Potter helps Chichester make club history in Sussex Cross Country League

Ned Potter leads the way at Goodwood earlier in the season / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Ned Potter leads the way at Goodwood earlier in the season / Picture by Lee Hollyer

Chichester’s Ned Potter was the winner of the men’s race as the Sussex Cross Country League switched venues and survived awful weather.

Organisers had to act quickly to find an alternative venue for this second fixture of the campaign and were able to use Stanmer Park, Brighton, one of the county’s best established courses.

The day went well with many great Chichester performances, despite the latter part of the programme suffering a deluge which left the normally dry chalk surface awash with torrents of water resulting in some of the most challenging conditions seen for many years.

Senior men

The final race of the day brought some of the worst conditions but it’s where Chichester had the most success with two of the first three home for the first time in their history.

On the first of three laps of the undulating course club pairing Potter and James Baker passed the post for the first time with a comfortable lead. Both had achieved top-ten placings at the opening fixture at Goodwood but the pair seemed to be spurring each other on this time.

They were joined by in-form Max Dumbrell from Horsham and it was Potter who clung on to the Horsham man with Baker having to drop back, although safe in third place.

Coming into the downhill finish for the final time Potter made a last push for the line and was delighted to achieve his first-ever senior victory by a couple of seconds from Dumbrell, with Baker just over 20 seconds further back.

An athlete who has been involved with the Chi club since primary school, Potter has come through the ranks but this season has been a breakthrough year for him.

Will Boutwood had his first race back after a lay-off and was delighted with 19th place while the rest of the first team was made up of under-20s with

Brodie Keates 68th, Harry Sage 86th and David Bisatt 119th, earning sixth place in division one for the team.

For the B team Paul Stallard was 126th, Mike Moorcroft 130th, Tom Blaylock 154th and Peter Dunne 162nd with reserves Wim Amir 168th and Peter Anderson 173rd.

Senior women and under-17s

With all age groups running together in the senior women’s race there was a mixture of youth and experience for the Chichester A team.

Jane Harrop made her customary steady start and moved through the field over the second lap to finish in 27th, easily top over-55 runner.

Not far behind was Maggie King in 29th, eighth in her under-17 age group. Another under-17, Nicole Boltwood, in 52nd just got the better of Sophie Wright in 54th to make Chichester fifth team in division one, making good strides to preserving Chichester’s status in the top division for another year.

For the B team Aleksandra Vargin in 64th was followed by Kim Nelson in 71st, Amanda Godfrey 82nd and Persephone Hagan 98th with reserve Wendy Whelan a fine 127th overall, just missing out on top over-65 spot by two seconds.

In the under-17 men’s race held over the same 5k distance as the senior women, Liam Dunne was content to run with a well-bunched leading pack of about a dozen over the opening half of the race.

The group got whittled down until just three runners were left. It was late in the race when Dunne decided to make his move and broke away from his rivals to win by a clear ten seconds.

In the same race Archie Sadler had another improving run in 28th and well in touch with the leading group for much of the race.

Juniors

While not managing any top-three team placings, all Chichester’s under-13s and under-15s showed some encouraging signs and continued their steady improvement against quality opposition.

Cerys Dickinson took ninth place in the under-15 girls’ race and good back-up from Amelie McGurk in 20th, Tamsin Anelay 22nd, Gemma Appleton 23rd and Issy Isitt 25th.

Likewise good packing was the order of the day in the under-13 race with Carrie Anelay leading the squad home in 12th followed by Laila Hellyer 15th, Anya Barrett 17th, Lillie Hellyer 19th and Millie Isitt 36th.

In the under-13 boys’ race, Josh Dunne was unfortunate to suffer a shoulder stitch when in the leading group at half way and was almost reduced to a jog but still bravely completed the course to finish 24th just in front of Will Bailey in 25th, with Alessandro Schmitt having another good run in 18th.

There was a full B team in this age group with Josh Eaton in 42nd just getting the better of Digby Fulford in 47th and Sam Cato in 49th.

Only in the under-15 boys’ race were Chichester unable to field a full team, losing athletes to a schools event. However this did not discourage the pair of runners in action with Joe Mclarnon finishing in 13th, but less than 30 seconds behind the winner, and newcomer to the team Finn Robertson a fine 25th and hardly any more distance further back.

The programme opened with the two under-11 races with William Allen 11th and Eden Mc Donald 19th in the boys’ race while Grace Howarth and Iona Sherwood were 11th and 16th in the girls’ race.

The next Sussex League fixture is at the same venue on Saturday, November 30.

Sportshall

Following their opening Sussex Sportshall League match, Chichester Runners & AC have arranged a couple of trial sessions for indoor athletics before the next fixture on December 15.

They will be held at Bishop Luffa School on Sunday, November 24, and Sunday, December 8, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.

The sessions will be open to club members and non-members and involve three age groups: under-11 (school Years 5 & 6); under-13 (school Years 7 & 8); and under-15 (school Years 9 & 10).

There will be a range of activities and coaching for the various events will be given in the first part of each session.

On the track the distance will be two and four-lap for sprinters and six-lap, mainly for middle distance runners, plus relays and paarlauf (two-athlete relays).

The field events will combine standing long jump and triple jump, vertical jump, speed bounce as well as shot put. Doors will open at the Bishop Luffa sports hall at 1.30pm and there will be a charge of £1 per athlete.

The branch of indoor athletics known as Sportshall has been running for more than 20 years.

Many of today’s top runners have used it as an important part of winter training with the latest example being current GB international 400m runner Amber Anning from Brighton, who has her eye on next year’s Tokyo Olympics.