One more step will take Chichester athletes to third-place finish

Chichester's 4.300m team at Horsham / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Chichester's 4.300m team at Horsham / Picture by Lee Hollyer

In a hard fought-match at Horsham, Chichester’s junior track and field team did just enough to retain third place in their division of the National Youth Development League with only one fixture to come.

With the standard of the opposing seven teams improving with each fixture, the club know only a full turn-out will secure that prized third spot.

Under-15 boys

Leading from the front for the under-15 boys was Ben Collins, a day after finishing runner-up to the UK No1 for Sussex schools at Erith.

Collins made a change from his usual 800m and took up the running in the 1,500m from the gun.

It was soon evident he had only team-mate Will Broom for company and the Chichester pair stuck together until the last 100m, when Collins pulled away to record 4.22.9 and Broom 4.24.8, both runners inside the English schools qualifying time.

Another pair in the same age group who have been in fine form are Michael Ackerman and James Gillett, who once again dominated the throws.

Starting by dropping just one point between them in the hammer with Gillett going over the 30m mark for the first time, Ackerman won the A string shot with 10.56 and Gillet was also over 10m in the B string for a double win. That was followed by four points dropped in the discus for a combined tally of 52 points out of 60 for the three events.

Lewis Hall and Cellan Robinson were an effective pair over 100m and 200m while Harry Sage and Harry Smith set good 800m times with Ned Potter, JJ Staples and Jack Harrington all showing promise in the non-scoring race.

Ethan Brown and Sam Price showed good hurdling form before Brown went on to partner Sam Haigh in the javelin and Price teamed up with Harry Carter for good points in the high jump.

Under-15 girls

With Alyssa White and Rachel Laurie on county duty, it was a chance for the rest of the under-15 girls’ squad to battle with the best sprinters in the division with Rosie Compton, Josie Pratt and Charlotte Rawlinson in the 100m and 200m and 75m hurdles, gaining personal-best times.

Amber Dodd and Caitlin Brown kept up a good pace over 1,500m with Dodd partnering newcomer Rosie Palmer over 300m. In the field events, the best result of the day was in the discus with Eleanor Lowes third in the A string with Brown second in the B string.

Lowes went one better to end second in the shot with Pratt in support. Compton and Palmer combined well to make a good high-jump pairing.

Under-13 girls

The under-13 girl sprinters who produced the best results of the day in the age group despite coming across nationally-ranked athletes from Horsham, Sutton and Aldershot.

Maya Shankar recorded a new personal best of 10.5sec for the 75m with Emily Russell also setting a new mark of 10.6sec in the B string for a couple of second places. They almost repeated the feat over 150m and Charlotte Bullard and Maggie King kept up the good work with two third places in the 800m where just two seconds covered the top four home.

King had earlier been partnered by Fleur Hollyer in the hurdles and Hollyer teamed up with Russell in the long jump. Over 1,200m, Nicole Boltwood had her best run of the season to pass three rivals in the home straight for a well-earned third place, while Gracie Roberts kept the points total moving with second in the B string.

Under-13 boys

The best result was from Tom Davy in the 800m with a good surge in the finishing straight for third place with George Ashby in support in the B string.

The sprinters knew they were up against more experienced opposition but Tom Cohen, Alex Rivadossi and Jonathan Simmons all battled well as did James Campanile, Owen Thomas and Eden Murphy in the non-scoring races, gaining valuable experience for the future.

Thomas ran a controlled 1,500m as well as partnering Murphy in the hurdles while newcomer Harrison Baker teamed up well with Ashby in the javelin. James Smith, another making his first appearance for the team, notched a good third place in the shot putt.

Team standings

1 Walton AC 2,065pts

2 Aldershot, Farnham & District 1,854

3 Chichester 1,620

4 Horsham 1,602

5 Woking AC 1,482

6 Sutton & District 913

7 Reigate Priory 911

8 Havant AC 770

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