Individual stars can’t force team victory for Chichester Runners

Chichester’s senior athletics squad put in some fine individual performances at their home fixture in the Southern Athletics League at Portsmouth – but didn’t challenge for overall match honours.

Charlotte Reading in action at Portsmouth / Picture by Dave Reading
Charlotte Reading in action at Portsmouth / Picture by Dave Reading

It was in the women’s sprints where the highest nationally-ranked times were set, especially by under-17 Sophie Anne Haigh, whose time of 12.3sec for the 100m was a personal best and propelled her into the national top 12.

Haigh was just pipped for first place by a Sutton athlete ranked seventh in the UK.

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The tables were turned when Haigh ran another PB of 25.2sec for the 200m, putting her 20th in the country.

Jessica Breach and Caitlin Moore also contributed well in the sprints and Breach was near her best with a 5.25m long jump but had to settle for second place behind newly-crowned national heptathlon champion Elise Lovell from Hastings.

Another new lifetime best was set by Lauren Cooper with just short of 30m in the javelin but again Lovell narrowly came away with the win.

Supporting well were Charlotte Reading and Holly Beaton over 800m and 400m while Grace Wills was a narrow runner-up in the 1,500m.

The sole senior athlete in the Chichester women’s squad was Renae Brown, who showed versatility in both jumps and throws.

While the women’s section of the Chichester team was predominantly youth-orientated, the men were represented by a wide range of age groups.

A number of under-17s were joined by under-20s, seniors and veterans including two in the over-50 ranks who both performed with credit among their younger rivals.

With regular Tim Brown able to get only to the second part of the match, it was left to the first of the over-50s, Andy Hall, to step up as first string in the shot and hammer, resulting in a good 33.75m hammer throw for second place.

Brown and Hall combined for two good seconds in the discus before Brown scored a well-deserved javelin win in just under 40m.

The other over-50 was Jim Garland, who was just edged out as first Chichester runner by Adam Croad in the 800m, but his 2.14.7 clocking puts him near the top nationally in his age group.

There was emphasis on youth in the 1,500m with under-17s Brodie Keates and Luke Campbell battling well with Will Kallaway and Sam Reading also running as middle distance non-scorers.

In the sprints, there was a new combination of new senior Chris Clark and Tom Ackerman while Brandon Bell showed good form over 200m and 400m with Ackerman in support.

At the start of the match, Ackerman had joined up with Jack Blackman for a most unexpected 400m hurdles double win with Blackman going on to score well in high and long jumps.

It was fitting that James Baker should be involved in Chichester’s other double win, having represented Chichester’s track and field team in every one of the 22 seasons they have competed in the Southern League.

After settling for second place in a fast 3,000m earlier in the day with veteran Steve Davy running a good B string, Baker teamed up with under-20 Conrad Meagher at the end of the match in the 3,000m steeplechase with both Chichester athletes too good for their rivals.

The next Southern Athletics League fixture sees the team travel to Swindon on Saturday, June 20.


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