Cross country crew head for Brighton - success for Chichester duo Baker and Concannon

Ned Potter in cross-country action at Goodwood / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Ned Potter in cross-country action at Goodwood / Picture by Lee Hollyer

Cross-country runners return to Stanmer Park, Brighton on Saturday for the third round of the Sussex League and will hope for better conditions than the driving rain of three weeks ago.

In the final league match before the Southern inter-counties in Oxford, it will give selectors a final opportunity to select teams and note the form of the county’s best athletes.

There will be league standings to fight for and Chichester hope to field strong teams in both the senior men’s and women’s races to cement their places in division one.

Ned Potter and James Baker will lead the club’s men’s charge, having occupied two of the top three places last time.

With Will Boutwood and Conrad Meagher also due to line up, there is the potential to repeat their second place from Goodwood in October.

The women will have to do without the services of top veteran Jane Harrop, currently recovering from a riding accident, but Emily Alden expects to return after illness forced her to miss the previous race.

As for the juniors, last time’s under-17 winner Liam Dunne will be missing but younger brother Josh will be looking to recover from being hampered by stitch last time and resume his place in the top three in the county.

The programme starts with the under-11 races at midday.

* One Chichester athlete missing from the large field at the recent Gosport Half Marathon was previous multiple winner James Baker.

But instead Peter Concannon made a welcome return to the running scene after over a year out through injury.

Having rapidly risen through the ranks culminating in a 32-minute 10k in 2017, Chichester ace Concannon first tested his fitness with an 80-minute 10k at Winchester in September.

He knocked a full eight minutes from this time at Gosport with a time of 72.07, good enough for fifth place.

Baker, meanwhile, made another trip to Devon and was rewarded with a victory in the Drogo 10-miler, starting and finishing at the historic Drogo Castle.

With parts of the course along the Teign Valley, saturated by the recent heavy downpours, the race was a matter of endurance over the challenging terrain, testified by Baker’s winning time of over 61 minutes, nearly three minutes ahead of the runner-up.