Sussex XC League - Match 1

There were record fields in the first fixture of the Sussex Cross Country League at Goodwood on Saturday 14th October 2017 with over 600 of the best athletes in the county competing in the nine-race programme.


Among this record turnout, host club Chichester Runners & AC also had their highest ever for a single event with no less than 92 competitors ranging from U11’s right through to seniors and veterans. As well as having some high individual placings, Chichester’s teams featured in the top three in ten of the fourteen age categories. Once the early morning mist had cleared, the conditions were nigh on perfect for racing with firm ground underfoot and very little breeze high on the Sussex Downs.


Senior Women

Having been league champions two seasons earlier, Chichester’s women were slightly disappointed to only finish 4th last season but started their campaign at Goodwood in fine style by leading Division 1 by 5 points from pre-race favourites, Brighton based Arena 80. The leading quartet had a completely new look from last year’s team with 3 out of the 4 runners still in the U17 age group and forging a clear lead in that category as well.


Leading the club home was Olivia Wiseman who continued her good form from the relay championships at the end of September with a fine 5th place. The next three Chichester runners finished within 8 seconds of each other with Imogen Matthews 12th, University student Alice Wright 13th and Tara Sallaba 15th. With and average age of just 17 years, the future is looking very bright for Chichester’s women.


As if this was not enough the club’s “B” team placed 3rd in Division 2, well in touch with the promotion places with all three runners still in the U17 age group. Alive Cox-Rusbridge led the team in 18th followed by Bo Sansom in 26th and Florence Smith in 42nd. This showing also means that the club has two teams in the top three U17 rankings with the “A” team first and the “B” team third.


Showing the club’s best ever strength in depth in the 33 years of its existence in any women’s’ XC race, Chichester fielded no less than six complete teams in the senior race with other scorers: Annabel Parker 43rd, Sophie Wright 54th, Beth Brown 58th, top over 60 Helen Dean 60th, Alice Ward 78th, Nadia Anderson 81st, Elizabeth Robinson 90th, Julia Hammond 102nd, Liz Wingham 107th, Rebecca Brown 112th, Sandra Nemorin-Noel 113th, Liz Peskett 117th and Sarah Freeman-Smith 118th.


Senior Men

After so much promise at the start of last season, Chichester’s senior men’s challenge for promotion back into Division 1 fell away over the final two fixtures. This time the club is determined not to make the same mistake and started off the season with a resounding gap of well over 100 points at the top of Division 2. Talisman James Baker seems to be defying the years and had one of his best XC races for several seasons with a third place overall and leading a quality veterans field home ahead of top South of England runners Chris Smith and Howard Bristow. Solid runs from Conrad Meagher in 18th and newcomer to the team Tom Pritchard in 28th and a fine 34th by U20 Ben Morton gave the club a total of 83 points against 218 from their nearest challengers. There was good packing from the “B” team who have a narrow lead in Division 3, so Chichester may be looking at s double promotion if they can keep the squad injury free. Joe Godwood led them home in 40th closely followed by Mike Houston in 44th and another U20 Brodie Keates 47th with veteran Richard Pullen 89th.


As with the women, there was an excellent show of depth with John Bullard 106th, Jason Boswell 114th, Gary Williams 119th, Om Phulphan 120th, Emmanuel Obine 122nd, Mike Moorcroft 132nd, Andrew Wingham 137th, Tom Blaylock 142nd, Martin Miller 151st and the only over 70 in the race, Peter Anderson 154th and Jeremy Harrison 156th.


U17 Men

Due to a couple of injuries, Chichester have still to find their best form in the U17 men’s age group. However, things are gradually getting back to their best with a runner-up placing at the relays two weeks previously and a third place on Saturday with the “B” team backing up well in 10th. Leo Stallard led the squad home in 6th followed by Ben Collins 16th and Alfie Spurle 20th for a team total of 42 points, just adrift of Brighton and Horsham who occupy the top two places. The “B” team were well packed with JJ Staples 22nd, Harry Sage 29th and David Bisatt 30th.


Junior Girls

There was another club record turnout from Chichester’s junior girls with a squad of 26 runners in the three age groups. There was a fine run from Olivia Toms in the U15 race won by former national U13 champion, Bethany Cook. Olivia was 4th in a very high-quality field, which should see Sussex challenge for inter-county honours later in the season. Maggie King and Nina Moranne packed well in 23rd and 24th for a team total of 51 points and 5th place.


The “B” team were even more closely packed with Charlotte Bullard in 35th, Hannah Carmichael 36th and Rose Potter 38th. Their total of 109 points gives them 12th place, well in touch with the top 10.  The “C” team are in 15th on 135 points thanks to Lucy Ward 44th, Sophie Lambourne 45th and Maya Solly 46th with reserve Amelia Bromell just behind in 47th.


Fresh from their gold medal winning relay display, the U13’s were again pitting themselves against the best in Sussex but on this occasion, lie just outside the top 3. Crawley were boosted by the return of the Wormley twins and have a commanding lead on just 13 points from their three athletes. With less than 30 seconds separating the top 10 finishers, Eva Buckler did well to come home in 8th with twin sister Isobel just behind in 11th. Cerys Dickinson completed the scoring for the “A” team in 17th for a team total of 36 points just behind Brighton on 29 and Eastbourne on 30. Tamsin Anelay led the “B” team home in 37th with Izzie Lunn 40th and Edith Ingram 43rd.


Many of the U11’s had their first taste of league competition and it was Grace Bishop who led Chichester home in 9th place followed by Florence Ingram 11th, Carrie Anelay 14th, Laila Hellyer 15th, Lillie Hellyer 17th, Grace Emison 21st, Ellie Courtney 23rd, Harriet Coomber 24th Lily Root 26th and Hannah Holte 27th.


Junior Boys

Chichester’s only disappointment of the day team wise was in the U15 boys race where only Niall Mears in 39th and Eden Murphy 54th lined up for the start so were unable to field a complete team with top runner Liam Dunne unavailable for this fixture. The U13’s made up for this, however, with three complete teams and several athletes making their first appearances for the club.


Joe McLarnon had probably his best race ever at XC with a fine 2nd place with the top three pulling well clear of the rest. Behind there was one of the best Chichester performances of the day with newcomer Harvey McGuiness finishing strongly in 13th just in front of team mate Fionn O’Murchu in 15th. Their team total of 30 points was good enough for third behind two strong clubs Hastings and Crawley.


The “B” team also made the top 10 with Gabriel White in 26th just in front of Logan Cooper 27th and Max Sydenham 45th bringing home the team. The “C” team comprised Marcus Bone 48th, Arthur Dearlove 51st and Barney McLarnon with reserve Roman Watson in 65th.


In the U11 boys race Josh Dunne led the club contingent home in 9th place in a very competitive race followed by Felix Evison 21st, Magnus Evison 27th, Sam Cato 29th, Alex Sydenham 31st, Seb Fenmor Collins 34th and Digby Fulford 36th.