Senior Home Internationals Victory
This year the Senior Home Internationals were held in Newborough Forest, Anglesey – location of the 1995 & 2001 British Championships and various other major races since.
The Scottish team selected was the strongest we could assemble despite various call-offs and unavailables. The English team also looked pretty strong – they had managed to get a pretty good turn out of their top runners so it was going to be a tough weekend.
Anyway, to cut to the chase - after a roller coaster of a campaign we came home from Wales with both the Individual and Overall SHI trophies - well done team!
It was a narrow victory in the end but that just makes it all the sweeter (1 point in 50!). 17 out of the 18 in the team scored points over the weekend (and Emma - the 18th - was right behind Claire in the individual and had a coin toss gone the other way could have been in a scoring relay team too) which just goes to show how important it is to have depth and to keep going, no matter how tough it feels - every place matters.
The terrain was forested sand-dunes with the added spice of a large ridge in the middle of the map with many large crags. There were also a few bits of bramble… alright the brambls were horrific in places and merely grim in others, but at least the map had been updated to show them (mostly) correctly and the course planned to avoid the worst patches.
The individual and relay courses were planned by some sadist – 14.7km for M21, 10.5km for W21, 11.3km for M20 and 7.7km for W20 – enough to keep the best orienteers busy for a long time!
The eventual individual result was that Scotland won 3 classes (tying in W20) and were 2nd in the other, so led the overall scoring by 27 to England’s 22.
The relay was again long courses (7.5km and 6.2km). The races developed in a fascinating way with plenty of changes in the lead teams and huge leaps and drops behind as runners struggled with the technical challenges of the intricate sand-dunes and the pressure of racing for their country. However the biggest change was undoubtedly at the end of the second leg the men’s race – Doug T had missed a control and so instead of being in 1st, 4th and 7th the men were 3rd and 6th… not good enough to get sufficient points. However heroics from Spongey (injured the previous day and not planning to run) and Murray meant we ended up with 2nd and 4th – just enough points – phew! The women likewise kept in touch (apart from the stacked English team) and finished 2nd and 5th. The relay scores ended up being England 27, Scotland 23… a victory margin that was close, but sufficient ;-)
It would be diificult to pick out the performances of the weekend for fear of offending someone by missing them out, but here goes anyway:
- Spongey, for his resurrection from the dead to push GG all the way in the relay.
- Jenny and Sasha for their 20 individual wins
- Claire and Emma for answering their Nation's call and stepping up from W18 to some of the longest W20 & SHI relay courses I can remember. Great work!
- Jamie, for the fastest 2nd leg despite thinking he had no one to hand over to.
- Sasha again, for (a) not recognising Kris Jones in the individual and trying to burn him off, then (b) pushing the same KJ all the way in the relay.
Also many thanks to all the team for being such an easy group to work with - turning up on time, answering queries and just generally getting on with the job.
Finally, thanks also to Hollie for doing all the pre-weekend co-ordination despite not competing herself.
Murray Strain/Jon Musgrave