Ian Kennedy reports from the Hampshire League
Last year this fixture was bathed in glorious sunshine … it was a very different story this time around! Despite this, with decent ambient temperature and no wind, conditions weren’t too bad for the runners, although the course did become increasingly slippery. It was probably a little bit more trying for the spectators who went home wet through.
First up were the under-11s races. We only had three athletes in this age-group. Our only girl was Myla McNeill, the McNeill family were there en masse as Isaac ran later in the under-13 boys’ race. Harry Butcher and James Fleming were our under-11 boys. Harry ran here in 2018 and came 7th. A year on and Harry recorded a race victory. I believe Harry is our first ever race winner in this age-group in the Hampshire League. James was making his cross-country debut for Wimborne AC.
U11 girls (41 finishers)
36 – Myla McNeill – 10:41
U11 boys (62 finishers)
1 – Harry Butcher – 7:51
59 – James Fleming – 10:20
Our under-13 girls team was a young one as all were lower half of age-group, except Evie Fuller who is even younger. Strictly speaking Evie is an under-11, but as she’s now reached her 11th birthday she had the option to step up an age-group. The girls did a great job and were 7th team. Our first four seemed to be running in pairs to start with. In the case of Imogen Rawles and Evie this lasted all the way to the finish line, where they recorded the same time. Isla O’Connor and Gracie Bunting also ran in close proximity until the later stages when Isla started to pull away. Our team was completed by Ella Fazakerley.
U13 girls (61 finishers) – 7th team
32 – Imogen Rawles – 13:44
33 – Evie Fuller – 13:44
36 – Isla O’Connor – 13:52
44 – Gracie Bunting – 14:15
58 – Ella Fazakerley – 15:20
There was a good team performance from the under-13 boys too, 5th up from 8th last year. Our first runner home was Jack Williams, just outside the top 10, but a gain of 26 places since last year. Toby Butt is ‘year young’ so his 20th place finish is particularly impressive. Tom Williams was some 40 seconds quicker this year than last, and Isaac McNeill was next, running here for the first time in a league fixture. Jack Doran completed the line-up and he too found a time gain from last year.
U13 boys (76 finishers) – 5h team
11 – Jack Williams – 11:33
20 – Toby Butt – 12:05
31 – Tom Williams – 12:21
57 – Isaac McNeill – 13:38
69 – Jack Doran – 14:41
We need three in each junior age-group to score as a team, so it was a little bit frustrating to fall short in the under-15 girls because we have enough athletes to cover this. The first red in was Sarah Graham, and Ruby Sargeant was her sole team mate, Ruby having stepped up from last year’s under-13s team.
U15 girls (49 finishers)
36 – Sarah Graham – 17:27
47 – Ruby Sargeant – 20:17
Despite fielding a youngish line-up, only Jay Dunn is top year, we improved on last year’s team position for 9th. Jay was our first one home and a big improver, some 1m 15s faster than last year. Our other two point scorers were Josh Fazakerley and George Butcher with Oscar Davis and Jago Smith completing our line-up. All five of our boys ran in the corresponding fixture last year, all bar Jay were under-13s and so saw a step up in distance.
U15 boys (55 finishers) – 9th team
36 – Jay Dunn – 15:25
41 – Josh Fazakerley – 16:13
43 – George Butcher – 16:26
46 – Oscar Davis – 16:49
53 – Jago Smith – 17:42
For the second year in a row we provided the race winner of the under-17 women’s race. Last year it was Maddy Johnson (now an under-20) and this time it was Emily Shaw who did the honours. It was a good solid run from Emily, and although she was kept honest by the challenge from Lily Neate of Winchester, Emily had a margin of 12 seconds at the finish line. Emily was our only finisher in this race. Holly Nixon also started and was hugely disappointed to ‘DNF’ for the first time ever. Holly is a strong character who’s overcome some challenges in the past. We our counting on her resilience to bounce back and we look forward to seeing her in action again soon to lay the ghost.
U17 women (27 finishers)
1 – Emily Shaw – 14:53
The under-17 men’s race was an interesting one for us. The two ‘year young’ runners led the team home – well done to Joel Green and Ollie Rawles. Ben Martin didn’t exactly make it easy for them as he improved his time from last year by some 40 seconds! Our team was completed by Seth Lake, who it was great to welcome back to club competition – this was his first competitive action in a red vest since July.
U17 men (38 finishers) – 6th team
19 – Joel Green – 22:21
24 – Ollie Rawles – 22:52
25 – Ben Martin – 23:02
28 – Seth Lake – 23:17
Our two women racers would have been amongst the youngest in the 190-strong field. They are both bottom year under-20s. Maddy had run at King’s Park last year and won the under-17s race. This time she was competing for under-20s honours against women two years older than her. She was our first home, 24th overall and 8th under-20. It was wonderful to welcome back Martha Pawson. We’d seen little of her since the English Schools Cross-Country Championships in March. Runs at Bournemouth Marathon Festival a week earlier had inspired her return. It was a solid comeback, in the top half of the field overall.
Senior women (190 finishers)
24 – Maddy Johnson – 23:43 (8th under-20)
83 – Martha Pawson – 28:03 (22nd under-20)
The final race of the day, and the longest, was the men’s. First in for us was Rob Rawles. Naturally his regular training partner Pete Kingswell-Farr was not far away. Pete was the only one of our men’s team who ran in King’s Park in 2018, and he improved his time by almost a minute. We need five scorers in the seniors’ races so everyone’s results mattered. Next in was Daryl Davies, with Brendan Dunn and Seamus Doran completing our line up.
Senior men (239 finishers) – 6th in Div. 3
162 – Rob Rawles – 41:45
166 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 41:55
183 – Daryl Davies – 43:53
217 – Brendan Dunn – 47:16
226 – Seamus Doran – 49:28
The next race in the Hampshire league is at a new venue – Sparsholt College, near Winchester. I’m very much looking forward to this one, it’s in a beautiful setting and although we don’t know the course, there is a potential for it to be a bit special. Bring it on!