Chichester athletes mark start of winter with hot form in relays

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Chichester’s juniors had a fine start to their winter season in the highly-competitive South of England Road Relays at Aldershot.

With teams travelling from an area stretching from East Anglia to the west country, virtually all the top athletes from the south were in action, making a top-20 finish something to be celebrated.

The under-15 girls gave the performance of the day to finish ninth out of 72 teams.

Saskia Gardam was given the key lead-off leg on stage one and did not disappoint with Chichester’s fastest time of the day for the undulating 3,000m circuit. She handed over within sight of the leaders in seventh place in a time of 11.03min, 17th fastest in her age group.

Next to go was Tara Bage with a steady 12.06 to keep in touch in 12th place before Rose Ellis sped round the anchor leg in 11.28 to bring the trio up to ninth. Holly Beaton ran as a reserve for a non-scoring B team in 12.55.

The under-17 women finished a very creditable 20th, with all three members of the scoring team plus two reserves running within 30 seconds of each other.

Emma Maynard led off with 12.16min to hand over to Georgina Warner (12.41) before Nicola Mead brought them home in 12.39.

With the squad showing great consistency, reserves Hannah Croad was timed at 12.27 with Lucy Ellis not far behind in 12.44.

There was another case of good teamwork in the under-15 boys’ race where Chichester again had a strong squad.

Sam Pink led off for the four-man A team in 11.25, again for the 3,000m circuit with Zac Hurst timed at 11.42, Adam Croad 11.36 and Harry Pink 11.44 to bring the team home 35th.

Harry Lyne, running in the B team, had the fastest time - 11.15 - with Ollie Poole notching 12.44.

Three other members of the club were in action with Chloe Croad setting a time of 9.59 for the shorter under-13 girls’ lap while James McKenzie and Josh James were in action for the under-17 men, who negotiated a longer 3,800m circuit.

Both set times which bode well for the season with McKenzie recording a time of 13.00 and James just 13 seconds slower.

PHIL BAKER