Chichester glad to have youth on their side in Bournemouth

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A team of 37 juniors travelled to Bournemouth and fought well to finish a close third in the first fixture of Chichester’s National Young Athletes League campaign of the season.

With virtually half their regular squad missing, a mixture of youth and experience earned a good start.

In the under-15 boys Chichester gained their best number of wins. Collins Alfred and Max Newton scored an impressive double in the 100m and 200m and Peter Collins and Harry Pink followed in the hammer and shot for near-maximum points.

In the same age group, middle-distance quartet Casey Keates, Zac Hurst, Sam Pink and Sam Reading were also in good early-season form.

There was another double win for the boys in the under-17 age group with James McKenzie and Dan Eeles too good for the rest in the 800m, with both well under 2min 10sec.

Sprinters Davi Guimeres and Curtis Poole were involved in a blanket finish in the 100m and supported Riordan Hannan in jumps and throws.

Chichester suffered from a lack of specialist under-13 sprinters but scored well through Brodie Keates, Josh Eeles and Ben Collins in the 800m and 1,500m.

Among the girls, Demelza Peake and Alice James gave the squad the best possible start with a double win in the hammer and, with Na’ime Bradbury, scored well in the throws.

Tess Shipton gave a good hurdling and jumping display and, with Ellie Humphreys, gained another double for Chichester in the triple jump.

Lucy Ellis continued her improvement in the hurdles and 800m with Clare Fraser an able second string, while Gemma Ellis and Nicola Mead ran well in sprints and middle-distance.

The under-15 girls were hit by last-minute withdrawals through illness but were strongest in the middle-distance events. But they found themselves battling against many strong Portsmouth-based runners.

With the next fixture ten days away at Guildford, they will have another chance to do battle.

Despite recording no outright wins, there were good times set by Charlotte Reading and Molly Whatmore in the 800m while Rose Ellis and Saskia Gardham showed great determination in the 1,500m.

Abby Moss was just pipped in a fast 100m and Jade Bailey posted a good distance in the long jump but faced a grade-one performance from the nationally-ranked Havant athlete in the same event. In the under-13 girls, there was much promise from the six athletes, half of whom were making their first appearance in the club’s track and field team.

Mia Selman and Talisa Jemmett got them off to a fine start in the hurdles with Selman second in the A string and Jemmett showing great spirit to pick herself up after hitting the final hurdle. The pair repeated their form in the high jump, clearing 1.30 and 1.25 respectively. Alyssa White set a new PB in the 75m despite battling into a headwind.

The other under-13s did not disappoint with Maddie Smith and Emily Guiry in the 800m and Anna Hains in the 1,200m.

Match scores saw Bournemouth first on 712 ahead of Camberley (560) and Chichester (533), with Portsmouth (379) well behind.

This weekend sees athletes in all age groups compete in the Sussex county championships in Crawley.

PHIL BAKER