Young Chichester athletes edge some of south's top teams

Chichester's juniors at Winchester / Picture by Tola Sargeant
Chichester's juniors at Winchester / Picture by Tola Sargeant

Chichester’s juniors kept up their momentum in the second match in the national Youth Development League at Winchester by finishing in second place behind the hosts and cementing their place in the top two.

With a strong all-round squad of 34, the ability to field two good competitors in all but a couple of the 50 events meant a total of more than 500 points – comfortably ahead of the rest and pushing top southern club Aldershot & Farnham into third.

Match result

1 Winchester & District 681pts

2 Chichester 515

3 Aldershot & Farnham AC 469

4 Camberley & District 441

5 Woking AC 403

6 Worthing & District Harriers 272

7 Havant AC 83

Under 15 boys

The under-15 boys squad was boosted by six athletes making their first appearance of the season and capped a fine afternoon by winning the final event, the 4x300m relay in a new club record in 2min 49.4sec, one of the top ten times in the UK.

Their overall track performances far outshone all six other clubs with Elijah Green on form with 24.9sec in the 100m backed up by a 12.7sec 100m after a slow start and a 1.50m high jump.

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Zach Keulemans partnered Green in the 200m before setting a new PB in winning the 300m in a speedy 41.6sec, with Joe McLarnon winning the B string for maximum points for the club.

McLarnon dropped down from his usual 1500m to smash his 800m best with 2.11.1 with Charlie Pemberton offering good support, while Harvey McGuiness knocked another four seconds from his 1500m best with 4.34 and newcomer Toby Greatorex backing up well in the B string.

Nathan Ewins and Arthur Dearlove had got the team off to a flying start in the hurdles and the pair backed this up with good marks in high jump and long jump.

In the throws another newcomer Hugo Martell showed his worth with a convincing win in the shot with the versatile Keulemans winning the B string for another set of maximum points.

Martell and Pemberton combined in discus and hammer while Sam Corbett kept the points score moving in javelin and long jump.

Under-15 girls

The club’s girls’ under-15 squad made a valuable contribution. The highlight was the A string 800m win from Cerys Dickinson with a confident display of front running in 2.25.6 and a new personal best performance.

She later backed this up with a good 300m, with newcomer Erin Hobbs in support, and a solid high jump with Jaimie Gibb.

In the sprints Sophie Dudman and Cassie Bailey picked up good points in 100m and 200m while a new middle-distance pairing of Amelie McGurk and Gemma Appleton also ran to good effect.

Appleton had earlier hurdled with Chloe Noble, who then spearheaded the throws with Bailey and Hobbs in support.

The Sadler twins epitomised the all-round strength of the Chichester squad. They both cleared 1.80m in the pole vault, then showed great team spirit by scoring points in the shot.

Under-13 boys and girls

Chichester’s under-13s improved on the opening fixture and played a vital part in the club’s second place in the match.

This was especially praiseworthy in light of the strength of the opposition – there were national top ten boys in action in the sprints, long jump and 1500m and the match witnessed three of the top five runners in the UK in the girls’ 75m.

As in the previous fixture, Josh Dunne showed a clean pair of heels to his rivals with a fast 2.25.6 time over 800m. Although Dunne was the only A string winner of the day in Chichester’s under-13s, the rest of the squad picked up valuable points throughout the day.

Josh Eaton sprinted and high-jumped well with Ollie Meaby in support while newcomer Sam Cato showed good speed over 100m and endurance over 1500m with Alessandro Schmitt.

Another newcomer Diego Savage-Melendez picked up useful points in the shot while Sam Tonks showed great versatility with good marks in hurdles, javelin and 800m.

Katie Attrell and Tilly Hobbs were useful additions to the girls’ under-13 squad over six events between them, Attrell sprinting over 75m and 150m as well as setting a good high jump mark of 1.20m, while Hobbs performed with credit in hurdles, long jump and shot.

Grace Eminson and Ellie Courtney formed a solid 800m pairing, with Courtney and Louise Byers picking up good points in long jump, shot, 150m and javelin.