Hurstwood, 8-9 September 2018

England Team Manager’s Report

The 2018 Senior Home International was hosted by Pendle Forest Orienteers on behalf of the NWOA and EOC. Both individual and relay races were held on Hurstwood, an area of open moorland near Burnley boasting large areas of complex old mine workings. The whole weekend was coordinated by George Crawford-Smith of PFO. George and his team provided a top class weekend of racing with ideal accommodation for all four Home Nations at the Whitehough Outdoor Centre in Barley.

In the Individual race Scotland convincingly won the M21 class. All the other classes were much closer. England won W21 from Wales with Scotland in third place. England won W20 but the running times of the two English and two Scottish counters were all very close. M20 was a tie between England and Scotland. This gave England a 4 point lead over Scotland overnight with Wales and Ireland tied for third and fourth. The following day England took maximum points in the Relays with first and second places in both the Men’s and Women’s relay. Scotland suffered both a mispunch and a retiral due to injury which meant they only had a single team finish the Women’s relay. This gave England a very convincing win in the Relay and a large overall winning margin of 57 to 40 points. Thus the SHI trophy, reclaimed from the Scots in 2017 after a 7 year drought, was retained by England. Ireland took the Celtic Cup thanks to their superior performance compared to Wales in the Women’s relay.

Day 1 Individual

The course planning was universally agreed to be excellent, making best use of the detailed areas whilst minimizing time in the man-eating tussocks. The weather was not perfect with rain for the bulk of the competition period. The cloud remained just high enough not to affect visibility across the area. Despite this there were many navigational errors made which helped make the results less predictable. The winners still managed to beat the Planners predicted times with some high class performances. Those further down the results will not, however, be complaining that the courses were too short!

The top three W21s (Cat Taylor ENGLAND, Hollie Orr SCOTLAND and Megan Carter-Davies WALES) were in a class of their own. There was a 10 minute gap between 3rd and 4th place but Kim Baxter and Alice Leake were best of the rest, giving England a clear win in this class. The Welsh W21s also performed excellently, pushing Scotland down to third thereby reducing their points tally by an extra 2 points. In W20 Laura King ran cleanest and, as a result, came out on top with Fiona Bunn in second giving England maximum points. The M21 class is where Scotland is usually strongest and this year was no exception. Scottish athletes filled the first three positions to win this class but with England comfortably in second place. Matt Fellbaum ran well to win M20 by 4 minutes. Scottish athletes finished 2nd and 3rd with Alasdair Pedley in 4th and therefore the points were shared equally in this class. England finished the day on 27 points to Scotland’s 23 and therefore won the Dolgellau Bowl for the leading team after the first day’s competition.

Individual Team Results

  Men Women Overall
England 12 15 27
Scotland 14 9 23
Ireland 7 5 12
Wales 5 7 12

Day 2 Relay

Though the same area as the Individual competition, good course planning meant this didn’t present any problem. All relay legs were taken around Hurstwood Reservoir and into the runnable woodland below, providing easier running before a final loop in the detailed mine workings. The weather was an improvement on the previous day with the rain holding off until the prize giving. Once again the complex workings provided a tough technical challenge and a number of navigational errors help determine the results.

The Men’s relay started first with the Women going off 10 minutes later. In the Men’s relay it was all pretty tight after the first leg with Ben Mitchell of Wales just beating England’s Aidan Rigby into first place. However the top Scottish teams and second placed English team weren’t far behind. The relay was effectively won and lost on the second leg. Most of the Scottish runners made navigational errors whilst Matt Elkington and Will Gardner kept it clean to set the third legs off with a clear lead. Peter Bray and Jonny Crickmore coolly finished off the job to give England first and second place and maximum points. Scotland were 3rd and 4th.

Meanwhile in the Women’s relay the top Welsh team was setting the pace with great runs from Megan Carter-Davies and Anwen Darlington on the first two legs. Unfortunately for them they were lacking a third leg runner to match and dropped off severely on the last leg. Laura King was again the steadiest of the English first leg runners coming back just 4 minutes behind Megan with Fiona Bunn a few minutes further back. Nothing much changed on the second leg, except (as it transpired later) one of the Scottish teams punched an incorrect control, meaning that it was important that their other two teams completed the race. Starting the third and final leg the Welsh team was way ahead (but with a known weaker runner out on the course) with all to play for between England and Scotland. Both countries had decided to put their most experienced athletes on the final leg and it turned out to be a battle between the two W40s, Claire Ward and Kim Baxter. Cat Taylor went out around 5 minutes behind the leading Scottish and English teams, a gap which was bridgeable for an athlete of her class. At the spectator control, with less than a kilometre to go, Kim and Claire were together with Cat very close behind. The Welsh third leg runner, who had gone out in the lead, having been passed by all of them. The race for the finish line was on! Cat cruised past the two older ladies to take the win. Claire made a small miss allowing Kim to pull ahead, a lead she wasn’t going to relinquish. Therefore another 1-2 for England with Scotland in third place. Unfortunately the third leg runner for the remaining Scottish team suffered an injury and could not complete the course. This left England with a flatteringly large margin of 30 points to Scotland’s 17 in the relay and a 17 point winning margin overall.

Relay Team Results

  Men Women Overall
England 15 15 30
Scotland 11 6 17
Ireland 5 9 14
Wales 5 3 8


  Men Women Overall
England 27 30 57
Scotland 25 15 40
Ireland 12 14 26
Wales 10 10 20

Accommodation and travelling

All four teams were accommodated at the Whitehough Centre in Barley. The accommodation was catered from Saturday morning trough to Sunday morning with the exception of packed lunches which the team made themselves. With a couple of exceptions, team members were all able to travel to the event by car from various parts of the UK. Thanks are due to those able to offer lifts to those without their own transport.

Huge thanks are due to George Crawford-Smith who co-ordinated the whole weekend and to Pendle Forest Orienteers for hosting the weekend. Also to event organiser Helen Ashton and accommodation liaison Bridget Jardine.
My thanks also to the England team members for advice and generally helping to make my job easy over the whole weekend.

Charlie Adams
England SHI Team Manager