Ian Kennedy reports on Popham HXC
We were in the unusual situation where it was WAC’s under-17 men’s team who grabbed the plaudits/medals at Popham … even though none of them were in attendance! They were far from the only ones missing, the result of a fixture clash with the South West Schools Championships in Bournemouth. The U17M had steadily improved their team results as the season progressed. The first four meetings saw us 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd on race day and 3rd in the overall league standings, but level on points with Reading and the Isle of Wight. With the best four results already accrued we at least knew we would remain in the standings, but we’d resigned ourselves to be overhauled by either Reading or the Isle of Wight (neither of whom were likely to be affected by SW Schools) and thus pushed off the podium. It was to our great surprise that neither Reading or the IOW were able to field a complete U17M’s team at Popham either, which meant the bronze medals were secured for Wimborne. The success in this category has come about through teamwork and commitment. We haven’t had anyone in this age-group challenging for individual podium places this season, it’s all been about collective effort. Ben Martin, Joel Green and Ollie Rawles all competed in the four other races and they finished 14th, 16th and 21st respectively in the league aggregates. Charlie Davies and Tom Fuller also scored valuable points and the team was completed by Seth Lake.
The first race up were the under-13 girls. Here we were represented by two ever-presents … Evie Fuller and Ella Fazakerley. Largely through those girls’ commitment we finished the league in 5th position. Also playing a very important role was Imogen Rawles who took part in all the HXC meetings except here at Popham (she’d been selected for Dorset Schools). Over the season Imogen was our highest-placed runner in 19th, with Evie 23rd and Ella 32nd. All are year-young, and I guess you could describe Evie as year-young next season too! Gracie Bunting and Isla O’Connor also raced during the season, but although Gracie and Isla did not compete often enough to appear in the individual averages they did both contribute valuable team points.
Under 13 girls (55 finishers)
30 – Evie Fuller – 13.40
49 – Ella Fazakerley – 15.37
Our under-13 boys were compromised by the fixture clash with the South West Schools meeting. This left Jack Doran as our sole entrant at Popham. Jack has raced in four of the five HXC races and finished 32nd in the league aggregates. He was the only WAC runner to record an aggregate in this category.
Under 13 boys (56 finishers)
48 – Jack Doran – 13:47
Congratulations to Ruby Sargeant on being an ever-present for WAC in the Hampshire League this season. Ruby claimed 27th in the averages over 2019/2020.
Under 15 girls (43 finishers)
41 – Ruby Sargeant – 21.54
Up until this race we had fielded a full under-15 boys team in each HXC fixture. The team finished 7th in the league, and Jay Dunn and Josh Fazakerley were very important contributors to that result. Jay and Josh were the only ones available for this fixture. Over the season Jay was 20th in the individual aggregates with Josh 27th … both were ever-presents. George Butcher, Oscar Davis and Jack and Tom Williams also contributed points to the team score, with Jago Smith also taking part.
Under 15 boys (53 finishers)
29 – Jay Dunn – 15.22
34 – Josh Fazakerley – 15.35
The final race of our Hampshire League season was the senior men. We had just three runners out there. Two of them – Pete Kingswell-Farr and Seamus Doran – have been ever-presents. For Brendan it was only his second HXC of a season where he’s suffered a few injury niggles. For Rob Rawles it was the first HXC race of the season where he didn’t compete (he was supporting Imogen and Ollie who were both representing Dorset in Bournemouth). Rob was our best-placed man in the overall aggregates, 88th, with Pete 94th and Seamus 114th. All three are veterans, and in that category they finished 39th, 46th and 67th respectively.
Senior men (240 finishers) – Div. 3 8th team, 21st team in veterans
184 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 47:36
215 – Brendan Dunn – 51:44
222 – Seamus Doran – 52.56
With our resources split for the day, thanks go to Seamus who took on the team manager’s duties. It wasn’t just the Wimborne team that found itself depleted. Numbers were down on what would normally be expected across all age-groups.
Popham completes our cross-country league programme for the 2019/20 season. Some still of our runners have cross-country championship races to compete in – The Nationals, Inter-Counties, English Schools – before turning attention towards the new track season.