Hampshire XC League Race 5 – 12 February – Salisbury
Cross-country report from
The final Hampshire League
race of the season had a very odd feel about it. It was actually warm,
we also had many of our juniors missing due to a clash of dates with the
South-West Schools Cross-Country Championships. It’s a measure of how
much progress the WAC youngsters have made that so many of them were
involved in the South-West Schools event. This didn’t just impact on us,
there was a significant drop in the numbers from other east Dorset
clubs. It’s frustrating that there isn’t more dialogue between the
various bodies to try and avoid these fixture clashes.
As it was, we only had five
juniors, three of them might well have travelled to the South-West
Schools. Sharon Hutchings was invited but opted to concentrate on the
Hampshire League instead and both Chloe Morris and Tom Boulton were on
stand-by as reserves for the South-Wests. To complement these three
racers we were able to welcome Charlotte and Tom Bourne who made their
race debuts. We tend to encourage our newcomers to take their first
steps into competitive cross-country league racing via the Wessex
League, which is more local and a gentler introduction to XC racing.
Concerns that our two debutants might be overawed by the experience
proved completely unfounded. Tom managed to finish in the top half of
the field (despite being one of the younger runners out there) and
Charlotte’s first race ensured that we recorded our first team score of
the season in the under-15 girls category.
The first race in which we
had runners was the under-13 boys race. Tom Boulton, who only started
racing with us at the start of this season ran a well-judged race to
claim his highest finish yet. As mentioned earlier, Tom Bourne made a
very encouraging debut.
The only other junior race
we had runners in was the under-15s girls’ race. Once again Sharon
Hutchings led the way, she actually hit the front of the field for a
while on lap one. Chloe Morris put in another solid performance and
Charlotte clinched the final team points.
With Claire Scammell
unavailable through illness, Lynn Hutchings was our sole representative
in the women’s race. Just like Sharon, Lynn also led for a brief period
in the early stages of the race. Lynn has had a superb season and this
was her best Hampshire League performance yet.
The programme was completed
with the senior men’s race. For the first time since we joined the
Hampshire League (three seasons) we failed to field a complete men’s
team. We lost ‘Mr Cross-Country’ Graham Whiffen to illness the previous
day, while others were unavailable through work commitments. The senior
men’s race was a story of two duels between team-mates. The first of
which was between Jeff Hinsley and Gerry Hutchings. Jeff eventually
caught Gerry and was able to edge away from him. Further back Paul Hine
and Ian Kennedy had their battle. Paul had by far the better start, but
Ian closed him down as the race progressed. The men’s race was scheduled
to consist of one small lap, one medium lap and then three long laps.
The race leaders went the wrong way the second time around and we were
condemned to run some extra distance as what the entire field actually
did was one small lap and four long ones.
While we were racing the
league administrators where busy calculating the season aggregates so
that the awards for the season could be made at the end of the meeting.
After a short delay the presentations commenced. The awards were
presented by British running legend Mike Gratton (a Commonweath Games
medallist, and winner of the London Marathon in 1983). Piers Copeland
(U13) became Wimborne’s first ever Hampshire League trophy winner as he
finished 5th in the averages. The trophy was collected on his
behalf as Piers was otherwise engaged – claiming a fine 4th
place in the South West Schools Cross-Country Championships. But for the
fixture clash, he may even have been able to improve on his aggregate
finish in the Hampshire League. Very well done Piers on a fine season.
Others who recorded
averages for the season were:
Under-13 – Tom Boulton – 21st
Under-15 – Ryan Walbridge –
Under-17 – David Long – 14th
Under-17 – Callum Kennedy – 18th
Seniors – Mark Copeland –
74th, 30th as a veteran
Seniors – Jeff Hinsley – 81st, 39th as a vet.
Seniors Gerry Hutchings – 83rd, 40th as a vet.
Seniors – Ian Kennedy – 85th, 44th as a vet.
Seniors – Graham Whiffen – 91st, 42nd as a vet.
Seniors – Paul Hine – 101st, 54th as a vet.
A complete set of averages
for the girls for the season has yet to be published.
The senior men’s team
finished the season in 4th place (of 7) in Division 2. In the
veteran’s category we came 4th of 24 in Divison 2.
WACers times and results at Salisbury
Under-13 Boys (53 finishers)
22 – Tom Boulton – 12:41
26 – Tom Bourne – 12:59
Under-15 Girls (34 finishers) – 5th
19 – Sharon Hutchings – 13:53
23 – Chloe Morris – 14:11
28 – Charlotte Bourne – 14:52
Senior Women (72 finishers)
21 – Lynn Hutchings – 23:08
Senior Men (145 finishers) (Vets
4th in Div 2)
115 – Jeff Hinsley – 44:02
123 – Gerry Hutchings – 45:00
129 – Ian Kennedy – 45:28
131 – Paul Hine – 45:54
Full results for the Hampshire League
will be found at