Wimborne Athletic Club

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Hampshire XC League – Popham – 1 December 2012

Three more podiums as our boys’ teams come good.

It was the first day of December, and although the sun was shining the temperature had dropped and the wide open spaces of Popham airfield presented a chilly arena for our cross-country racers.

As usual the under-13 girls got us underway, and as usual Grace Copeland delivered a performance to lift the spirit. Kirsty Walker (Reading) and Josie Czura (Portsmouth) broke away from the field, but leading the charge some 17 seconds back was Grace claiming her third podium finish in as many Hampshire League races. These three athletes are clear ahead of their rivals in this age-group and, for sure, it looks as though the medals at the end of season will be divided up between them. Grace’s lone team-mate in this age-group was, once again, Elise Gill, an ever-present in her debut season, keep up the good work girls and hopefully we can find that elusive third runner so we can record some team scores in the Hampshire League this season.

Matt Yates – making a big contribution to the U13Bs team in his rookie season

Team performance of the day undoubtedly came from our under-13 boys who were led home by Tom Bourne, who is having a magnificent season. Tom claimed second place, as every race looks stronger than the one before it, surely it is only a matter of time before Tom becomes a HXC winner. As impressive, are the improvements in performances of his team-mates. Matt Yates has improved his scores in the Hampshire League with each race – 31st, 26th and this time 19th. Tom Stokes similarly has improved significantly –  42nd at Goodwood became 29th at Popham. These factors combined to land us third place in the team category – only Reading and Aldershot, Farnham & District outscored us. This meant that our boys beat some much bigger clubs. Here are some of the big scalps they claimed – Winchester, Southampton, Portsmouth, Andover, Basingstoke and Camberley. We haven’t yet managed to field our strongest possible under-13 boys team, but can you imagine what the two Toms and Matt, supplemented with Liam Murphy-Parry and Elliott Symes might be capable of as a team!

There was more to cheer us in the under-15 girls race too. The team was made up of the usual suspects – Abbie Hine, Maddie Williams and Ella Hearne. The progress since the start of the season has been steady, Abbie and Maddie have bettered their scores each time they have run in the Hampshires in 2012/3, and Ella, having improved in the second time, equalled what she did last time out. This means that the team scores have steadily improved from 9th, to 8th, to 6th – good progress.

In the under-15 boys race we had another complete team, they came an excellent fourth, and this included having two finishers in the top ten. Going into the hairpin with about 1000m to go, it looked like we were about to witness Jason Sotheran’s first Hampshire race win – he looked so strong. It wasn’t to be, Jason was pipped by George Butler of Southampton. However, Jason’s rate of progress is so great (in his first HXC race this season he came 11th) that only a fool would discount the possibility of him claiming a win in one of the remaining Hampshire fixtures this season. Piers recorded his third top ten finish this season and bringing in the important third position to secure team points was Tom Boulton. As with the under-13 boys’ team we still haven’t fielded our strongest team, getting Joe Miles and Ollie Davies in the mix would make a big difference.

Another good team score came in the under-17 women’s race – 4th. Sharon Hutchings, as is almost always the case, led the team home, but Charlotte Bourne’s improving form means that this is no longer a foregone conclusion. Becca ‘Scooter’ Skeats had her best race of the season yet and this contributed to the team’s improving fortunes.

Ryan Walbridge and Josh Downie competed in the under-17s race – we need one more runner to start recording team scores, there are signs that help may be on the way too. Josh is in his first season with us, and up until now each time he has raced he has improved. This time it was different and neither Josh or Ryan were able to improve on previous Hampshire performances.

After encouraging signs at Salisbury in the Wessex, our women’s team was once more depleted, back to one – the indefatigable Lynn Hutchings. Our recent recruits were running through mud and cold water in ‘The Grim’ that was taking place over the same weekend. Lynn may have been out there on her own, but she did us proud, significantly improving on her run at Goodwood last time out.

The final race of the day was the senior men’s race. After the previous meeting we found ourselves top of Division Two. A concerted effort was made to field the strongest team possible. We did pretty well, only Colin Read from the five who bagged the points for us at Goodwood was unavailable. For the third race in a row the team were led in by Callum Kennedy, with support from Graeme Furley. Next in were two of our big improvers – Steve Wyatt and Tjiwolt Wierda. The scrap for the final team scoring position was a good one – between Baz and Mark Copeland. John Hutchings, Ian Kennedy, Gerry Hutchings and Pete Kingswell-Farr completed our team on the day. The team scored a pretty respectable 419 points, in our first race we scored 455 pts and that was good enough for 2nd), but this time our better score of 419 was only good enough to secure 4th place. This means that we are now second in the division (still a promotion spot) and have a real battle on our hands to win promotional – but it’s do-able!

Baz and Mark competing for that key fifth team place

The remaining Hampshire League races are at King’s Park, Bournemouth on 12 January and Hudson’s Field, Salisbury on 9 February. Bring ‘em on!

WACers times and results at Popham were:

Under-13 Girls (82 finishers)

3 – Grace Copeland – 11:25
80 – Elise Gill – 16:25

Under-13 Boys (61 finishers) – 3rd team

2 – Tom Bourne – 10:39
19 – Matt Yates – 11:54
29 – Tom Stokes – 12:12

Under-15 Girls (60 finishers) – 6th team

12 – Abbie Hine – 15:52
22 – Maddie Williams – 16:30
38 – Ella Hearne – 17:28

Under-15 Boys (54 finishers) – 4th team

2 – Jason Sotheran – 13:11
10 – Piers Copeland – 13:55
49 – Tom Boulton – 17:10

Under-17 Women (25 finishers) – 4th team

13 – Sharon Hutchings – 22:11
16 – Charlotte Bourne – 22:26
21 – Becca Skeats – 23:33

Under-17 Men (48 finishers)

24 – Ryan Walbridge – 18:26
46 – Josh Downie – 21:37

Senior Women (92 finishers)

45 – Lynn Hutchings – 27:56

Senior Men (220 finishers) – 4th team Div. 2

48 – Callum Kennedy – 35:39
61 – Graeme Furley – 36:41
76 – Steve Wyatt – 37:47
102 – Tjiwolt Wierda – 39:13
132 – Baz Barry – 41:03
136 – Mark Copeland – 41:33
162 – John Hutchings – 43:58
184 – Ian Kennedy – 46:22
189 – Gerry Hutchings – 46:55
194 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 47:55

Full results for the Hampshire League will be found at



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