Senior Home Internationals 2012

This year’s SHI was held on home soil in bonny Perthshire and proved to be a successful weekend for team Scotland. We entered the weekend full of confidence after last years’ success and fielded a close to full strength team including four of this years’ WOC team.

The relay was held on the Saturday in the ever tough Craig a Barns. Planner Ewan McCarthy had devised some great courses which were challenging and well gaffled, while avoiding the windblow and providing good spectator value. First came the men and Scotland decided to put the young guns off first sending out our 3 M20s into battle. However, it wasn’t plain sailing as Kris Jones and SHI stalwart Nick Barrable set the pace for Wales and England to put some clear air between them and the rest of the field. Jamie Stevenson ran a solid leg for Scotland, losing the leaders after a mistake in the middle section, but picking up and coming in 3rd, 2mins down. Three Irish teams then packed in a further 2mins back in an early show of strength. Andrew Lindsay and Tim Gomersall came in a few minutes further back with Tim suffering after a big miss at no. 6 and Andrew making a couple of errors, but both holding it together to give their teams a chance. On second leg, Mark Nixon carried on his good form to take the lead for the first team while Alan Cherry and James Tullie battered round the forest together and picked up a few places. Hector Haines took over from Mark and set out with a narrow lead, and despite a 2min miss, didn’t really give England a sniff of the win. Coming off the back of a training camp in Finland he showed what good shape he’s in at the moment. The English team of Barrable/Felbaum/Nixon came in 2nd followed by a popular 3rd for the Welsh with Jones/Mitchell/Findlay-Robinson. Doug Tullie had a strong run to take the quickest leg time by 2min and overhauled Peter Bray of England at the last control to take 4th. Oleg Chepelin brought the final team home in 7th not far behind Ireland.

The Scottish ladies were led off by Jo Shepherd, Kirsten Maxwell and 1st leg specialist Kirsten Strain. Jo Shepherd set the pace for much of the leg until she missed on the last control and the consistent Toni O-Donovan for Ireland nipped ahead and came back in the lead, closely followed by Kirsten Strain. Jo then came home close behind in third with Kirstin Maxwell making a few errors but still coming home in 7th. 2nd leg was the Hollie Orr show, as she powered through the whole field jumping from 7th into the lead. Behind Hollie, Fiona Berrow and Rona Lindsay ran solidly to finish close to the leading English team and set their last leg runners in an exciting battle for the medals. On the last leg, Claire Ward took the mantle from Hollie, and with it a lead that was never likely to be threatened. She ran well, setting the quickest leg time of the day in the process and brought the Scottish girls home to a well deserved victory by 4mins. Behind Claire there was a close battle for the remaining medals with England’s Bex Harding (of EUOC) running well and holding the Scottish girls just at arms length. Jess Tullie ran well in her first SHI as a Tullie to come home third, with Jo Stevenson returning from Sweden for the SHI coming home 4th. A good day in Craig a Barns for team Scotland, and a big thanks to Ewan, Linnea, Lorna, Bill S, Robin, Sheila, Bill M and Caroline for making the event happen on the day. Also a big thank you to Colin for being the pre-race controller, Ted Finch for producing the labels, Jon Musgrave for making some map changes and Clive Masson for his advice on which parts of the forest to use. A very high quality relay from a small team!

The teams stayed in Pitlochry and had the traditional evening meal together where huge quantities of pasta and cake were consumed. More thanks to Lorna and all the Scottish team for doing all the setting up, clearing away and of course cake baking! Some team members did their best to finish all the vast quantities of cake, eating rumour has it nine pieces….D Tullie! Does this mean results reflect cake consumption?!

The individual took place at Errochty at the Scottish O League event hosted by STAG. This provided a proper test of tough Scottish orienteering for the athletes and the Scottish team rose to the challenge. W20 saw a convincing win for Jo Shepherd, with new Edinburgh student Katie Reynolds taking an impressive second for Wales. Kirstin Maxwell took the bronze medal and had it not been for one big mistake would have been closer to Jo and Rona Lindsay came home 6th. It’s worth noting that several Scottish W18s running the SOL showed up well – good news for the future!

M20 saw an English win for Jonathon Crickmore with Jamie Stevenson continuing his good form to take second for Scotland. Aidan Smith of England completed the top three. Tim Gomersall and Andrew Lindsay took 5th and 7th respectively with solid runs.
W21 saw another win for the dominant Claire Ward, which caps off a great season for the Edinburgh based athlete. Heather Gardner took second for England, just two minutes behind and Bex Harding picked up another medal in third place. Jess Tullie finished close behind in 4th with Kirsten Strain showing good form on the hills in 6th. Hollie Orr used some choice words to describe her performance but Glasgow’s finest still took 7th, with Fiona Berrow and Jo Stevenson taking 10th and 14th respectively.

M21 saw impressive performances from the pre race favourites Doug Tullie and Hector Haines with Doug taking the win in 77mins with Hector less than a minute down (Doug proving anyone can recover from doing a 180 out of the start!). Kris Jones took third for Wales in a good day for the Welsh which saw them secure third overall in front of the Irish. Mark Nixon took 4th, with Oleg Chepelin 6th, James Tullie 8th and Alan Cherry 12th. Ewan McCarthy’s wee trot round in a decent time didn’t go unnoticed either.

So Scotland secured the SHI title for another year, taking the win with a grand total of 55 points. England were second with 44 points, Wales third with 28 and Ireland 4th with 22.

So what more is there to say…another enjoyable SHI and two great days racing. Thanks to STAG for putting on a top event at Errochty, Lorna Eades for coordinating the whole weekend and a big thanks to all the home nations competitors for turning up and running hard.
Bring on 2013 in Ireland!

James Tullie

Results table