Night League Commentary 2015-2016

Posted on Sat, 30th April 2016 by Ian Sayer
Event Reports

 2015-2016 Wessex Night League  post event comments.


Monday 5th October, Bournemouth
A great start to this seasons Night League with the race held on a new Bournemouth map “Queens Park & Kings Park”. Ably prepared by virgin organiser Peter Suba the race incorporated a new twist, with three ‘blocks’ containing controls that were only discoverable from their descriptions. The ‘blocks’ held other controls that gave you a minus score! The unsurprising winner was Gavin Clegg, making the trip over from Somerset, with his experience of urban sprint races and ability to read descriptions at speed. Second place went to John Oakes and an excellent third place to WSX local Frida Forshallen. In the Handicap League last years victor Charlotte Thornton has taken the early lead but is closely followed by Gavin. Of the husband and wife competitors Jackie showed who was top dog in the Butt household. Roger Crickmore is just ahead of Tracey and Chris Branford just ahead of Lynn. There were some notable good orienteers languishing in the bottom half of the results. Next race is Salisbury City on 2 November.

Monday 2nd November, Salisbury City
Another fantastic turnout for the Salisbury City Night Race. 54 this year, up 8% from last year and a very cosmopolitan club range including DEE, SN, OD, SO and BL. Charlotte, Ricky, Liz and Mark put on a great event. Many thanks to them and there helpers. The competition had a little twist on the usual with three groups of controls to be collected. Once you switched to the next group you couldn’t go back. The Five Bells made a good venue for the second year, but perhaps getting a little cramped? Its good to see some venues becoming annual fixtures. A good victory for Andy. Peter Suba not far behind. Stu Southwick in third closely followed by Frida Forshallen. As for the League well 5 of the top 6 places are currently held by the Ladies. Including in third place Jean Payne from DEE. Obviously worth the trip to both Bournemouth and Salisbury! In the Non Handicap League a new name in Peter Suba appears at the top, Gavin in second and Frida Forshallen lying third. Early days of course and as Caroline Dent will testify from last year – its not over until the very last race.

Monday 9th November,
Another mild evening and another amazing turnout, this time 49 entries. After just three races there are now 85 people listed in the league. Birthday boy Dick Keighley aided by Chris Branford and the other birthday boy John Whittingham, put on a lovely challenging event. Showing what you can do with a little imagination in a small village. The winning time may have been a tad short, but everyone I spoke to had enjoyed themselves. Plus competitors scores are remarkably similar to that of Salisbury. Which must mean something?

Remarkably little change to either league. In the main Handicap League Lyn Branford is up four to forth being the main mover. However Charlotte in second place has outscored Gavin at both Bournemouth and Shillingstone and is therefore my early tip for this seasons title.

In the Non Handicap league Gavin has swapped places with Peter. Andy Snell with two wins from three looks ominously in form and could do what Dale did last season and score a maximum 3,500 points. But its early days and things should be lot clearer in the New Year.

The series moves East next for Marchwood on Thursday 12th before the ‘double header’ of Moors Valley and Dorking on Sat 21st.

Thursday 12th November, Marchwood
Southampton took the planning and organising duties on this the fourth of this seasons Night league urban race. This was the third years use of the Marchwood and Macmullen barracks area map, with the event centre in the warmth of the Junior school which is the focal point of the village next door to shops and the Roebuck. It was good to see 4 of the Juniors from school on the results. On the school site football training was on in the dark and rain for the dedicated, whilst 3 controls were sited on the playing field for Orienteers. A great area made even more challenging to sequence correctly as there were many un-crossable walls meaning routes have to be chosen very carefully. Soldiers manned the entrance to the barracks who had been pre-warned to expect several head-torch bearing runners entering and leaving their enclosed base. As with most night events the maximum 50 point location was sited here for the biggest distance runners. Unfortunately one control was stolen, other than that no hiccups. From the 40 competitors only 5 managed the whole available points within the hour. Another good visit to Marchwood look forward to year 4! Next League event on 21st November is either Moors Valley Country Park or the Southern Night Champs in Dorking which both count towards league points. Bonus points to anyone who can make it to both events!!! Bring on the night. Jason

