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Flying start in the Wessex League – 25 October 2015

Ian Kennedy reports from Canford Heath

The team tent gets a makeover!

We made a fantastic start to our Wessex League campaign in glorious sunshine at Canford Heath.  We really did have an army of red vests more than 50 of us.  This is the biggest turnout for a cross-country league race in the club’s history thus far, and the numbers are more than 30% up on the corresponding fixture from last season.  This was despite illness ruling out some of our regular performers, and we had others missing due to half term holidays.  We didn’t just have good numbers though, there were some excellent performances too.

The programme got under way with the race that set the U17s and the women off at the same time.  We couldn’t have had a better start as the red vest of Piers Copeland was the first to cross the finish line.  Piers received support from Matt Yates, and as a team they came equal third.  Despite the large numbers of WAC runners, remarkably none of our U17 women competed (we needed two for a team score).  For years we’ve struggled to field a women’s team, this was put right here.  We had five WAC women, and needed only three to score.  Sarah Orr led our women home in some style, and was 3rd woman overall.  The women’s team had three cross-country debutants in it.  The first of these – Sarah Davies – was next home.  Lesley Davies has been a pivotal character in putting our women’s team together and she was next in.  Our team was completed by two more XC debutants – Jess Kennedy and Lorraine Moss – they ran in close proximity for the entire race.  Sarah and Lorraine were not just XC debutants, but also wearing their red vests for the first time!  Hopefully we will continue to field complete women’s teams for subsequent races.

Nine WACers represented us in the men’s race.  The team was led home by our sole U20 – Ryan Walbridge.  Ryan had a cracking race and was kept honest all the way by team-mates Colin Read and Chris Wood.  Colin has represented us as a second claim runner over quite a few years now (1st claim Orion) and it was a real bonus to have him available.  Another bonus was the cross-country debut of Chris Wood.  Chris has been a WACer for only a matter of weeks, but has already raced in red in road races.  With our top three coming in 5th, 8th and 9th we won the men’s team category.  Next in was Pete Kingswell-Farr, whose form continues to improve dramatically.  Perhaps one of the biggest wows of all was Rob Rawles, who was just 15 seconds back from Pete.  This is a giant leap forward from his result at Farley Mount only a couple of weeks ago.  Our next two in were Paul Hine and Jason Hall, two runners well capable of a good turn of speed over shorter distances on the track, as well as being up for it over the longer distances of cross-country.  WAC stalwart Glyn Davies was next, he’s the club’s throws coach, but has become more and more involved in road running in recent times, and now he’s at cross-country too!  Glyn had team-mate Joe Kelliher for company.  Joe was another one making a cross-country debut.

The U11 girls race had a very healthy number of runners in it – 50.  Ten of these were in Wimborne red.  These girls have been given a great grounding in athletics within Paul Hine’s U11s training group.  Most of them have taken part in quad-kids competitions over the summer, where the furthest distance run is 600m, so the step up to 1940m here was a big one.  However, some of these girls had XC experience from last season, none were overawed by the challenge at hand.  The team was led home by Kitty Sharpe, with Rosie Corbould also making the top 20.  Only seconds behind Rosie were Isabella Cox and Kate Simmonds.  Amelia Chaffey, Abigail Van Etten and Lucie Simmonds were just a second each apart, with Amy Darragh and Amelia’s twin, Grace, only a few seconds further back.  Our team was completed by Georgina Hawkins.

There weren’t quite so many in the boys U11s race, but it was still a good field.  Matt Lissenburg, who ran as a guest, is in the process of becoming a WACer.  He ran a very impressive 5th place.  Also impressing, and just four seconds further back was Tobias Blundell.  George Butcher went off like a rocket from the start line, and he was still hanging in there at the end to claim 13th place.  The honour of the final team scoring position fell to Luke Palmer, although he had to work for it as that scorer’s position was hotly contested with Jay Dunn, and only two seconds separated them at the end.  Next home for WAC was Thomas Jeffery, and he managed to keep his nose ahead of team-mates Jamie Slade and Edward Hall who completed our team.

Abbie Lovering’s performance in the U13s race was fiercely fought all the way to the line.  She claimed a fine 2nd place and looks like she’s rediscovering her best form just as the cross-country season is getting underway.  Our next red in was Holly Nixon.  Holly missed most of the summer track season, bearing that in mind, the form she has returned to the cross-country team in is remarkable.  Her top 10 finish here follows an impressive performance at Farley Mount in the Hampshire League.  Claiming the final scoring position was Charlotte Piper with a typical spirited performance.  There was no questioning the effort shown by Ella Jeffery on the day … she definitely left it all out there!  She’s working really hard in training and is starting to see the rewards.  Lucy Tipping was fully committed too and she completed our team.  Our U13 girls were 2nd team on the day.

