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XC in the sunshine at Popham – 6 December 2014 

Ian Kennedy reports from the Hampshire League XC race.


The airfield windsock shows the benign conditions as Abbie and Beth skirt the
woods in the under-13s race

The cold biting wind that seems to be ever-present at Popham was, this year, notable by its absence. Indeed, for most of the meeting we enjoyed some winter sunshine. From a spectating point of view this is a good course where it’s easy to watch the race unfold. A few of our regular racers were unavailable, despite that, we still had almost 30 runners competing.

Our first out there were the under-13 girls. The team was led home by Bethanie Kingswell-Farr on this occasion, with Abbie Lovering in close proximity. Securing the other point scoring position was the rapidly improving Holly Nixon. Our team was completed by Fern Morrison and Isabelle Kingswell-Farr. The team came 7th on the day, which equals their best performance this season. We lie in the 7th place in the league table after three meetings.

Max Meadwell treated us to another top 10 finish in the under-13 boys’ race (6th), his second in succession. Max got good support from Tom Morrison who is coming under pressure from his team-mate Zach Fenwick. Zach’s improvement in performance since the previous Hampshire race was considerable. We needed all three runners to score, and they put in the best team result of the season so far in this age-group (6th). We are also 6th in the league, with City of Portsmouth just ahead of us – and catchable!

Once again our under-15 girls team was led home by Grace Copeland. Grace didn’t have it all her own way this time, as she had to settle for second place behind Josie Czura of City of Portsmouth. Both Grace and Josie had raced the previous weekend and it was clear they were both in great form. It’s fantastic when you can compete against some of the best in the country in one of your own local leagues. A brace of Lucys (Ballam and Anderson) came in the other scoring positions, with the team completed by Elise Gill. Lucy B got yet another top 10 finish, 3 out of 3 so far, and Lucy A was only just outside the top 20. It was another good team score – 4th. Our consistency over the three meetings means that we are second in the league. As individuals Grace is top of the averages, whilst Lucy B is in 6th place.

Tom Bourne led the reds home in the under-15 boys;’ race, although by his recent very high standards he’ll be a little bit disappointed with his 7th place. Tom got excellent back-up from his team mates. There were particularly impressive performances in the two point scoring positions – from Joe Kelliher and Michael Johnson. Dan Baynham also improved, finishing in his highest HXC position so far this season. The team came 4th on the day, equaling the excellent result at Goodwood – although that was achieved with different personnel. Tom is in 2nd place in the season’s averages overall.

We’ve been a bit thin on the ground in the under-17 women’s age-group in the Hampshire’s this season – to say the least! Until this meeting Abbie Hine had been our only racer. This time she had company, with the welcome return to HXC action of Maddie Williams. Both ran impressively. Abbie got her third top 10 finish of the season, with a season’s best 8th. Maddie looked really strong, and she came in a battling 15th position. Abbie lies in 9th place in the season’s averages.

In the under-17 men’s race Piers’ run of good results continued here with a season’s best 9th place finish. Sam Davies was our only other runner in the age-group … and his 26th shows significant progress since the start of the season. Piers and Jason Sotheran (who didn’t compete at Popham) share 12th place in the averages for this age-group.

Our senior men’s team was missing this season’s regular spearhead. With Ryan Walbridge ill, it was Mark Copeland who led the team home. Support came from Pete Kingswell-Farr, who was next in. The outstanding run from a WAC senior came from Richard Davies who improved dramatically on his performance at Goodwood. Completing the team and securing the final scoring positions were Paul Hine and Ian Kennedy.

WACers times and results were:

Under-13 girls (77 finishers) – 7th team

17 – Bethanie Kingswell-Farr – 11:59
21 – Abbie Lovering – 12:02
36 – Holly Nixon – 12:22
61 – Fern Morrison – 13:29
77 – Isabelle Kingswell-Farr – 15:36

Under-13 boys (72 finishers) – 6th team

6 – Max Meadwell – 10:48
36 – Tom Morrison – 11:59
38 – Zach Fenwick – 12:09

Under-15 girls (64 finishers) – 4th team

2 – Grace Copeland – 13:45
9 – Lucy Ballam – 14:45
22 – Lucy Anderson – 15:42
64 – Elise Gill – 23:05

Under-15 boys (56 finishers) – 4th team

7 – Tom Bourne – 12:54
16 – Joe Keliher – 13:29
25 – Michael Johnson – 13:53
34 – Dan Baynham – 14:33

Under-17 women (30 finishers)

8 – Abbie Hine – 20:49
15 – Maddie Williams – 22:07

Under-17 men (37 finishers)

9 – Piers Copeland – 17:22
26 – Sam Davies – 19:27

Senior Men (256 finishers) 8th team in Div. 2

139 – Mark Copeland – 40:11
184 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 43:07
213 – Richard Davies – 45:59
228 – Paul Hine – 47:48
247 – Ian Kennedy – 54:15

Full results for the Hampshire League will be found at



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