Ed Porter respectively for maximum pints in both events.

Chris Bird ran a speedy 800m while Martin Stockley provided useful support in both 800m and 1,500m.

Undeterred by the strength of the headwind in the home straight, George Grainger ran an excellent season’s opener of 55.7 seconds in the 400m hurdles followed by a 18.8 high hurdles effort with Evan Stanton picking up useful B string points in both events.

Luke Scott did well to dip under 12 seconds in the 100m into a strong headwind while three of the youngest members of the team played an important part in both track and field.

Riordan Hannan, Davi Guimeres and Curtis Poole, all still in the under-17 age group, did well over 100, 200 and 400m as well as high, long and triple jumps between them.

Sprinter Bradley Hellyer and high-jumper Craig Rivard completed the team with good performances in both events.

Just four athletes competed in the women’s section of the team but with good results.

Katy Bird used her speed over 200 and 400m in preparation for an attack on her personal best over 800m later in the season and was just outside 61 seconds in the 400m in difficult conditions.

Emma Napper showed good early-season form in both sprints while two more newcomers showed promise for the season – Tessa Simpson in the sprints and Sophie Barrett in both high jump and triple jump.

The team are looking forward to the second fixture on May 21 at Croydon, where greater numbers in the women’s section will further enhance the team’s prospects for the season.

PHIL BAKER