Underdogs triumph in county championships

Joseph Brown wins the intermediate javelin event. Picture: Allan Hutchings (131554-017)
Joseph Brown wins the intermediate javelin event. Picture: Allan Hutchings (131554-017)
Runners stream past HMS Victory in the Historic Dockyard

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Gosport & Fareham delivered for the underdogs at another memorable Hampshire Schools’ Championships.

Hundreds of the county’s top athletics talents descended on the Mountbatten Centre for an excellent day of action on Saturday.

They didn’t disappoint as the competition saw local talent impress on the big stage.

And there was the sight of Isle of Wight discus thrower Nick Percy obliterating the county record by 13m as he underlined his status as one of the world’s best talents.

But it was also an event to savour for a host of promising competitors featuring for local associations.

Gosport & Fareham chalked up a number of successes on a day of fine results for them.

A string of wins were chalked up by their athletes in the junior section.

Maisie Grice shone as a bottom year entry as she won the 800m in 2min 28.2sec.

She was joined as a junior winner by team-mates Katya Oldfield in the high jump (1m 66cm), Chandler Harris in the javelin (39.19) and shot putters Mille Cavanagh (11.15) and Sam Wellington (13.06).

Cameron Dawson was an intermediate boys winner in the long jump (6.04), while JJ Crookes also delivered for Gosport & Fareham in the triple jump (13.07).

Lauren McCarthy underlined her fast-emerging talent with a win in the 3,000m (11.00.1).

Portsmouth also had their moments with Thomas Miller a winner in the 80m hurdles (12.1) in the junior category and Joseph Brown a clear winner in the intermediate boys’ javelin (53.7).

Aaron Grimshaw stepped up for South East Hants as he won the junior boys’ 200m – a second clear of his nearest rival in 24.7.

Josh Mazas chalked up a junior win in the triple jump (11.30), while Leslie Parkes won the inter boys’ hammer (55.29) and Matt Smith delivered in the 1,500m.

Devon Brimecome continued to show her quality with a win in the 300m hurdles (48.2), while City of Portsmouth’s Michael Muckelt was a senior South East Hants winner in the javelin with a 52.72 throw.

Many of the winners can be delighted with the county title but others will be using the event as a stepping stone to more success at inter-county level in Basingstoke this weekend and next month’s English Schools’ Championships.

Hampshire Schools’ Athletics Association secretary, Geoff Cunliffe, was impressed with what he saw from outfits like Gosport & Fareham, who possess fewer resources than many of their rivals.

He said: ‘We had around 660 entries and we are happy with how the day went. It went fine.

‘The track competition was weak because of the weather, the wind, it was very, very blustery.

‘The sprinters were going into a 4m/s wind, so it’s not good for them but the field eventers did really well.

‘I thought some of the smaller associations punched above their weight

‘Gosport & Fareham have seven schools. Aldershot have 24 and Eastleigh and Winchester have 22 or 23. There’s a complete imbalance.

‘They are punching well above their weight with their team finishes.

‘This means a lot to the athletes and this day will be the highlight of their athletics careers.

‘For others it will be the inter-counties, others the schools and for Nick Percy it will be the worlds.’

Spectators were handed a treat as they saw Percy hurl a huge new record in the discus.

The 18-year-old showed he is destined for great things as he delivered a performance which highlighted why he is seen as one of the world’s most promising performers in his event.

Cunliffe said: ‘Nick Percy’s discus throw was the highlight of the meeting. He threw 60m 37cm.

‘His best this season is 62m and the English Schools record held by Laurence Okoye, who was in London last year, is 61.5m.

‘So that shows the quality of the performance and is the stand out.

‘That was the highlight of a good meeting which went very well.’