Sussex XC League - Match 2

In a fixture rearranged at the last minute, Sussex XC runners returned to Stanmer Park, Brighton for the second Sussex league fixture on Saturday 1st December 2018.


After recent heavy rains, the Lancing course was deemed unfit by the Worthing Parks Department and it was only the quick thinking of the Brighton and Worthing clubs, which enabled the event to go ahead albeit at a different location. The day’s racing was equally as competitive as in the previous fixture with the added challenge of the runners having to negotiate heavier strength sapping ground. However, on a day of unrelenting rain, the Chichester squad fought well in all age groups and with one exception have consolidated their positions at the halfway stage of the league programme.


U13 Boys: With the return of Harvey McGuiness, on schools’ duty for the first fixture, Chichester were able to field their strongest “A” team on Saturday and were rewarded with third place moving them up in the overall standings into bronze medal position at the half way stage of the season. It was Hal Edgar who brought the team home in ninth place with Harvey one place behind in tenth and Fionn O’Murchu fifteenth to give the trio a total of 34 points. Reserves Josh Dunne and Samuel Tonks both ran well for the “B” team in 32nd and 46th positions respectively, impressive as both athletes will have another year in the age group.


U13 Girls: Just two of the club’s U13’s were in action with Isabel Isitt and Grace Eminson finishing 25th and 33rd, both good performances in their first season of competitive club running.


U15 Girls: Chichester were also back to full strength in the U15 girls age group with the Bishop Luffa Schools cup trio back in league action. In an age group with has been dominated by national champion Beth Cook for the past couple of seasons, the Bodyworks Eastbourne athlete was soon striding out in front, but a large competitive chasing pack was occupying the next fifteen or so places.


Always prominent in this pack, Olivia Toms showed good form In, finishing fifth and was chased hard by Isobel Buckler one place behind in sixth. Eva Buckler was just outside the top ten in 12th for a combined score of 23 points lifting Chichester up the rankings into fourth place after two matches. Cerys Dickinson and Tamsin Anelay ran well for the “B” team in 22nd and 25th respectively showing good depth on this age group.


U15 Boys: The U15 boys age group is another where the standard in Sussex is particularly strong at present and Joe McLarnon did well to finish in 14th place in a close packed race with Gabyrl White close behind in 20th and Bradley Holder 43rd. Even though a top three placing is likely to be out of reach, a solid team eight place was a good reward for their efforts.


U17 Men: In the absence of Liam Dunne, third in the first race, it was left to Ned Potter to have the race of his season so far with an excellent fourth place. Ned was always up with the leading pack and was only beaten by an experienced Hastings pairing and a Lewes athlete at the finish. Alfie Spurle returned to the team for a good 21st with Harry Sage completing the scoring in 24th and reserve David Bisatt 27th. Team wise, Chichester still lie in third place although the gap to the chasers is now smaller than after Match 1.


U11’s: As usual the league programme started with the U11 races where Chichester’s girls were in especially fine form. Carrie Anelay was first home for the club on this occasion in fifth place closely followed by Florence Ingram in seventh with Millie Isitt 18th and Martha Eminson 25th. For the boys, Sam Cato in 25th just beat Digby Fulford in 27th with Finlay Holder completing the squad in 37th.


Senior Women’s Race


Yet another good field lined up for the senior women’s race which once again saw university student Alice Wright settle into the leading pack of half a dozen athletes in the early stages of the tough, demanding 5K course finally finishing a brilliant fourth place. There was good packing again from Alice Cox-Rusbridge in 23rd and Maggie King in 29th with Maggie fifth in her U17 age category. Sophie Wright battled hard in 52nd place to bring the “A” team quartet home with a total of 108 points to keep the team in a comfortable mid-table place in Division 1.


U20’s Florence Smith and Rachel Laurie ran stride for stride for most of the race to finish 62nd and 64th respectively while special mention must be made of Sarah Morris who completed the scoring for the “B” team in 75th. Not only did she have to contend with the arduous conditions in the afternoon but amazingly this was the second race of the day for Sarah who in the morning had lined up in the Worthing Sisters 10K. Not content to opt for the shorter 5K option and jog round the Worthing course, Sarah went on to win the 10K race and then travel on to Brighton for the afternoon’s exercise. Chichester’s Women’s “B” team at Stanmer Park finished a creditable eighth place in Division 2 and had reserves Nadia Anderson finishing in 77th place and Amanda Godfrey 93rd.



Senior Men’s Race


The one disappointment of the day for Chichester was a last place in Division 1 for their senior men’s team.  This result leaves them in seventh place overall out of the eight teams in the Division and with two relegation places, Chichester are in the drop zone at the halfway stage of the season. Already fielding a weakened team, the club’s fortunes were not helped with the withdrawal of both Ben Collins and Simon Ludlam during the race with both runners in Chichester’s scoring six at the time.


Evergreen James Baker was yet again first home for the club by scything through the field to finish ninth, a fine achievement in a top-class field with many high-quality club athletes in his wake. St Mary’s college student Ben Morton was a very good 28th with Chichester University’s Joe Godwood hot on his heels in 31st. It was left to three of the club’s veterans to salvage the situation and keep the club in with a chance of retaining their status in the top flight. Steve Davy did well to make the top 100 in 91st with O50 duo of Paul Stallard and Tim Brown completing the scoring in 140th and 143rd.


Chichester did have the consolation, however, of fielding a complete “B” team with Tom Blaylock in 165th followed by Richard Ayling in 168th. Wim Amir 185th and John Betts bringing the squad home in 186th.