SEDS

Scottish Elite
Development Squad

Scotland victorious on home soil!

The Team

Scotland win the Senior Home International 2014
The last week has seen some great races in Scotland and the home nations took advantage of these to hold the Senior Home Internationals.

Over the first weekend the first ever Sprint Home International was held, with combined times of 4 runners each day deciding the overall scores. We fielded an exceptionally strong team and were rewarded with an outright victory over the 2 races in Edinburgh and Stirling. Hollie helped secure the win with podium finishes both days as did Scott in the men's class. These 2 were backed up by strong performances from Claire, Kirstin, Hector and Murray.

We took advantage of the WOC training camp and held a SEDS camp based in Deeside for the week until we were next ready to do battle. The Home International uses points from M/W20 and M/W21 in the individual race and from the relay to calculate the overall winning nation. Balmoral was the scene for the individual and this got the team fired up. We were lucky enough to be staying on the estate itself so just needed to roll out of bed in time to warm up to the start! We were expecting the courses to be tough and thought this would count in our favour as we have many training weekends in tough Scottish forests. The M20's were first up and all 3 were new to the team. These boys showed real strength to tough it out in the forest and packed in in 2nd, 3rd and 4th position (Sasha, Chris and Josh). In the W20's, it was time for Jenny to shine with a hard earned 3rd position, not far behind the stars from England. Scotland had had 2 late changes to the M21 team, with both Scott and Oleg having to pull out due to illness. The strength in depth we have in Scotland showed when we still managed to have all 6 of our runners (and our next reserve...) beating all of the English team! Nick Simonin from Ireland slightly spoilt the party by storming round to take the individual Gold, less than a minute ahead of Hector. In the W21 class, the battle was closer, with Scotland just edging out on top after strong runs from both Claire and Hollie to take 1st and 3rd position. The courses suited our strength, with everyone coping well in what proved to be a tough forest.

In the evening, all teams assembled at Balmoral again for a top notch hog roast, prize giving and ceilidh. I have to admit that the ceilidh dancing wasn't quite as energetic as normal, something we should blame the orienteering for!!

With 6 quality relay teams excited about the day ahead, team Scotland slept pretty soundly next door to the Queen. We had an advantage over the other teams going into the relay, but with 2 of England's strongest runners unable to complete on Saturday, but sure to be fired up for the relay, we still had a big job on our hands. Off to Forvie in the morning and the usual small relay event that we're used to had changed with the abundance of foreign teams. This added an extra dimension to the race. We mostly opted for our M/W20's to go on first leg (except for a couple of instances where the reverse seemed to be more favourable) and this worked incredibly well, especially for the boys. Sasha and Chris brought back their teams within spitting distance of the top teams. England hadn't had such a good time on first leg, so things were looking good with our strength in the M21's. Hector and Ali in the 1st team proved that Balmoral hadn't tired them out enough, both storming round the 7.2km course to bring the team home in Gold medal position in the home nations and only just behind two international teams. Graham Gristwood for England showed that he had a point to prove after losing his SI card during yesterday's race and overtook Murray on last leg, posting the second fastest time of the day. In the girls race, we were a little more nervous, with England putting out 2 strong teams and an illness in the camp that weakened our 20s. Jenny and Rona had solid runs on leg one to send out Claire and Jo at similar times. These 2 worked well together to post some good times, but unfortunately there were 2 England teams out infront with a gap that was looking a little large. Jess and Hollie went out on last leg with Helen Palmer for Wales. At the time, it looked like they might both need to beat Helen in order for the team to take the overall victory. After the first few controls, it became apparrent that the Scottish girls still had the legs on them afer yesterday's tough battle and all they needed to do was have a clean race. Hollie managed this and brought her team home into 3rd place. Jess has a wobble near the end, but still managed to comfortably hold on and finish in 4th.

Relay RouteGadget

The calculations were done and it emerged that England had won the relay day by 1 point over Scotland. Thankfully the day before had given us enough of a lead to take the overall title. What a great feeling to take the win on home soil against one of the strongest teams that England have fielded for a long time. The camaraderie amongst the Scottish team is incredible and we're all thrilled to have won this weekend. The next training weekend has been planned and this has been a perfect start to an exciting year for Scottish orienteering.

All the results can be found here: www.racethecastles.com

A massive thanks to everyone within Scottish Orienteering that made the events happen.

Jess Tullie

Senior Home Internationals Results

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