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Maintaining the tempo at Wessex XC League – 1 November 2015

Ian Kennedy reports from Avon Heath

… and they’re off – the under-11 girls race

It was 1st November, but once the early morning fog lifted at Avon Heath it felt much more like a summer’s day.  Wessex Race 2 saw another mass turnout of red vests as we equalled the record numbers of XC racers set the previous weekend, although with slightly different personnel.

One thing that didn’t change was the outcome of the first race.  Piers Copeland looked imperious as he made it two wins out of two in the under-17s race.  Once again Matt Yates was there playing an important role, picking up team points.  Their combined efforts brought us 2nd place in the team category.

For years we’ve struggled to field complete women’s teams in cross-country races.  Not so here (or the previous week).  Sarah Orr led our women in, with great support from Sarah and Lesley Davies.  Lorraine Moss completed our team and was one of the day’s biggest improvers.  The reward for our endeavours was 2nd place in the team category.

Ryan Walbridge led our men’s team home once again.  We were able to welcome Andy McDonald back for his first XC race this term, and he was next home.  Rob Rawles was one of the revelations in Race 1 where he tried chasing down Pete Kingswell-Farr.  With Pete out injured, ambitiously it was Mark Copeland he targeted this time.  Mark came in 20 seconds ahead … but a warning salvo has been fired!  For the second race in a row there were 32 runners, Paul Hine held position, repeating the same result he achieved the previous week.  Joe Kelliher completed the team, stepping up his game and taking a few scalps this time.

Race 1 gave us a fantastic turnout in the under-11s races; here we had even more racers in this category.  For the girls Freya Blundell led the reds home in impressive style, and just four seconds back was Kitty Sharpe, her second fine run in as many weekends.  Making her Wimborne AC debut was Katie Warrack, and she came in sandwiched between team-mates Isabella Cox and Katie Simmonds.  Next home where the twins, Amelia and Grace Chaffey – this time finishing in tight formation.  Lucie Simmonds was next over the line and completing our team where the Darragh sisters – Amy and Poppy.

In the boys race there was an eye-catching performance from debutant Freddie Warrack, who was first red home, just ahead of Matt Lissenburg.  Both Luke Palmer and Jay Dunn looked good.  They’ve been concentrating on their endurance running recently and it showed, with improved finishing positions in a larger field.  It was great to welcome Joe Healey back; illness had robbed us of his contribution the previous weekend.  The next pair was two of our younger racers, George Butcher with another debutant, Woody van der Feltz, they were two seconds apart.  Jamie Slade competed in his second successive Wessex race, with debutant, Jonah Hand our next runner back.  Our team was completed by Edward Hall.

Four reds lined up for us in the under-13 girls race, and they are a fiercely competitive quartet.  The race was won by a pair of City of Portsmouth girls, but the cream of the Dorset-based athletes was our own Abbie Lovering who claimed third place.  Both Holly Nixon and Charlotte Piper, our next two runners, improved their positions from the previous race.  Ella Jeffery completed the team and they came third on the day.

In the under-13 boys race, Charlie Davies proved his first Wessex race was no fluke, he put in his second hugely impressive race in eight days (PS: you don’t get fluke results in XC it’s all down to hard work!).  He was just three seconds off the race winner.  Tom Fuller had another good one too, 4th place.  Jack Moss-Willcox was back in action and he immediately claimed a top 10 finish, as did Josh Jack.  Next home for us were Ben Butcher and Ollie Rawles, they reversed positions from the previous weekend.  Completing the team was Ned Simmonds with what was the biggest improvement of any Wimborne AC runner on the day.  Eight days earlier he had debuted at Canford Heath.  He clearly learned a lot from that experience as his run here at Avon Heath was much smarter and was rewarded with a much improved performance.

