West Sussex Gazette

Cross-country runners happy to be back in Goodwood action Country park hosts first Sussex League meeting for 18 months

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The opening fixture in the new Sussex Cross Country League season took place at the picturesqu­e Goodwood course – and the most frequent comment of the day was: “It is good to be back.”

Though a few experiment­al cross country races were held a year ago with limited fields and staggered starts, this was the first staging of a proper cross country league fixture for 18 months.

Chichester Runners & AC, hosts for the fixture, were uncertain how many athletes clubs would to muster but there were nearly 600 runners of all ages from under-11s through to senior and veterans.

More than 50 from Chichester lined up with a number of top 10 individual placings as well as great team results.

Under-11s, 13s and 15s

In the junior age groups there were two stand-out clubs in action – Brighton & Hove again showed they are a force to be reckoned with in Sussex but from their showing, Chichester will be hot on their heels.

In all six junior races, there were encouragin­g signs that hard work in training looks to have paid off.

The under-11s ran a 2000m course and Daisy Hillyer was soon battling in the front group of the girls’ race.

She finished third with clubmates Grace Frith and Ella Franklin 21st and 23rd.

Ivo Edgar finished ninth in the boys’ race backed up by Toby Lane in 13th, Freddie Gay 17th, Joe Stewart 19th and Eden Winstanley 22nd.

For the under 13s, at the end of their first short 1k lap, Chichester had five runners in the top 20. As the race moved into the 2k second lap, it was clear the Chichester girls were moving up the field and a fine finish enabled Molly Smithers and Elodie Hill to finish fifth and sixth.

The third scorer was Iona Sherwood who snatched 12th with Rose Pemberton one place behind Grace Haworth 17th.

Teamwise, Chichester lie in a comfortabl­e third place, just behind leaders Crawley and Brighton & Hove. The under-13 boys’ race was also exciting with a group of four establishi­ng themselves at the front of the race with a clear gap.

Chichester and Brighton both had two in the leading quartet with Stanley Wilkes and Matthew

Mainwaring running stride for stride with their rivals.

The Brighton boys just pulled clear over the final 400m but Wilkes and Mainwaring took the next two places with Harry Dunne (16th) bringing the team home for a score of 23 points in a clear second place.

There was an impressive showing from the B team led home by Oscar Cairns in 21st followed by Kai Lendrum in 24th and Daniel Ellis 29th with Eden MacDonald providing good backup in 41st.

Chichester also shone in the under-15 races with Ela Pemberton in the leading pack in the opening stages of the 4k race.

At the finish Pemberton was clear in third with Anya Barrett 16th and Millie Isiit 29th to leave the club in fourth place.

The boys’ under-15s knew they would have to fight hard to fill the gaps left by key absences. In the event they did the club proud to leave Chichester in touch with the rest of the field for the remainder of the season. Ben Ward was first home in 13th with Ollie Meaby and Sam Cato 36th and 37th and Monty Hill providing good back up in 45th.

PHIL BAKER

 ?? ?? The seniors tackle the Goodwood course in the Sussex Cross Country League fixture
Picture: Lee Hollyer
The seniors tackle the Goodwood course in the Sussex Cross Country League fixture Picture: Lee Hollyer

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