Sussex XC League Match 3

A squad of more than 41 Chichester athletes returned to Stanmer Park, Brighton on Saturday 30th November 2019 where conditions could not have been more different from the previous fixture at the beginning of the month.

Instead of driving wind and rain, runners were greeted with a crisp, dry day with the underfoot conditions perfect for racing. The day was one of mixed fortunes for Chichester Runners & AC with the juniors continuing to make the steady progress they have shown all season, while the two senior teams had wildly different results.

Senior Men & Women

Both of the club’s senior teams are in the top Division at present but after Saturday’s racing, it looks as though, barring miracles, the women are certain to slide into Division 2 for next season.

The senior men’s race was strengthened on Saturday with the introduction with athletes who had recently competed in the UK trials for the forthcoming European Championships. It was therefore credit to last time winner, Chichester’s U20 Ned Potter for taking the initiative and leading the pack on the first of the three-lap course. Last time 3rd placer James Baker was adopting a more cautious start but at two thirds distance he had jumped up into the top 10 and was hot on the heels of Ned in 5th. These two held onto their places until the finish and were just half a minute adrift of the winner after 8K of gruelling running.

Behind the club’s leading pair was consistent Will Boutwood in 19th while John Peters got the better of Conrad Meagher with 39th to 47th. Another of the club’s U20’s, Brodie Keates, was the 6th scorer for the A team in 86th enabling them to claim 5th place and still giving them an outside chance of a team medal at the final fixture in Bexhill in February. The B team was led home by veteran Jon Edgar in 114th overall and 48th veteran to finish with the remaining three places occupied by another three U20’s, Harry Sage 125th, Fred Austin 127th and David Bisatt 136th. It was a matter of veteran dominance for the C team with Tim Brown 140th, Paul Stallard 146th, Mike Moorcroft 151st and Peter Dunne 173rd. Tom Blaylock was 174th, Peter Anderson 187th and the club was brought home by Peter Shaw, the second over 70 to finish.

Chichester’s Women, in contrast, were severely depleted with none of their A team available. It was brave runs from two U17’s and three veterans which at least gave the club a team score in all three categories, U17, veteran and senior. While the U17’s still have an outside chance of team medals in the final fixture, the writing on the wall is definitely there for the seniors with their 8 year stay in the top division with a 150 point gap to safety almost impossible to bridge with just one match left.

On Saturday it was veteran Aleksandra Vargin who led the way in 60th followed by two U17’s, Amelia Bromell in 76th and Rose Potter 94th, 15th and 17th in their age group. Sue Baker completed the scoring in 101st with reserve Wendy Whelan 115th, both athletes occupying the top two places in the over 65 age group.

Junior U13’s

Both the club’s U13 teams had solid team performances with the boys achieving a well-deserved 2nd place. Josh Dunne put the disappointment of a severe stitch in the previous fixture behind him with a well-controlled performance. He opted for a steady start and allowed the leaders to open up a gap on the first lap and gradually closed on their advantage to finish in 3rd place, just 5 seconds behind the winner. With Alessandro Schmitt in 13th and Will Bailey 17th their team total of 33 points brought them closer to the medal positions. There was incredibly close packing from the B team with Josh Eaton 42nd, Sam Cato 45th and Digby Fulford 46th and just 9 seconds separating the three runners at the finish.

The U13 girls also packed well to finish 4th with Carrie Anelay in 16th just a few strides ahead of Anya Barrett in 17th and Florence Ingram 21st with reserve Millie Isitt in 32nd.

Shortly to move up to the U13’s Grace Howarth was a good 14th in the U11 race.

Junior U15’s

Matching their younger teammates, Chichester’s U15’s also showed great team packing and nowhere was this more evident than in the girls race with the Chichester quartet occupying four consecutive places for the first time ever. With the fight to be first home for the club changing hands throughout the race it was Issy Isitt who led the club home on 20th place, followed by Amelie McGurk 21st, Tamsin Anelay 22nd and Gemma Appleton 23rd, separated by just 10 seconds after 4k of running.

For the boys Joe McLarnon was able to keep with the leading group of 10 runners for the first lap but just lost a bit of ground at the end but still was under a minute behind the winner at the finish. Hal Edgar and Gabe White battled all the way for next club spot and finished in 30th and 31st respectively. New member James Davies did himself justice in his first race for the club to finish a creditable 42nd, well in touch with the main pack.