Chichester athletes have a grand day out

Ben Collins was one of the stars for Chichester's under-15s   Picture by Lee Hollyer
Ben Collins was one of the stars for Chichester's under-15s Picture by Lee Hollyer
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Chichester’s under-15 track and field squad completed a fine weekend for the club’s juniors by matching their under-13 counterparts to finish third in their Sussex Grand Final in Brighton.

Once again Crawley and Brighton & Hove snatched the top two places – but once again, Chichester ran them close and were matching Brighton for second for the first half of the programme.

The meeting started with two new league records in the boys and girls’ 300m and ended in similar fashion when the Crawley 4x300m relay squads obliterated the previous best marks.

In between there were a host of nationally-ranked performances, including the highlight of the field events – a 48.58 javelin throw from a Brighton athlete in the boys’ competition.

Boys’ match

Chichester’s full quota of a dozen in the boys’ match gave a good account of themselves across all 12 disciplines.

Brandon Bell enjoyed another sub 40-second clocking in the 300m, where UK record holder Joe Massimo from Crawley won in 36.2 seconds, one of the fastest times in the country. Lewis Hall kept up the good work with fourth in the B string in 43.4.

New pairing Cameron Airzee and Harry Wynne both battled a slight headwind in the 100m to record 13 seconds, with Airzee teaming up with Bell to show good speed over 200ms with just over 25 seconds for each athlete.

The regular middle-distance quartet were all in action with Ben Collins and Jack Blackman first to run in the 800m, both runners improving their PBs, a 2.11.8 for Collins in third place in the A string with Blackman runner-up in the B string with 2.23.

The 1,500m pairing of Leo Stallard and Ben Morton were slightly below their best to finish just outside five minutes but were both in the mix for most of the race.

With regular thrower James Gillett unavailable, newcomer Jamie Holmes stepped in to partner Michael Ackerman and the pair did not let the team down.

Starting with a second place in the A string in the hammer, Holmes repeated this with a good 26.79 second place in the discus and notched a close third in the shot with the top four athletes over 3.90.

Ackerman proved a fine B string with a double win in hammer and shot before high jumping in preparation for his county pentathlon.

Chichester’s two match high jumpers both finished third with Nicholas Cornelius clearing 1.45m and Harry Carter just below at 1.40.

Cornelius managed 4.57 in an excellent long jump in which the top five athletes were over 4.50m.

Both relay teams put up an excellent showing with the 4x100m squad of Bell, Airzee, Wynne and Ackerman edged into fifth in a speedy 51.2sec before the 4x300m quartet of Bell, Hall, Blackman and Collins set another club record of 2.50.7 behind Crawley to put them inside the top 30 in the UK over the distance.

Girls’ match

In the girls’ match, the Chichester squad of ten had their best team result of the season to match the boys for third place to keep the combined team well ahead of all but the top two.

Alyssa White got things under way on the track with a fast 44.6 300m fourth place, with the league record broken by the top two, Orla Brothers from Crawley and Amber Anning from Brighton.

Olivia Pine picked up useful points in the B string in an event shorter than her best distance. Rachel Laurie was just outside 14 seconds in the 100m and combined with White in the 200m with White just getting the edge in 28.00 for second the B string.

Anna and Katie Hains were both just outside 2.50 in a close 800m while Florence Smith finished fourth in the 1500m in just outside six minutes.

The girls were bolstered by the first appearance of the season of Heather Jacobs, who partnered Karrie Pafford in the throws in the absence of Natalie Gzik.

After a steady hammer competition, both showed good form in the discus with Pafford just getting the edge with over 20m for second place in the A string while Jacobs repeated the placing with 18.72 in the B string.

The pair went one better in the shot with Jacobs coming out on top with 8.40m for second place in the A string and Pafford winning the B string with 8.07. Completing a well-balanced girls’ team were high-jump and long-jump pair Catherine Scott and Amelia Freeman. Scott got the better of things in the high jump with 1.40m and Freeman managed well over 4.00m in the long jump after a good third place in the hurdles.

PHIL BAKER

Match score

1 Crawley 460pts

2 Brighton & Hove 375

3 Chichester 312

4 Horsham 288

5 Lewes 277

6 Eastbourne 246

7 East Grinstead 215

8 Haywards Heath 152

9 Brighton Phoenix 119