Sussex XC League Match 3 at Bexhill

Chichester finished their Sussex Cross Country League campaign at Bexhill on Saturday 9th February 2019 emerging with individual and team medals after a hard-fought season.


After the overnight gales had brought down a number of trees on the course it was thanks to the efficiency of host club Hastings AC that the fixture was able to start on time with high winds buffeting the runners on the exposed parts of the course.


U17 Men

With both Liam Dunne and Ned Potter on recent good form, the club’s U17 men knew that a solid all-round performance was all that was needed to secure team medals, but they excelled themselves by finishing just one point behind league winners Hastings on the day and in a very comfortable 3rd place overall. Liam Dunne allowed the leading pack to gain a few metres in the early stages but used his strong finishing speed to overhaul but the eventual winner, Ethan Fincham from Worthing based Team Synergy.


Ned Potter was equally impressive in a close 5th and like Liam justifying his selection for the Sussex team for the National Inter-Counties UK Championships in March. Alfie Spurle had a good run in 19th followed by a brave run from Harry Sage feeling under par in 23rd and improving David Bisatt in 24th. The squad’s three match total of 110 points was not quite enough to overtake Crawley in the silver medal spot but pulled Chichester well clear of the rest.


Senior Men Women

Before the fixture, Chichester’s aim was to keep both the men’s and women’s senior teams in the top flight and despite a weakened men’s squad, they claimed success on both fronts, the women by some margin but the men by the skin of their teeth.


In both cases this was achieved thanks to the youngest members of the senior part of the club with U20’s filling all the top four places in the men’s race and three out of the top four women to finish. First to cross the line for the women was 18-year old Alice Cox-Rusbridge who continued her fine winter season by winning the overall Sussex League title, the club’s only individual gold of the day. Her 15th place overall at Bexhill was runner-up among the U20’s and gave her the Sussex League title from Becky Smart of local club Hastings.


Next home for Chichester was Maggie King, just 16 years old and 5th U17 to finish in 22nd place overall. The surprise of the team was Rachel Laurie in 50th and 5th U20 that gave her a deserved league bronze medal. U23 Sophie Wright closed the scoring team in 56th place to ensure League 1 status next season. Running for an incomplete veteran’s team were Amanda Godfrey in 72nd overall and Sue Baker in 81st.


In the men’s race, Leo Stallard had his best run of the season to finish in 10th place among the seniors closely followed by fellow U20 Ben Morton who had shown his form the previous weekend with a top 100 placing in the British Universities championships in Devon. Two more of Chichester’s U20’s packed well at Bexhill with Brodie Keates in 40th and Oliver Shergold in 60th.


Paul Stallard flew a lone flag for the club’s seniors and veterans in 87th place and despite missing their 6th scorer, Chichester clung on to League safety in 6th place out of the eight top Division teams.


Juniors – U11, U13, U15

There was disappointment for the U13 boys who were lying in bronze medal position before the race but were without two of their top three on the day, both Harvey McGuiness and Fionn O’Murchu not able to run. Hal Edgar led the squad on the day and had an encouraging run in his first race back from injury with 9th place in a good quality field.

The other three Chichester runners all performed with credit and from a club point of view, all three will be in the same age group next season. Josh Dunne led the trio home in 30th, closely followed by Sam Tonks in 32nd and Josh Eaton in 37th. Despite their best efforts, they were just overtaken by a strong Brighton & Hove team to narrowly lose bronze by a mere 14 points over the season.


The club’s U13 girl’s squad has been improving all season and Chichester were able to field two complete teams on Saturday for the first time. Sisters Laila and Lillie Hellyer decided to step up an age group for this fixture from the U11’s having reached their 11th birthday which is the qualifying requirement for the U13 age group. They were rewarded with 15th and 22nd respectively in a strong field with Isabel Isitt completing the “A” team in 30th followed by Grace Eminson in 37th, Gemma Appleton 38th and Marcie Faggetter in 40th for the “B” team.


For the U15’s the girl’s squad was Cerys Dickinson in 14th, Tamsin Anelay in 23rd and Nicole Boltwood 25th with reserve Rose Potter in 29th.


Archie Sadler was the club’s only competitor in the U15 boy’s race and had a good run in 20th while the whole day started as usual with the U11’s with Millie Isitt 14th and Martha Eminson 20th in the girl’s race and Sam Cato 20th in the boy’s race.