Grand Sussex U13 Athletics Final

Sunday 1st September 2019 saw the 20th staging of the Grand Sussex U13 Athletics Final with the top ten Sussex clubs in action at the K2 Stadium, Crawley.

Chichester kept their record intact of finishing in the top half of the field for the 20th year in succession and even improved on their 4th place of last year to finish third this time. It was a fine all-round display from the new batch of Chichester’s squad of 22 athletes included no less than six whom were competing for the club for the first time.

The match itself could not have been more exciting with Chichester fighting for a top three spot for all the match: Firstly, last year’s 3rd placers were left behind then it was a resurgent Haywards Heath who presented the nearest challenge with their best display ever. It finally came down to the relays with both A and B teams scoring vital points for both the girls and the boys – a total of 29 points out of a maximum 40 was enough to secure the coveted third place.

Match result:

                                    1. Crawley AC                                 392 points

                                    2. Brighton & Hove AC                    348

                                    3. Chichester Runners & AC           272

                                    4. Haywards Heath Harriers            268

                                    5. Horsham Blue Star                      226

                                    6. Lewes AC                                    199

                                    7. Brighton Phoenix                         142

                                    8. East Grinstead                             135

                                    9. Worthing & District Harriers         120

                                    10. Eastbourne Rovers                     49

Boys events

One of Chichester’s newcomers, sprinter Charlie Sewell, got the club off to a flying start with a quick 10.5 seconds for the 75m and allowing Josh Eaton to contest the B string with he did to good effect with a 3rd place giving the team 17 points out of a possible 20. Josh Dunne teamed up with Charlie Sewell in the 150m for the same points tally, this after Josh Dunne had broken the club record for the 600m with 1.43.6, shaving half a second from the time of Ollie Beach in 2016.

The capable B string Will Bailey was one of six boys from School Year 6 in the team, all of whom will have another year in the age group. Another pair were Sam Cato and Digby Fulford in the 100m as well as Ollie Meaby in the javelin and Noah Collins in the long jump. In the final event of the whole match it was the quartet of Will Bailey, Sam Cato, Ollie Meaby and Noah Collins who surpassed expectations by storming to a second place in the B string relay for a crucial nine points and leaving rivals Brighton & Hove and Haywards Heath in their wake.

In the field events, Koby Craig and Oliver Horton gained the club’s only maximum points tally of the day with a double firstt in the high jump. Koby Craig won the A sting with 1.40m and Ollie Horton much too good for the rest of the B string competitors with 1.35. The pair also put in a steady performance in the hurdles later in the match. Another all new pairing gave a balance to the squad in the throws with Adam Mainwaring and Charlie Anderson gaining an most unexpected 17 points in the shot between them while Caiden Robinson made a good pairing with Ollie Meaby in the javelin as well as playing a crucial part in the relay together with Charlie Sewell, Josh Eaton and Koby Craig.

Girls events

As with the boys, the girls were given a good start to the match in the 75m with Harriet Crow flying to a second place in 10.8s, ably supported by Emma Cobden for 4th place in the B string. Harriet Crow was joined by newcomer Anya Barrett in the 150m for fourth and second respectively for 32 points from the two sprints, almost matching the boys’ tally of 33. Anya Barrett then showed her versatility with a storming finish in the 600m followed closely by Laila Hellyer, another of the club’s promising group of Year 6 athletes. Lillie Hellyer ran a well-judged race in the 1k with sprinter Emma Cobden showing great team spirit by finishing sixth for five crucial points to the total.

Imogen Clifford-Brown ran well in the hurdles and teamed up with Rosie Boult for the high jump and once again it was a newcomer who gained a surprise victory, this time in the discus with Amalie Berry throwing 17.40m, nearly a full metre clear of her nearest rival. Tilly Hobbs, after a steady shot put, teamed up with Amalie Berry for a good joint result in the javelin. With a couple of the distance runners filling in for B string field events, the whole team did not have a weakness resulting in Chichester matching the best in the county for the 20th year in succession.