Chichester athletes in form in Southern League return

Chichester athletes had a reminder of what they have been missing in team competition when the opening round of the Southern Athletics League was held.

Chichester's younger athlets at Crawley / Picture: Lee Hollyer

All Chichester’s matches will be held at the K2 in Crawley this season and on this occasion they were up against the hosts, Horsham, East Grinstead, Dorking, Reigate and guests from Worthing.

Chichester fielded seven younger athletes and five veterans, ranging from 15 years to over 60.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

From the off, Chichester showed lockdown training has been paying off when the hammer throwers were in action.

Chichester's seniors at the K2 / Picture: Amanda Godfrey

Brooklyn Santer-Smith produced a lifetime best of 37.76m for a place in the UK top 30 in her first year in the under-20 age group.

In support was Lucie Munday, winning the B string with 22.59, while reserve Jennifer Munday threw 15.90.

Lucie Munday followed this with a 22.05 discus throw. Maya Solly, absent for this match, had already secured qualification for the English schools championships with a throw of 38.93, ranking her fourth in the senior girls’ age group.

For the men coach Andy Hall won in the hammer with a best of just under 38m, as well as setting competitive marks in shot and discus.

On the track there were convincing wins for two promising under-17s, with Finlay Roberson showing a clean pair of heels to the field in the 1500m in 4.15.4, a tenth of a second outside his best, set the previous weekend.

Joe McLarnon was dominant in the 800m, winning the B string in just over two minutes, and it is only a matter if time before he joins the sub two-minute club.

McLarnon managed a 24.36 clocking in the 200m before he and Roberson ran legs in the 4x400m relay with times of 53.0 and 55.8.

Mclarnon’s time was almost good enough to make the UK top 50.

Elsewhere on the track two of Chichester’s over-40s were in action.

Newcomer Jon Grave donned a pair of spikes for the first time for well over 20 years and was rewarded with competitive times for his age group in both 100m and 200m.

James Baker, one of Chichester’s team in their first competitive league match in 1994, celebrated his 27th unbroken season running for the club with a respectable 16.19.2 clocking over 5000m.

The final group of athletes in action for Chichester at the K2 were the women on the track.

Fleur Hollyer led the club in both 100m and 200m with two good second places, while Rachel Laurie added a 400m to her usual shorter 200m and was rewarded with a

personal best of 62.8, which gets her into the senior rankings.

Amelie McGurk was delighted with a 64.1sec finish in the 400m, this after having run close to 2.30 over 800m earlier.

While these three athletes had an average age of just 18, it was two of Chichester’s veteran women who lined up for the 3000m.

Elizabeth Robinson, who has just broken the four-hour mark for the marathon, finished in 13.25.7, a new club over-50 record.

Amanda Godfrey clocked 13.52.1 to better the club over-60 mark.

The next match in this league will be at the same Crawley venue on Sunday, July 11 and Chichester will be looking to field their strongest possible team.

Team manager Phil Baker will be pleased to hear from anyone who wishes to resume their athletics career and can be contacted at [email protected]