The final race start is the combined under-15s.  We’ll take a look at the girls’ results first.  Hannah Slater was struck down with a heavy cold the previous weekend so she missed out on Wessex Race 1 … she was back with a bang here … claiming 3rd place.  We’ve got strength in depth in this category and we claimed another three top 10 finishers, with Anna Kelliher, Beth Kingswell-Farr and Caitlin Rogers and then we had Amy Mercer in 16th.  Completing the team were Izzie Kingswell-Farr and Sophia Orr, their performances were amongst the most improved of any WACers compared to Race 1 only eight days previously.  Our girls’ great team performance was rewarded with 1st place on the day.

In the under-15 boys race the quartet that did so well in Race 1 were boosted by the return of Liam Murphy-Parry.  We had three in the top 10 – Michael Johnson, Liam and Dan Baynham, with Elliott Symes knocking on the door in 11th.  Zach Fenwick completed our team.  Despite these strong performances, our boys were edged off top spot by a strong team from City of Portsmouth on the day, so had to settle for second place.

This league is definitely looking in the rudest health that it has for some time.  Standards are improving and more runners are being attracted from clubs further afield.  All this helps to make it a more valuable experience.  The next race takes place at Yeovil Country Park on 22 November, it’s hillier, and a great course for spectators too … far and away my favourite XC league venue … see you there!

Full results from the Wessex League will be found at the Team Dorset website, visit http://www.teamdorsetathletics.btck.co.uk/Competition/WessexLeague-CrossCountry



U17 men – equal 2nd team – 16 runners

1 – Piers Copeland – 18:38
12 – Matt Yates – 21:26

U20/senior women – 2nd team – 20 runners

3 – Sarah Orr – 23:52
11 – Sarah Davies – 26:12
16 – Lesley Davies – 28:33
17 –
Lorraine Moss – 29:16

U20/senior men – 2nd team – 32 runners

8 – Ryan Walbridge – 36:35 (1st U20)
17 – Andy McDonald – 40:38
18 – Mark Copeland – 41:24
19 – Rob Rawles – 41:44
28 – Paul Hine – 48:25
30 – Joe Kelliher – 52:24

U11 girls – 49 runners

12 – Freya Blundell – 9:13
15 – Kitty Sharpe – 9:17
19 – Isabella Cox – 9:29
20 – Katie Warrack – 9:33
21 – Kate Simmonds – 9:39
25 – Amelia Chaffey – 9:52
26 – Grace Chaffey – 9:54
36 – Lucie Simmonds – 10:09
45 – Amy Darragh – 10:37
49 – Poppy Darragh – 11:34

U11 boys – 42 runners

10 – Freddie Warrack – 8:18
11 – Matt Lissenburg – 8:20
16 – Luke Palmer – 8:33
18 – Jay Dunn – 8:44
21 – Joe Healey – 8:49
26 – George Butcher – 8:57
27 – Woody van der Feltz –
36 – Jamie Slade – 9:43
38 – Jonah Hand – 10:10
40 – Edward Hall – 10:29

U13 girls – 30 runners

3 – Abbie Lovering – 10:14
7 – Holly Nixon – 10:48
13 – Charlotte Piper – 11:14
21 – Ella Jeffery – 12:35

U13 boys – 1st team –23 runners

2 – Charlie Davies – 9:46
4 – Tom Fuller – 10:05
6 – Jack Moss-Willcox – 10:35
9 – Josh Jack – 10:47
14 – Ben Butcher – 11:13
17 – Ollie Rawles – 11:49
21 – Ned Simmonds – 13:09

U15 girls – 3800m – 1st team – 22 runners

3 – Hannah Slater – 15:12
8 – Anna Kelliher – 15:36
9 – Beth Kingswell-Farr – 15:40
10 – Caitlin Rogers – 15:59
16 – Amy Mercer – 16:53
19 – Izzie Kingswell-Farr – 17:32
20 – Hannah Fairchild – 17:51
21 – Sophia Orr – 18:43

U15 boys – 2nd team – 23 runners

5 – Michael Johnson – 13:38
8 – Liam Murphy-Parry – 14:01
10 – Dan Baynham – 14:08
11 – Elliott Symes – 14:37
17 – Zach Fenwick – 15:22



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