Our U13 boys gave us plenty to cheer about in their race.  The fast improving Charlie Davies quite possibly ran his best race yet in a red vest in claiming a 2nd place.  As impressive was the 3rd place claimed by the rather less experienced Tom Fuller.  With Josh Jack in 6th (he’d had an impressive run in the Junior Great South Run the day before) the team prize was Wimborne bound.  Also claiming a top 10 place was Jack Moss-Willcox.  Ollie Rawles and Ben Butcher were our next racers home, with the team completed by recent signing and debutant Ned Simmonds who’s only just starting training with us.

The final race start was that for the U15s.  We’d begun the day with an individual win (Piers) and our meeting concluded with a brace of team wins.  Beth Kingswell-Farr led our winning team home for the girls, with consecutive places coming from Anna Kelliher and Caitlin Rogers.  Amy Mercer was next in followed by Izzie Kingswell-Farr.  Completing the team, and it was a joy to see her back in competition, was Sophia Orr.  Sophia has been out of action for over a year, her last race for us had been a fine performance at the South of England Road Relays way back in September 2014.  It seems such a long time ago now!  In the meantime she’s had to contend with not just the loss of all that training, but also moving up an age-group.  This is the first step back on the road for Sophs.  I’m looking forward to seeing her making up for lost time and steadily rediscovering her true form over the season.

Leading a triumphant U15 boys team was Michael Johnson.  Michael was always in the mix of this one, with a strong start to the race.  Our next man home was Dan Baynham, his tactics were opposite to Michael’s.  It was steady to begin with, but he had pace to burn in the latter stages as he closed runners down.  Our final points scorer, and only six seconds down on Dan was the ever-dependable Elliott Symes.  It was great to see Zach Fenwick completing our team.  A change of school means that he is not able to train as often as he used to.  He really packed track meetings in over the summer, and we hope that he’ll be able to compete in many XC races this winter despite being at school on Saturdays.

The fantastic weather, huge turnout, and quality results all combined to make this a Wessex League race to remember.  In all, around 200 runners competed in this fixture, of those around a quarter of them were in the red of Wimborne.  We’re now looking to carry this momentum into next week’s Wessex League race at Avon Heath Country Park.

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 – 4670m – equal 3rd team – 14 runners

1 – Piers Copeland – 15:57
13 – Matt Yates –

U20/senior women – 6520m – 17 runners

3 – Sarah Orr – 28:52
12 – Sarah Davies – 32:39
15 – Lesley Davies – 35:44
16 – Jess Kennedy – 37:08
17 – Lorraine Moss – 37:15

U20/senior men –– 8370m –1st team – 32 runners

5 – Ryan Walbridge – 31:16 (2nd U20)
8 – Colin Read – 32:03
9 – Chris Wood – 32:19
17 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 35:45
18 – Rob Rawles – 36:00
28 – Paul Hine – 41:28
30 – Jason Hall – 42:04
31 – Glyn Davies – 44:28
32 – Joe Kelliher – 44:29

U11 girls – 1940m – 50 runners

15 – Kitty Sharpe – 8:56
19 – Rosie Corbould – 9:09
21 – Isabella Cox – 9:11
22 – Kate Simmonds – 9:12
31 – Amelia Chaffey – 9:22
35 – Abigail Van Etten – 9:23
36 – Lucie Simmonds – 9:24
39 – Amy Darragh –
40 – Grace Chaffey – 9:29
45 – Georgina Hawkins – 9:58

U11 boys – 1940m – 33 runners

5 – Matt Lissenburg – 7:53
6 – Tobias Blundell – 7:57
13 – George Butcher – 8:13
18 – Luke Palmer –
20 – Jay Dunn – 8:21
25 – Thomas Jeffery – 9:05
26 – Jamie Slade – 9:14
28 – Edward Hall – 9:21

U13 girls – 2820m – 2nd team –32 runners

2 – Abbie Lovering – 10:57
9 – Holly Nixon – 11.35
15 – Charlotte Piper – 12:17
21 – Ella Jeffery –
25 – Lucy Tipping – 13:33

U13 boys – 2820m – 1st team – 18 runners

2 – Charlie Davies – 10:27
3 – Tom Fuller –
6 – Josh Jack – 11:11
9 – Jack Moss-Willcox – 11:20
13 – Ollie Rawles –
14 – Ben Butcher – 11:53
18 – Ned Simmonds – 14:03

U15 girls – 3800m – 1st team – 17 runners

5 – Beth Kingswell-Farr – 15:44
6 – Anna Kelliher –
7 – Caitlin Rogers – 16:04
10 – Amy Mercer –
15 – Izzie Kingswell-Farr – 18:32
16 – Sophia Orr –

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

4 – Michael Johnson – 13:55
6 – Dan Baynham –
9 – Elliott Symes – 14:11
14 – Zach Fenwick –



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