Saturday 21st November, Moors Valley 
Saturday 21st November,
The first of the forest night events, rather than urban or park and a complicated weekend. You had some like Rob Hick doing a daytime MTBO at Moors Valley followed by the Night event. Eva Maierhofer did the Moors Valley day event followed by the night event. John Oakes did the Moors Valley day event followed by the Southern Nights at Dorking. Some just did the Moors Valley Night and some just did the Southern Nights! Movement in the Handicap league: Peter Suba up 2, Andy Snell up 3, Jason up 4, Tim Houlder, the victor at Moors Valley up 8. In the Non Handicap League, Andy and Jason up 1, Mike Frizzel up 2, John Oakes up 3 and Chris Branford up 5 on the back of Organiser points. A break of a couple of weeks now before the new Boscombe Chine area on Monday 7th Dec.

Monday 7th December,
Another interesting new area to run round. Ian Sayer used the odds/even ploy to make the best use of the area and with at least two runs up the zig-zags it kept everyone amused. Only the top nine getting all 25 controls in the hour. Tim Morgan was the deserved winner of the 40 participants. This number is about the norm for the Night League entries these days. A far cry from the 10 or 12 we were seeing only three or four years ago. Little change in either league table. I don’t think we will see much change now until after the end of January when those that have competed in 7 races start to tread water whilst others catch up. Next competition is the iconic Poole Town race on Monday 4 January with a new planner in Rob Hick. Looking forward to it Rob!

Saturday 19th December,
Monday 4th January,
Poole Town
After a short hiatus over the Christmas period, the league has now been updated to include Brighton on 19 Dec and last weekends excellent Poole Town race, handsomely won by Dale Paget (who could still retain his Non Handicap title if he attends enough races). In the League, Charlotte has certainly set out her stall and its up to the rest of us to catch her. Although there are still 7 races left there are probably only two or three real contenders likely to put in the heavy scores needed to overtake Charlotte. It could all go down to the last couple of events so make sure you get your entry in for Brownsea as the entry limit (I’m guessing 40) is likely to be reached. In the Non Handicap League Andy now leads having swapped places with Peter. Mike Frizzel is up 5 to forth and a little further down Ian Sayer up 18 places to 18th.

It was great to see so many people at the Poole Town Race. The little café was absolutely packed!
Rob’s planning included some previously unused sites – like the northern limit of Poole railway station and the centre of a large thicket! The latter took a little finding, although it was certainly safe from vandals!
One mis-placed control caused some competitors a little difficulty (not Rob’s fault), although I was fortunate that my chosen route choice took me straight to it, even if somewhat unexpectedly!
I was pleased with my result, particularly running with injury. Although, post race analysis shows I wasted 3 minutes accumulated over 5 legs. With my fitness starting to return, I am optimistic that when injury free and with my brain in gear I may be able to start to reverse my slide down the National rankings!
All in all, a great event enjoyed by all who attended. Even the (very) heavy shower of rain that gave pretty much all of us a bit of an early wash didn’t dampen the pleasure of exploring one of South’s interesting town centres. Here’s looking forward to next year. Dale

Thursday 14th January, Eastleigh 
The Cricketers Arms at Eastleigh was the welcome venue for the latest Wessex Night League race. Another excellent turnout of 42 hardy souls braved the usually cold evening. There was even a bit of ice on some of the paths in the parks. Colin Hicks provided an entertaining and mixed challenge, including some very wet and muddy bits. One of the early challenges was to work out how the double sided map fitted together. The answer was bottom right hand corner of A4 Portrait overlapping with top left hand corner of A4 landscape! Rob Finch won handsomely showing that there is no substitute for being young and fit but in second place was M60 Gavin Clegg, Andy Snell making up the podium. Ten races in, six to go and the two leagues are starting to sort themselves out. In the main Handicap League Charlotte Thornton is starting to tread water with her worst run of the season. Gavin has moved up four places to second with still one race in hand. With few others scoring in the 6 and 7 hundreds it looks like a battle between those two. Also moving up four places are Chris Branford to 4th and Rob Hick to 7th. The Non Handicap league is a little more complicated. Andy Snell in pole position seems best placed but only moved on 8 points at Eastleigh. Peter Suba in second failed to improve from Eastleigh allowing the pack to close up. A couple of good scores from Stu Southwick will see him very much in contention and don’t rule out John Oakes or even Jason Falconer if he has a few more runs like Shillingstone and Poole. Incidentally there are five runners who have been to all the races (Dorking and Moors Valley count as one as they were on the same night): Andy Snell, Jason Falconer, Charlotte Thornton, Eva-Marie Maierhofer and Mike Frizzel. Well done! There is a prize of a T shirt to the competitor that attends the most events.

