Second place provides Southern comfort for Chichester athletes

Eight of the ten-strong Chichester Runners team who fared well at Hastings
Eight of the ten-strong Chichester Runners team who fared well at Hastings
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With a small team of just ten athletes, Chichester pulled off a fine achievement in finishing second to the home club at their Southern Athletics League match at Hastings.

The result equals their previous best in the league achieved at Bracknell in the opening fixture in April and lifts Chichester to a comfortable mid-table position.

Such has been the standard of those competing that the club will be eyeing next season with the aim of getting into the promotion mix with a full team in action.

As in the previous match, the team were spearheaded by decathlete Charlie Roe, who finished the day with no fewer than six A string wins and three second places from his individual events as well as anchoring both relays with storming runs on the last leg of each.

On the track, Roe set the ball rolling with a speedy 11.5sec win in the 100m followed by a 23.1sec clocking in the 200m, just one tenth of a second off his best ever. Another close finish came in the 110m hurdles where he just gained the edge in 16.7 seconds.

Befitting an all-rounder, the other three wins were in the field with a high and long jump double followed by a javelin win.

The three second places came in discus, pole vault and finally the shot with a personal best of 11.15 for the 7.26 kg implement.

Equally as important as Roe’s contribution was the support of the rest of the team with Jake Emerson setting a new best of 12.6sec in winning the B string 100m with good performances in the 200m and triple jump.

Newcomer Phil Kearney provided great support in the high jump and javelin to win the B string in both and gain the club maximum points, with Roe, from the two events as well as completing a hat-trick of wins in the discus.

Matt Dodd was once again a reliable B string thrower in shot and hammer, gaining a new personal best in the shot.

On the track, James Baker was just outkicked over the final lap in a fast 3,000m with both athletes sub-nine minutes in hot conditions - but Baker resumed normal service with a dominant display in the steeplechase.

Greg Smith and Conrad Meagher faced stiff opposition in the 800m but acquitted themselves well, while Meagher completed a busy afternoon in 400m hurdles, steeplechase and in the 3,000m, where he showed a good turn of speed in the final straight to hold off a fast-finishing Hastings athlete and win the B string.

For the women, Caitlin Moore was in fine form and posted three personal-best performances from her three events in 100m, 200m and triple jump.

In the field events, Charlotte Honour was in the best form of her season with a double win in shot and discus before gaining a second place in her first competition in the hammer before rounding off a fine day with third place in the javelin.

The tenth member of the Chichester squad exemplified the team spirit which resulted in the team snatching second place in the match. Aaron Hancock has competed for the club for many years mainly as a distance runner but this accounted for just one of the eight events from his tally on Saturday.

Filling gaps in the team over events ranging from 400m hurdles to the hammer, Hancock came up with two of the club’s most surprising wins of the season in the 110m hurdles and pole vault, both with new personal bests.

The final league match is on Saturday, August 10, at Crawley, where Chichester will hope to keep up their momentum in what looks to be their strongest competition of the whole league season.

PHIL BAKER