Ian Kennedy reports from the Hampshire League
One of the longest hauls we make for a league cross-country course is the trip to Wellesley Woods, Aldershot. It’s such a fabulous course, with much of it on footpaths threading their way through woodlands, it’s well worth the effort. The weather was pretty kind to us with plenty of sunshine, but it was cold. Our boys were out in good numbers, full teams in age groups from under-13 upwards, but it would have been nice to see more of our talented girls taking part.
The meeting started with the under-11s races. Harry Butcher is looking a real prospect, and he produced our best individual result of the day.
Under 11 boys (48 finishers)
5 – Harry Butcher – 6.17
The only girls’ race where we had a full team was the under-13s, and it was a very young team we were fielding. Both Imogen Rawles and Ella Fazakerley are running ‘year young’ with Evie Fuller even younger, only qualifying for this age-group, as she has just passed her 11th birthday. Our super-youthful under-13 girls team produced it’s highest-placed team finish of the season so far. There’s some real potential here.
Under 13 girls (47 finishers) – 6th team
20 – Imogen Rawles – 13.31
29 – Evie Fuller – 14.00
46 – Ella Fazakerley – 17.17
With the ever-dependable Williams boys leading the team home (both with top 20 finishes) and good support from Jack Doran, we saw another respectable team score in the under-13 boys age-group. Jack Williams 11th place equaled his performance in the season’s opening meeting.
Under 13 boys (65 finishers) – 6th team
11 – Jack Williams – 11.44
20 – Tom Williams – 12:12
58 – Jack Doran – 14:10
It was great to see Ruby Sargeant competing in the under-15 girls’ race. Unfortunately she was the only red vest out there, we could do with some more support for Ruby.
Under 15 girls (50 finishers)
48 – Ruby Sargeant – 22.50
Jay Dunn led home our under-15 boys, as he’s done in each of the Hampshire League races so far. Once again it was his dependable wingman – Josh Fazakerley – who was next home. Securing that vital third team scoring position on this occasion was George Butcher.
Under 15 boys (65 finishers) – 9th team
42 – Jay Dunn – 17.24
48 – Josh Fazakerley – 17.43
56 – George Butcher – 18.52
Our under-17 men once again turned out in force for this one. Ben Martin led the team home with a season’s best (so far) Hampshire League result. He was kept honest all the way though, as Tom Fuller (also with a season’s best result) was only three places back. Charlie Davies and Joel Green had a race-long tussle to see who would claim that third team-scoring place. Charlie secured it, but he’d really had to work for it. Ollie Rawles has been under weather for much of the season, this was something like a return for form for him, and once again he’s chasing down his team mates. These guys’ efforts brought a reward of fourth place team, our best so far this season in any age-group in the Hampshire League.
Under 17 (40 finishers) – 4th team
15 – Ben Martin – 22.46
18 – Tom Fuller – 22.59
23 – Charlie Davies – 23.32
24 – Joel Green – 23.38
31 – Ollie Rawles – 24.27
The men’s team also had a good day. We saw debutants Stu Downie and Jon Hazel lead the reds home. Stu and Jon are both based on Blandford Camp, they are new to the club. Having had their first taste of XC with us we look forward to watching them progress. The other big story from the men’s team was the return of Mark Copeland. From 2010 to 2016 Mark was a big hitter and mainstay of our men’s team, but this was his first XC race for over three years. It was wonderful to welcome him back. The return of Mark set Rob Rawles a challenge, Rob hunted Mark down and, after a Herculian effort, finally caught and passed him in the latter stages of the race … both had run their hearts out. Next home was Pete Kingswell-Farr who’s own history with the club goes back to 2012… and he’s missed few league races since. The team was completed by Seamus Doran. Seamus is in his debut XC season. So far he’s competed in five league races, a full house. He’s not missed a league race all season. The injection of youth, from Stu and Jon, resulted in our best Hampshire League team finish so farthis season, whilst the return of Mark had a similar effect in the veterans’ category. A job well done boys.
Senior men (271 finishers) – Div. 3 4th team, 14th team in veterans
159 – Stuart Downie – 41:12
163 – Jon Hazel – 41:35
179 – Rob Rawles – 42:59
181 – Mark Copeland – 43:12
201 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 44:03
253 – Seamus Doran – 50.25