Thursday 28th January,
Another Thursday night and another interesting urban event hosted by SOC and planned by Colin Hicks. This time the venue was Woolston, based in Southampton Sailing Club, which provided plenty of space and facilities including showers, changing and a bar. The A3 map covered the area from Weston Shore up to the North beyond the railway line and Itchen Bridge. The wooded parks between provided some surprisingly wild vegetation for an urban setting, making for some entertaining and varied orienteering (from open shore to tight alleyways). Only Calvin Routledge managed to collect all the controls in just over 57 minutes. Andy Snell collected 22 in 59:30 but they must have been the good ones, earning him 2nd place ahead of Stuart Southwick, coming in just outside the hour. Making that decision of when and which ones to leave is perhaps a skill that some of us will have to improve as we get older and slower. Tim Houlder?

The league will be updated on 12 Feb. Gavin Clegg

Monday 1st February,
The WIM event was based at the club house at Potterne Park, which provided changing rooms and a social area. The event used Chris Branford’s new map of the park plus part of Verwood, basically the urban area in between the North end of the Moors Valley map and the bottom of the Ringwood Forest North map, which means that should WIM wish to hold a Long-O, they can now link the two forests together in several places. The event attracted 50 competitiors including a few juniors running in pairs, on what was a dry but rather windy night.

Chris was fairly kind in his planning, bearing in mind that in February the weather could have been cold and unpleasant, and of the 46 finishers, the first 16 managed to visit all 25 controls within the 60 minutes allowed. Paul Pickering took only 38.35 for his run, closely followed by Peter Suba, with John Oakes, Andy Snell, James Crickmore & Stu Southwick around five minutes behind. Fastest lady on the night was Annie Crookshank in 46.20, just behind Stu. Jaime Mayol dropped his dibber half-way round his course, but fortunately, it was spotted and returned by another competitor.

All finishers received prize of a water bottle and/or goodies courtesy of Jo Pickering, who’s bike events company had surplus prize stock left over after a number of recent races. The event was marred when the last few competitors to start were affected by a missing control together with its gripple, abducted by aliens towards the end of the competition. Scores have been adjust to allow for this.”

Pouring down here in Shillingstone, and forecast to continue now until Sunday morning! – I bet its nice and warm where you are, although I remember that the time John Kewley went out to the Portuguese O-week for some warm weather training, he had snow. Dick Keighley

Saturday 6th February, Stonedown  
Due to the forecast of high winds.

Saturday 13th February, Upton 
What a cracking little event Tim Houlder put on for us. An extended Upton Country Park map and a twist on the odds/evens where you could transition between odds and evens as many times as you liked, provided you went to any one of the two transition controls betwixt the transition. Lots of standing around after the start trying to formulate a ‘plan’. Dale must have cracked it as he managed all the controls in just over 59 minutes. In effect Tim produced the perfect event, in that the actual scores – with Dale getting 500, didn’t have to be adjusted to 500 – thanks Tim, saved me some calculations. It was a tad damp underfoot mind you, but although only 3 degrees, because there was no wind, it didn’t feel that cold. Until you went to collect in controls that is!

In the League, with only two races to go, final positons are starting to emerge. For the Non Handicap race it is between three, Andy Snell and Peter Suba are just 30 points apart. Gavin could mathematically triumph but virtually needs to win both Brownsea and Southsea. Rob Hick and Tim Houlder are both doing extremely well and could still make third. In the Main Handicap League its all over. Whilst Gavin has scrabbled his way to second, even if he wins both Brownsea and Southsea, Charlotte will win by 4 points! So congratulations for the third year running to Charlotte.

