Young Chichester athletes enjoy strong end to season

Liam Dunne was in sparkling form again / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Liam Dunne was in sparkling form again / Picture by Lee Hollyer
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After both age groups played an important part in Chichester’s combined National League junior team winning the title, Chichester’s under-13s and under-15s were in action against county opposition in the Sussex evening leagues at Broadbridge Heath.

Both matches provided a useful opportunity to size up the opposition in advance of the Sussex finals in early September, where Chichester will be aiming to maintain their fine record over the past 18 years.

However, on the showing of the strength of the opposition from the rest of the Sussex clubs, athletics in the county is blooming at the present and both Chichester squads will have their work cut out to emulate the achievements of previous years.

However, on the showing of the strength of the opposition from the rest of the Sussex clubs, athletics in the county is blooming at the present and both Chichester squads will have their work cut out to emulate the achievements of previous years.

Under-15s

A nearly full-strength boys’ squad were in action for the under-15s but A string wins were hard to find with three league records having been broken this season.

Horsham dominated the sprints and Crawley the jumps, but this did not prevent two Chichester boys coming away with fine wins.

Star of the evening was once again middle-distance runner Liam Dunne, who has shown fine form in recent weeks. Having taken five seconds from clubmate Ben Collins’ 1,500m league record in the previous match with a 4min 19sec clocking, Dunne proceeded to stride away from the field and going through 800m in 2.11 was already up on his previous schedule.

Not letting the pace drop, the Chichester athlete crossed the line in 4.15.2, another league and club record, lifting him to 17th place in the UK rankings for his age group.

There was a first 30m throw for Ollie Beach in the discus for a clear win while Dylan Giles and Vinnie Conte-Smith supported well in discus, shot, hammer and javelin.

Oliver Sanderson and Zach Entiknapp did well to finish in the top three over 100m and 200m while Archie Sadler switched to 800m rather than his usual 1,500m.

If anything the girls’ match was even stronger with four league records broken during the evening, all from the Crawley AC club who will be a force to be reckoned with in the final.

Chichester’s Nicole Boltwood took three seconds from her previous best with a 2.36.7 clocking. Sprinter Fleur Hollyer was just a tenth outside her best with 13.8sec in the 100m but another Chichester athlete saw her record erased from the league standings.

Alyssa White, now in the under-17s, had been joint record holder for the 200m with 26.3sec, achieved in the 2015 league final, but a new mark of 26.1 was set by Crawley’s Poppy Oliver.

Under-13s

Chichester’s improving under-13s continued where they had left off in the National League.

Sprinters Callum Hale and Roman Watson fared well over 75m while new member Zach Keulemans flew over the 150m and capped a fine evening with a shot putt win in 8.18m.

Oscar Rothwell and Charlie Pemberton teamed up in the 600m with both in touch with the leading group, finishing in just over 1.50.

Fionn O’Murchu and Ollie Fuller opted for the longer 1,000m and were faced with a new league record of under three minutes from a Crawley athlete.

The Chichester pair did well to keep their composure and led the next pack home in 3.18 and 3.19, with reserve Sam Corbett also posting a good time.

High jumper Nathan Ewins was again oin solid form as was Milo Nutt ,who again improved his best in the javelin with a winning throw of 28.42 and, more unexpectedly, won the discus.

Joe Fuller ensured maximum points with a personal-best throw as he did in the shot putt with Keulemnans.

Phoebe Boardman was once again in fine form in hurdles and high jump while Austeia Riaubiate was just outside 4.00m in the long jump. On the track Immy Hillman showed good form over 75m while Maddie Byers was sub two minutes in a very competitive 600m.

Chichester’s under-17s and under-20s finished their National League season with a string of fine performances at the Withdean Stadium.

While not being able to challenge for the league title like their younger clubmates, they have shown progression from their time as under-15s and have coped well with the higher standard they have encountered in the older division.

Sprinters Brandon Bell and Lewis Hall have both had consistent seasons with Hall lowering his 100m best to 11.6 seconds in this fixture while Bell ran a speedy 24.6sec over 200m.

Cellan Robinson made a welcome return to sprinting after injury but in the meantime has been improving his throwing technique which was shown with a nea- 30m personal best in the discus.

The larger part of the team this summer has been made up of the middle-distance squad and the forthcoming winter cross-country season looks promising.

In the under-20 age group Ben Morton was joined by new member Ethan Hartley who will strengthen the club’s seniors in the winter. Between them they tackled 800m, 1,500m, 3,000m and the steeplechase.

The under-17s were out in force. English schools 3,000m runner Will Broom opted for the shorter distances and was rewarded with a personal best of 2.03.9 in the 800m.

Charlie Benson and Harry Sage made a good pairing in the 300m while Ned Potter and David Bisatt took advantage of being able to try some speed work over 400m as well as their usual longer distances.

Jack Dean, Alfie Spurle and Alex Mani were also in action and showed versatility, with Mani running the 400m hurdles while Spurle and Dean strengthened the team in long and triple jumps.

Rachel Laurie and Rosie Compton again showed their mettle in the sprints with Compton also over 4.50m in the long jump. Middle distance pairing Chloe Benson and Florence Smith were joined for the first time by Annie Gibson in the 800m while Molly Hogan-Hussein joined Gibson in the discus and partnered Laurie in the shot while Smith was again on good form in the triple jump.

The fixture completes the league season for the combined under-17 and under-20 team but they will join with the seniors for the final Southern Athletics League match at Portsmouth on Saturday, August 19, where a good finish will leave Chichester in a healthy top-half final position.

PHIL BAKER

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