Cirencester XC, 7 February 2016 I’m new to cross country, and throughout the four miles of hellish quagmire that was Horspath in January I swore ‘never again’ and really meant it. I swore a lot in fact. But the mind is a funny thing… and so it was that just a day or two later I found myself ordering a pair of spikes – and a few weeks later, after a Saturday of non-stop rain, I’m setting off into the hellish quagmire that is XC round 4 in Cirencester. ...
There was a really good turnout from the club at Culham on Sunday, with the Men equalling their highest number of runners at a XC race (22); a mixture of occasionals, regulars, stalwarts, newcomers, Grandees and returnees meant for a convivial atmosphere, friendly camaraderie, a club record quantity of cake, and some good performances on a surprisingly not too inclement day. The 40mph gusts of ‘Storm Desmond’ on Saturday had largely subsided by late morning on race day, to leave us with a strong but manageable headwind along the Thames, and helpful tailwinds at times. The perplexing lack of rain, coupled with a bulldozed transformation of the Culham course into a motocross park, meant that the going was actually firm to solidly good, with only a few minor muddy patches. Follow the link below for the official results … http://www.oxonxc.org.uk/index.php?view=results … and thanks once again to Barry Cornelius for the photos, which can be found here: http://www.oxonraces.com/photos/2015-12-06-culham/ The Women’s team were once-again led home by Hannah Hale, and they finished 6th in Division 2 on the day. Tess Evans had a storming run, no doubt her many Wytham Hills forays paying dividends, and the team now sits in 7th place (out of 8) overall for the season, albeit just a single point behind Highworth. Radley and Hook Norton A teams (Div. 3) are putting in strong performances, so it is to be hoped that some of the absent quicker ladies will bolster the team running at Horspath on January 10th. The Men’s squad saw strong runs from the Captain, Mark Baker and Henry Hart, well supported by Dafydd Warburton back in the side with a very useful 59th place, and Graham back amongst the top 100, coming back into form after some injury hindrances. More encouraging than anything was to see such strength in depth from runners 6 to 14, and beyond, crafting one of the three best B team performances in club history. So, hurrah to them and well done especially to Tom Baker and Simon Walker for making their way into the A team. Although the Men’s A team finished last in Division 1 on the day, it was a much better result than at Harcourt Hill (race 2 last season), and we now sit 7th overall for the season. A quick analysis of the stats show that we are slightly better off than at this stage last season points-wise, and some of the Division 2 competition has dropped off a little. No room for complacency though, and it will require a concerted effort to finish the season well and advance up the table, as per the last two seasons. The B team are well-placed to climb up the Division 3 table too, so let’s find ways to encourage one another to do just that. Final 3 races So, sear the date January 10th into your memory and ink your diaries, for the County XC Championships, almost on our doorstep at Horspath (Shotover Hill, Oxford). Let’s have another strong turnout and keep the ERR momentum gathering apace. Race 4 is as usual at Cirencester Park on February 7th and the finale is the regular venue at Harwell on March 6th. Benedict Pollard (Men’s XC Capt.) December 8th 2015 A call for help: whilst taking the tent down is now a smoothly-understood operation … a volunteer (or two) are requested on January 10th, to head out earlier (depart Eynsham around 08:45am) to Horspath to put up the club tent in time for the junior races. Thank you very much to John and Alexander Bishop for their help when they arrived at Culham. At least our tent didn’t blow down like Headington’s!
* Howard sensibly pulled-out mid-way to prevent injury, but we’ll surely see him again soon at XC.
|Under 9 Girls & Boys (39 finishers)|
|U11 Boys (51 finishers)|
|Women (c. 3.7 miles) (157 finishers)|
|73||Jacky Pinnock||31:09||3rd V55|
|Men (c. 5 miles) (275 finishers)|
|DNF||Howard Humphris||Debut *|
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