The prize-giving for the 2015/16 League will be held on Saturday 2 April at Shillingstone. As well as the Female and Male Handicap Trophies and the overall Non Handicap trophy. There is a new prize this year for the person attending most events. Currently Charlotte Thornton, Andy Snell and Mike Frizzel have been to all the races to date – well done them.

Monday 29th February, Brownsea Island
Once again the magical Brownsea Island wove its spell. Many thanks to Eric Whapples for organising the whole thing and planning a challenging course. Due to changes of personnel on the Island the viability of the event was in doubt right up to Friday. But thanks to Eric’s contacts and skill, he got the green light. Chris Turner did well to get all the controls but at a cost of 13 minutes of penalty points! Congratulations go to winner Rob Hick as well as Annie Crookshank and James Crickmore who were a close second and third. Collecting in the controls after was very special as you had the Island almost entirely to yourself. Some pre entered competitors didn’t make it which was a shame as there was a waiting list. Don’t forget to get your entry for this event in early next year – you were warned back in early January that it would be ‘first come first served’.

In the League the winning Male and Female places are sown up but there is still plenty of jockeying for the minor places. Chris Branford has moved up to 4th, Julie Astin suffering from a lost dibber on Brownsea. In the Non Handicap League its between Andy Snell and Peter Suba. Andy has to be favourite, but if Peter wins and Andy scores less than 471 then the title’s Peters. Two new prizes this year: There will be a prize for the first lady on the Non Handicap and the winner for that is Annie Crookshank. There is also a prize for the person attending most events and the likely recipient this year being Charlotte Thornton.

The Prize giving will be combined with the WIM/WSX Annual Prize Giving and Social on Saturday 2nd April at Shillingstone Church Centre, near Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 0SW Pre entry only!!

Saturday 5th March, Southsea 
The last of the Wessex Region Night League took place on Saturday evening over at Southsea, thanks to SOC. It was a lovely evening, with a beautiful sunset over the water. The venue, as last year, was Sloppy Joe’s Pizza restaurant on the promenade, and most competitors had quite a feast after the event. Dale Paget was the winner, closely followed by Peter Suba – both of them getting all the controls in well under 60 minutes. Well done all. Julie Astin managed to finish dead on 60 minutes – more by luck than judgement I understand!

Wessex Region Night League 2015-2016 – Final Report Hearty congratulations to the winners: Charlotte Thornton of Sarum, Gavin Clegg of QO, Annie Crookshank of WIM and Andy Snell of Sarum. Charlottes win is her third in four years. New names snapping at her heals this year in Julie Astin and Mary Nixon. On the mens side Gavin Clegg managed to keep Chris Branford, last years winner, at bay, with Rob Hick in third. In the Non Handicap competition, included if you recall to give the M21’s a chance, its pleasing to see that this year, rather than an M50 its been won by an M40. Very well done Andy Snell, one place better than last year. Close second was Peter Suba just 12 points from victory. On the distaff side Annie Crookshank was first and a very creditable 10th overall. Second Eva-Maria Maierhofer and third Julie Astin. New for this year is a prize for the competitor who completes the most races. Charlotte Thornton has a full house attending all 14! (Dorking and Moors Valley count as one as they were on the same night). Close seconds with 13 races were Jason Falconer and Mike Frizzel. T shirts go to all three. The League goes from strength to strength. More races, more participants and closer results. Only one event was cancelled this year, due to adverse weather conditions. Leaving us with 15 races. This seems to be about the right figure and the numbers competing in seven or more events is quite significant. Handicap W Handicap M Non Handicap W Non Handicap M 1 st Charlotte Thornton 1 st Gavin Clegg 1 st Annie Crockshank 1 st Andy Snell Sarum QO WIM Sarum 2 nd Julie Astin 2 nd Chris Branford 2 nd Eva-Marie Maierhofer 2 nd Peter Suba Wessex WIM WIM Wessex 3 rd Mary Nixon 3 rd Rob Hick 3 rd Julie Astin 3 rd Gavin Clegg SOC Wessex Wessex QO Gavin Clegg League Co-ordinator.

Orienteering Club