CITY of Portsmouth are within touching distance of the Southern Women’s League title.
A side relying on experience over youth dug deep to finish second in their latest clash in Sutton.
That means City remain top of the pile as they count down to the final fixture of the campaign on September 3 in Yeovil.
Veteran athletes made up the bulk of the City side who kept their team in top spot.
Just three of the team were the same from the side who took to National League duty recently for the outfit in Grangemouth.
That is a sign of the depth City are now building, which is delighting those at the club.
Charon Baggaley stood in for regular manager Dave Churcher and was delighted with what she saw.
Baggaley said: ‘This was my first shot as team manager and it was great to do well, particularly with so many athletes absent.
‘I was proud of the way the athletes responded.’
Sam Vaile delivered a captain’s performance as she picked up wins in the 100m, 200m and long jump.
City leaned on throwers Ros Stansbury and Lynn Carey – and they threw down a marker for others to aim for as they picked up a double win in the hammer.
Cecilia Morrison broke her own W70 British veteran’s record in the 3,000m.
A 4x100m win in 54.8sec kept the points coming, with City eventually coming home two points behind Basingstoke and Mid Hants with their 96.5 point return.
City will now hope to name a competitive squad for their final outing as they go for the title.
Churcher praised the team for the typical resilience the athletes showed in the fixture.
He said: ‘I think the team performed with their usual competitive attitude and did extremely well in what was adverse conditions.
‘They came away knowing the team had done the club really proud.’
City stage the final leg of the Promenade 5K series on Wednesday, August 31 before building up to their big race of the year – the Victory 5 on September.
A decent field is already shaping up for the highly-respected race.
Kenyan pair Bernard Chemugo and Dorcus Chesang are both in line to be involved.
The event marks the 65th anniversary of road races being staged by City, with organisers Peter Newton and Gerry North hoping to attract a field of 800 to take part.