Co. Fermanagh, N. Ireland, 9-10 September 2017

England Team Manager’s Report

The 2017 Senior Home International was hosted by Fermanagh Orienteers on behalf of the NIOA. The individual race was held at Florcencecourt/Gortalughany, a mix of open limestone and peat moorland with a short section of forest to finish. The relays were held at the Castle Saunderson Scout Camp on the N. Ireland/EIRE border. The whole weekend was organised and coordinated by Teresa and Raymond Finlay of FERMO. Teresa and Raymond and their team provided a top class weekend of racing with ideal accommodation for all four Home Nations at the Share Discovery outdoor activity Centre near Enniskillen.

In the Individual race England convincingly won the W21 and W20 classes with Scotland in second place. Scotland narrowly won the M21 class from England by a single placing. Scotland convincingly won M20 with England second. This meant the scores were level overnight with Ireland in third and Wales fourth. England however won the Dolgellau Bowl after a count back of first placed non-scoring runners. The following day England took first and fourth place in the Women’s relay (with Scotland 2nd and 3rd) and first and third in the Men’s relay (with Scotland 2nd and 4th). This gave England a 27 to 25 point victory in the relay and therefore the overall victory for the first time since 2010. Ireland cemented their third place finish, comfortably beating the Welsh.

Day 1 Individual

After a steep climb to the start, the courses started straight onto the exposed open moorland. The weather was threatening and the organisers decided that waterproofs should be carried/worn. No one was arguing with this decision, although in the end, the rain held off and conditions were not too bad. However previous heavy rain had left the terrain very wet underfoot which made for heavy going. The top athletes were still able to produce some very fast times and the M20 winning time was somewhat on the short side. The M21 course was 13.5km with Graham Gristwood winning in exactly 90 minutes.

The English W21s performed brilliantly with all four counters finishing in the top 6. Jess Tullie of Scotland won with Cat Taylor second, Tessa Strain third, veteran Kim Baxter fourth and Alice Leake sixth. This gave England a convincing win in the W21 class. It was much closer in the M21 class: Scotland narrowly edging England into 2nd by 49 points to 48. Unfortunately the points which matter are the team scores which are based on the team position in each class. Therefore honours were shared across M21 and W21. Honours were also shared across the junior (M/W20) classes. In W20 Alice Rigby and Cecile Andersen finished first and second giving England a convincing win. In M20 Alexander Chepelin (Scotland) won convincingly with Matt Fellbaum in third and Nathan Lawson 6th. This left the English M20’s in second place behind the Scots. After summing the team scores England and Scotland were tied on 26 points each. However, England won the Dolgellau Bowl for the leading team after the first day’s competition after a countback of 5th and 3rd placed runners.

Individual Team Results

  Men Women Overall
Scotland 15 11 26
England 11 15 26
Ireland 7 5 12
Wales 3 5 8

Day 2 Relay
Castle Saunderson

The terrain for the relay was very different to the individual race and presented different challenges. The area was mostly wooded with some open areas and vague contour detail with many areas of dark green forest meaning the straight line wasn’t often the fastest route. Courses were well planned with enough gaffling to split runners. Leg winning times were close to the recommended 40 minutes. The rain held off until after all the leading teams had finished.

The Men’s and Women’s relay started together. This is unusual but there is nothing in the Rules giving guidance on relay start times. The top English Women’s team (Alice Rigby, Cat Taylor and Tessa Strain) were first back after Tess held off Jess Tullie on last leg. The second team was well placed with Alice Leake setting off in 4th place and in with a good chance of overhauling Rona Lindsay on last leg. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be and Alice finished fourth behind two Scottish teams. This meant the points were shared between England and Scotland in the Women’s relay.

The Men’s relay provided the greatest excitement. After good runs from Matt Fellbaum and Chris Smithard, Graham Gristwood went out on last legs a few seconds behind the leading Scottish team. Graham, reliable as ever, overhauled a tiring Alasdair McLeod to take an apparently easy victory. Behind Graham it looked like Scotland were heading to 2nd and 3rd place to mirror the result in the Women’s relay. However Jonny Crickmore, running last leg for the second England team, was not giving up. He’d made up about 1 minute of the 3 minute deficit to the Scottish team in front by the time he came through the spectator control. With a small loop of just 800m to the finish another tie was looking likely (in which case 3rd placed teams would have decided the outcome). However, much to everyone’s surprise, Jonny appeared first on the run-in after Mark Nixon missed in the final loop. This put England in 1st and 3rd (to Scotland’s 2nd and 4th), giving England victory in the relay and deciding the overall result. An English victory for the first time since 2010 (which was held in the south of England), reversing last year’s loss by a single point.

Relay Team Results

  Men Women Overall
England 14 13 27
Scotland 12 13 25
Ireland 7 5 12
Wales 3 5 8



  Men Women Overall
England 25 28 53
Scotland 27 24 51
Ireland 14 10 24
Wales 6 10 16

Accommodation and travelling

All four teams were accommodated at the Share Discovery Centre, an outdoor activity centre near Enniskillen. The accommodation was fully catered from Saturday morning trough to Sunday morning with packed lunches provided each day. Team members took flights to various airports in Northern Ireland/EIRE with onward travel by hire car.

Huge thanks are due to Teresa and Raymond Finlay who co-ordinated the whole weekend and to FERMO for hosting the weekend.
My thanks also to the senior England team members for advice and generally helping to make my job easy over the whole weekend.

Charlie Adams
England SHI Team Manager