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Battling the elements at Goodwood – HXC – 8 November 2014  

Ian Kennedy reports from the Hampshire League XC race.


Mark Copeland in the wooded section at Goodwood

Goodwood provides a challenging course at the best of times, but high up on the Downs, once you’ve added high winds it raises the degree difficulty more than somewhat.  Any doubts about whether WACers were up for a challenge or not were soon dispelled once the races got underway! Once again we had good numbers of runners. On the drive over to Goodwood we hit torrential rain on the motorway, but by the time we got to the venue the rain had stopped and it was just the full-on wind we had to deal with. (The rain did return with venom during the final stages of the last race of the day however.)

In the under-13 girls race Abbie Lovering soon had us cheering when an excellent top 10 finish was secured – her best Hampshire League performance yet. There was good support too from Beth Kingswell-Farr, Anna Kelliher (her first Hampshire League race) and Jess Bourne. Completing the under-13 girls team, and making a significant improvement on her performance in Race 1 was Fern Morrison. The girls finished 8th team on the day and lie in 7th place overall with two meetings completed.

More excitement followed in the under-13 boys race. Max Meadwell has looked super-sharp in training recently and he claimed a superb 6th place. Surely this is Max’s best race as a WACer so far! A good solid performance from the more experienced Tom Morrison saw him as our next runner home, but an impressive run from Charlie Davies put him only 15 seconds behind Tom! Jack Moss-Willcox and Zac Fenwick came in close together, with Jack just getting ahead of his team mate this time around. As a team we improved on the 10th we got in the first meeting to 7th. This also puts us 7th in the overall standings after two races. Meanwhile, even though Max has only raced once in the Hampshire League this season he finds himself ranked in the top 10 for his age-group.

We looked forward to the under-15 girls with anticipation after the heroics at Farley Mount in Race 1. We were not to be disappointed. Grace Copeland ran a tactically brilliant race to claim her second Hampshire win of the season, while Lucy Ballam finished even better-placed than in her first race. Lucy Anderson’s rock solid performance ensured that we emulated the fabulous result we secured at Farley Mount. Elise Gill completed our under-15 girls for the day. The team finished 2nd on the day, and lie in equal 1st place overall with Aldershot, Farnham & District after two races, ahead of a chasing pack. Grace is top of the individual averages in this age-group, with Lucy B also in the top 10.

The under-15 boys’ race was an interesting one. We lost two of our star performers to knee injuries. Liam Murphy-Parry pulled out first thing on Saturday morning, whilst Joey Kelliher travelled hopefully but during warm up it was clear that he was not fit enough to compete either. Joey showed maturity beyond his years by not lining up at the start. Added to this our top u15b – Tom Bourne – had been troubled with tight hamstrings for the preceding week. This inhibited his performance on the day and he had to settle for 4th place – he had won Race 1. So surely the overall team performance was bound to suffer? Not a bit of it, the rest of the team really stepped up to the plate with improved performances. Michael Johnson was next in and had one of his best runs, and Matt Yates and Elliott Symes in close proximity to each other seem to be spurring each other on to improved performances too. The team improved significantly from the 7th place they recorded in Race 1 to 4th place in Race 2. What might they have achieved with a fully-fit full-strength team? Tom Bourne is top of the individual averages and the team lie in 5th place after two meetings.  Exciting times for this Wimborne age-group.

Things were a little quieter in the under-17 women’s race as we fielded only one runner – Abbie Hine. Abbie once again claimed a top 10 finish, and statistically her performance was the most improved female performance (compared to Race 1) in the whole squad (incidently her dad, Paul, can make that claim in the male category).

There was plenty to get excited about in the under-17 men’s race with Jason and Sotheran and Piers Copeland duking it out. In the early stages Jason was right up with the leaders, and Piers was hanging on to the back of the lead group. As the race developed, Piers got stronger as Jason started to fade. This set up a grandstand finish between the pair of them, with Piers edging it, although they were credited with the same time. Setting up that contest was a big improvement in Piers’ form since the first race of the season. Tom Boulton completed our under-17 men’s team with a statistically improved performance in 46th. For the second race in row the team came 6th, whilst in the individual standings Jason is in the top 10.

Although we have got a pool of runners plenty big enough to field a full team of women, we have managed it only once in four attempts so far this season. Our women’s team was a youthful one, with both our runners under-20s. Charlotte Bourne was first red home, with support from Becca Skeats.

Unusually we had failed to field a full men’s team at Farley Mount. This was put right at Goodwood. Ryan Walbridge is relishing leading the men’s team home this season. He did it again with an improved performance. Next in, not unexpectedly was Mark Copeland and behind Mark we saw two of our biggest improvers – Pete Kingswell-Farr and Paul Hine. Richard Davies was next in, and the team was rounded out by Simon Bourne, competing in his first cross-country race for some time, it was great to welcome him back.

It had been a pretty good day, Max’s and Abbie’s performances in the under-13s races were particularly noteworthy. As usual there were plenty of thrills in the under-15s too, two great team performances and of course another fine win from Grace.

WACers times and results were:

Under-13 girls (75 finishers) – 8th team

10 – Abbie Lovering – 12:32
31 – Bethanie Kingswell-Farr – 13:11
42 – Anna Kelliher – 13:39
45 – Jessica Bourne – 13:43
54 – Fern Morrison – 14:13

Under-13 boys (72 finishers) 7th team

6 – Max Meadwell – 11:16
35 – Tom Morrison – 12:29
44 – Charlie Davies – 12:44
63 – Jack Moss-Wilcox – 13:40
64 – Zac Fenwick – 13:46

Under-15 girls (72 finishers) 2nd team

1 – Grace Copeland – 14:32
7 – Lucy Ballam – 15:47
19 – Lucy Anderson – 16:31
72 – Elise Gill – 24:00

Under-15 boys (53 finishers) 4th team

4 – Tom Bourne – 14:40
23 – Michael Johnson – 16:15
28 – Matt Yates – 16:33
30 – Elliott Symes – 16:50

Under-17 women (33 finishers)

10 – Abbie Hine – 17:27

Under-17 men (46 finishers) – 6th team

14 – Piers Copeland – 16:29
15 – Jason Sotheran – 16:29
46 – Tom Boulton – 24:51

Senior women (152 finishers)

71 – Charlotte Bourne – 26:06  (26th of 40 in u20)
125 – Becca Skeats – 30:45 (37th u20)

Senior Men (241 finishers) 6th team in Div. 2

50 – Ryan Walbridge – 31:31 (13th of 27 u20)
132 – Mark Copeland – 35:57
163 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 38:05
213 – Paul Hine – 41:56
216 – Richard Davies – 42:14
230 – Simon Bourne – 44:46

Full results for the Hampshire League will be found at





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