Wimborne Athletic Club

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It’s muddy, wet and windy, it’s Hampshire XC! – 7 November 2015

       Ian Kennedy reports from Popham

Miss P in the swamp!

Early cross-country races had almost felt like summer events so far this season … it all changed at Popham.  We’ve travelled to this venue a number of times over the years; it’s an exposed spot and has a reputation for being bitterly cold.  The temperatures held up reasonably well, but we had strong winds and significant rainfall to contend with.  I’ve never seen the ground so waterlogged at Popham.

The red army was a little depleted by recent standards for a variety of reasons.  Amongst them was that there was no U11s race, and three of our elite runners – Grace and Piers Copeland, and Tom Bourne – were competing in the British Cross Challenge in Milton Keynes (where the weather was equally filthy).  Grace had a great day coming third in her age-group, with Tom and Piers coming 7th and 14th respectively in theirs.

We opened our account at Popham in the U13 girls’ race.  Frustratingly we were one runner short of a full team.  Abbie Lovering, as she has done in each race so far, led our U13 girls’ team home.  After two races she is ranked 7th overall in the HXC.  Support this time around came from Charlotte Piper in her first Hampshire race this term.

It was Charlie Davies who led our U13 boys home, after two fine performances in the Wessex League over the preceding two weekends.  Our other two point scorers – Tom Fuller and Josh Jack – were just five seconds apart.  For Josh this was a significant improvement on the performances in the Wessex League meetings.  Completing our team was Jack Moss-Willcox.  All our boys finished comfortably in the top half of the field.  They were 8th team on the day and lie in 5th position in the league after two meetings (ahead of quite a few of the league’s bigger clubs including Southampton, Basingstoke, Winchester, Portsmouth, Camberley and Reading).

Even with Grace competing at the British Cross Challenge our U15 girls’ team had a solid look about it.  Hannah Slater led our girls home, and our other point scorers were Anna Kelliher and Caitlin Rogers who were only two seconds apart.  For Caitlin this was the sort of result that has looked likely, based on what we’d seen in training, and it represents a big step forward for her.  The team was completed by Beth and Izzie Kingswell-Farr.  Beth’s was a brave run; she was only 20 seconds down on Anna and Caitlin despite the return of the problem with her hip.  Not even running uphill into the wind with the rain pouring down can remove the smile from Izzie K-F’s face when she is cross-countrying.  We’ve got a good team in this age-group, and after two races they are 4th place in the league.

There are some talented U15 boys too, but not too many of them, so we need more to be available in order to achieve anything in the Hampshires as a team.  Once again it was down to Michael Johnson and Elliott Symes to do the business.  Both of them improved on their positions from race 1. These guys need a bit more support though.

Our U17 men’s team was severely depleted.  As mentioned earlier, Piers and Tom were at the British Cross Challenge, Sam Davies is still recuperating after a course of antibiotics, and Matt Yates and Edward Dart were unavailable.  This left Joey Kelliher out there on his own.  He wasn’t able to show his best form as he also is struggling with an injury, a trip to the physio is pending this week.  In spite of that he did a solid job.

The Wimborne U17 women’s race was a happier story.  Once again we didn’t have enough for a complete team, however, the two women we did have produced something special.  Lucy Ballam ran what may be her best cross-country race so far to claim 4th place.  She really got amongst the league’s elite and claimed some big scalps.  The big brave heart of Maddie Williams rose to the occasion in filthy conditions, surely one of her finest XC races for the club … and she’s done many.

For the men, Ryan Walbridge, as he’s done all season, led the team home.  He did it in some style, 30 places ahead of where he finished in race 1, and quite possibly his best race yet as a senior.  Steve Wyatt was next in (our first veteran), also around 30 places up on where he had been at Farley Mount.  Making his first HXC appearance this season was Kerry Mapp, and the team was completed by Paul Hine and Richard Davies.  They all scored valuable team points.  Our men’s team are in Division 3, and we were best team in that division on the day.  Combined with our placing of 2nd in the first race, we are currently league leaders.  We are a Division 1 team in the veterans’ category and we’re doing OK there too at present.

The next Hampshire League meeting is much closer to home – King’s Park, Bournemouth on Saturday 5 December.  Hopefully we’ll see a return to the larger numbers we’ve enjoyed at the other XC meetings this season.


Full results from the Hampshire League will be found at http://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/events/hxcl.html



U13 girls – 78 runners

7 – Abbie Lovering – 12:32
36 – Charlotte Piper – 14:07

U13 boys – 8th team – 108 runners

11 – Charlie Davies – 11:43
30 – Tom Fuller – 12:23
35 – Josh Jack – 12:28
41 – Jack Moss-Willcox – 12:45

U15 girls – 6th team – 69 runners

17 – Hannah Slater – 16:17
25 – Anna Kelliher – 16:45
26 – Caitlin Rogers – 16:47
33 – Beth Kingswell-Farr – 17:07
52 – Izzie Kingswell-Farr – 18:22

U15 boys – 68 runners

15 – Michael Johnson – 14:50
35 – Elliott Symes – 15:26

U17 women – 35 runners

4 – Lucy Ballam – 21:54
13 – Maddie Williams – 23:09

U17 men – 35 runners

21 – Joey Kelliher – 20:27

Senior men – 1st team Div. 3, 9th Vets Div 1 team – 32 runners

46 – Ryan Walbridge – 38:53 (12th U20)
90 – Steve Wyatt – 41:15
183 – Kerry Mapp – 47:27
228 – Paul Hine – 52:30
230 – Richard Davies – 53:01

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