Chichester athletes are doing hall right in Horsham

A squad of 17 of Chichester's juniors travelled to Horsham for the second fixture in the Sussex Sportshall League.

Friday, 21st December 2018, 10:30 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:32 am
Chichester's under-11 relay team / Picture by Lee Hollyer

Again having the face many track and field county champions, especially from strong Crawley and Brighton teams, Chichester’s athletes stuck to their task and put up a stronger showing than in the previous fixture in November.

The league provides a winter opportunity for track and field athletes to test their fitness and, for some new to the sport, a first taste of club competition.

It was right at the end of Sunday’s match where Chichester had most cause to celebrate when the under-11 boys’ quartet gained a thrilling victory.

Sam Cato and Henry Court, together with new member Noah Collins, had put Chichester very much in the mix after the first three legs and it was left to James Taylor to draw level and then pull away from his rivals on the final turn to bring the team home in first place by a couple of metres.

Earlier, Taylor had again won the individual two-lap sprint in fine form and was rewarded with a new Sussex record, improving on his previous best in November by a full half a second to record a time of 22.8 seconds.

The under-11 quartet also picked up good points in the field events together with reserve Ethan Cooper.

In the other boys’ age groups, under-15 duo Toby Payne and Will Simmonds had combined well in the sprints and jumps as had James Carmichael and another newcomer Toby Applegarth for the under-13s, with Carmichael once again on good form in the speed bounce. For the girls, Fleur Hollyer has been Chichester’s most consistent indoor athlete this season and ran well in the two-lap sprint before falling just one point short of her best in the speed bounce and two points off the Sussex record.

In her final year in the league, Hollyer will have two more opportunities to match or beat the mark in the new year.

Supporting her well on Sunday in the under-15 age group, Maya Solly and Clemmie Russell-Stoneman both ran well on the track as well as picking up useful points in the jumps and shot putt in the field events.

Alice McGurk, Lucy Hollyer and Grace Bishop put up a good all-round display for the under-13s. Just two under-11 girls were in action and both Catherine Dudman and Celia Mayne played their part well in the overall team performance.

* Three of Chichester’s seniors have been in action recently, with unqualified success.

Chris Bird travelled to Malaga to take advantage of the late-autumn Spanish sunshine to take part in their marathon and was delighted to knock a full ten minutes from his previous best time to record 2hr 31min, which places him fourth on the all-time club list behind Chris Zablocki, Paul Froud and James Baker.

Baker himself was in action in Peacehaven for the popular ten-mile multi-terrain race and fairly demolished the rest of the field of nearly 500 runners.

Completing the undulating course in 55.14, the 41-year-old was a clear seven minutes ahead of his nearest rival and an impressive three-and-a-half minutes faster than last year. The third member of the trio dipped under 37 minutes for 10k for the first time in recording 36.59 at the popular telford 10K.

* With plenty of events to choose from over the next two weeks, runners have no excuse for not keeping fit, either by taking part in the many Saturday morning parkrun events or the seasonal road and off-road races on offer.

Chichester’s top cross-country runners will be training hard for the Sussex Championships on January 5, to be held again on the undulating Bexhill course.

As well as team and individual medals being at stake, the event will be a major pointer for Sussex selectors to start putting together their teams for the national inter-counties at Loughborough later in the season.