Youth Development League - Lower Age Group

Newly promoted Chichester battled against some talented opposition to make an encouraging start to their Division 1 campaign in the National Young Athletes match at Crawley on Saturday 21st April 2018.


A squad of nearly 40 athletes put in some fine performances and even though the team lost out to 4 of the other 5 teams in the match, there were some very encouraging signs for the rest of the season. With over half of the title winning Division 2 champions from 2017 having moved up into the higher age group, the squad had very much of a new look to it especially in the U13’s where all but 3 of the 15 athletes were newcomers to the team. With exactly a month before the next fixture at Horsham on May 19th, the club’s team managers are confident that a mid-table placing is well within the capabilities of an improving group of young athletes.


U15 Boys

The best performances of the day came from the U15 boys where throwers Oliver Beach and Vinnie Conte-Smith went through the whole day unbeaten as a pairing. Vinnie had just the better of things in the opening event, the hammer while Oliver proceeded to take the initiative in both discus and shot with a 10.67 best in the shot the highlight of the day. Showing the importance of having two strong competitors in each event, the pair successfully won the “B” strings in all three events to go with the “A” strings, the first time a club pairing has achieved a clean sweep in this standard of competition.


Elsewhere in the field events Archie Sadler cleared 2 metres in the pole vault while Jack Wadham, in his first competition for the club produced good high and long jumps while Zach Entiknapp was on form in the javelin. Last year’s club record holder in the U13 age group, Joe McLarnon, was not put off by move into the U15’s and led from the front in the 1500 metres on the opening laps. He held off all his chasers bar one for a well-deserved second place in a time of 4 minutes 42 seconds, just outside his personal best. To complete the squad, special mention must be made of three athletes who originally planned to gain experience as reserves but ended up by playing an important part in the club eventual point total. Gabryel White, Kyle Chaplin and Bradley Holder were all newcomers to the track team but finished up with a total of 8 events between them.


U15 Girls

As with the U15 boys, a pair of U15 girls shone throughout the afternoon and finished with the second highest points score of the day. Millie Grant started with a win in the hammer with a 20- metres plus effort with Maya Solly runner-up in the “B” string. The pair then gained a couple of close second places in the shot with Solly also in action in the discus.


On the track there was a well-balanced look to the squad with Fleur Hollyer setting a new personal best in the 100 metres with Sophie Dudman in support while Milie Grant and Sophie looked after the 200 metres. Sophie was on good form in the hurdles together with Georgia Colston while the middle-distance events were well covered with not only the club’s 4 scorers but a host of reserves.


Nicole Boltwood and Nina Moranne led the club home in the 800 and 1500 metres respectively with support from Cerys Dickinson and Tamsin Anelay with non-scorers Emily Weymouth, Hannah Carmichael, Maddie Byers and Skye Sadler. Maisie Sadler together with a quartet of Chichester girls gained experience in the non-scoring 100 metres while twin sister Syke earned useful points in the pole vault after regular winter training at the indoor facility at Horsham. Elsewhere in the field Fleur Hollyer showed her versatility in both javelin and high jump, two events while are part of the heptathlon if she decides to go in that direction as an U17.


U13 Boys and Girls

There was really only one seasoned athlete in the U13 squad with Fionn O’Murchu leading from the front. After a close 3rd place in the 800 metres, his primary event, Fionn showed the importance of all-round ability by winning the shot with a throw of 7.86, a new personal best as well as a reasonable mark in the javelin.


After a successful cross-country season and the more recent Corporate Challenge road races, Chichester knew they were going to be strong in the middle-distance events with Harvey McGuiness and Hal Edgar forming a good partnership in the 1500 metres while Barney McLarnon, Joshua Dunne and Tom Williams all showing good speed over 800 with all three setting personal bests. Arthur Dearlove and Marcus Bone showed good team spirit by lining up for the hurdles in their first attempt at the event as did the rest of the squad ensuring that all the events were covered.


The situation was much the same for the U13 girls and the 6 athletes in action showed a variety of talents to cover the 18 events in the programme. Tilly Russell-Stoneham and Amelie McGurk led the middle-distance events and showed their versatility by teaming up in the high jump. Gabi Styles and Lucy Hollyer proved to be a good pairing in the 75 metres and long jump while Ruby Chandler tackled the shot and javelin. Grace Bishop was one of the few Primary School pupils in the match but played her part in full with 3 events requiring different skills, the 1200 metres, 150 metres and shot, epitomising the positive attitude of the whole team.


Match score: 


1. Horsham 541; 2. Guildford & Godalming 529; 3. Winchester & District 446; 4. Kingston 440; 5. Chichester 415; 6. Team Dorset 391.


The next match is on Saturday 19th May at Broadbridge Heath, Horsham.