South Wales, 9-10 September 2023

England Team Manager’s Report

The 2023 Senior Home International was hosted by the WOA. The individual race was held on Saturday 9th at Merthyr Common. The relays were held the following day on Clydach Terrace. The whole weekend was coordinated by Peter Ribbans of SWOC. Teams were accommodated in two separate locations, with the England team allocated the Penstar bunkhouse near Brecon. This was a very decent lodging but did mean long drives to the events and the Saturday night meal in Blaenavon. Unfortunately neither Ireland nor Wales were able to field complete teams. Therefore it was basically a two-way competition between Scotland and England with the result between Wales and Ireland largely decided by the number of competitors they managed to field. Very similar to last year (and the year before).

The whole weekend’s racing was extremely close between England and Scotland with points tied on both the Individual day and the Relays (and obviously overall). Therefore there was a lot of reference to the rules to determine the outcome. The tiebreak worked in Scotland’s favour for the Individual day so they were awarded the Dolgellau Bowl for the winner of the first day’s racing. England won the Relays after looking at 3rd placed teams (but no trophy for this). Overall, it was the 4th level of tiebreak that determined the outcome after England and Scotland were tied on the number of relay team wins, class wins and second placed relay teams. Scotland’s superior number of 2nd places in the Individual race gave them the overall trophy by the narrowest of margins. Wales beat Ireland by 18 points to 15 to take third place.

Day 1 Individual
Merthyr Common

  Men Women Overall
England 13 13 26
Scotland 13 13 26
Wales 3 5 8
Ireland 7 4 11

It was hot! The last day of a late summer heatwave with temperatures in the high 20’s. Thankfully the organisers had managed to provide a drinks station but wise competitors also carried their own liquids. The courses were long and times reflected both this and the high temperatures. Thankfully everyone came back safely and the whole English team completed their course.

The W21’s performed strongly, taking the top 3 places giving us a convincing win in this class. The M20’s also performed well with a particular shout out to Joe Sunley who beat James Hammond into 2nd place. This gave us another class victory. Unfortunately Scotland got the better of us in both W20 and M21. Nevertheless that was two class wins and two second places, an identical record to Scotland.

Day 2 Relay
Clydach Terrace

  Men Women Overall
England 12 14 26
Scotland 14 12 26
Wales 3 7 10
Ireland 4 0 4

Thankfully the heatwave had broken and there was even some occasional light rain. The relays certainly weren’t without controversy. There were a number of mispunches amongst the men’s teams and reports came back of controls closer together than the minimum of 30m allowed by the rules. Two Scottish teams were affected and one English team. With 2 teams from 3 to count, Scotland would have been seriously affected had the disqualifications stood. In this event they would likely have protested and, because the courses obviously didn’t comply with the rules, the protest would have been upheld. This would have left us in the very unsatisfactory position of having no results from the relay. The Controller asked that the Team Managers come to an agreement in order to avoid the need to void the courses. We decided that the least worst solution was to reinstate competitors who had punched a wrong control which was within 30m of their correct one. Obviously this was never going to be met with universal approval but was considered a pragmatic solution which recognised the hard work of a small band of volunteers who made the event happen. At the point this decision was made none of the Team Managers knew how it would affect the overall results. Incidentally, although there were also controls within 30m on the women’s course, no women mispunched.

Meanwhile back in the ‘forest’ there were many changes of position, particularly in the womens’s race, but in the end it was all very close once again. Scotland finished 1st and 3rd in the Men’s relay with England 2nd and 4th. In the Women’s relay the positions were reversed with England 1st and 3rd, Scotland 2nd and 4th (behind the 3rd non-counting English team). Another tie!

With scores equal in both the Relay and Individual races, the tiebreak rules were used to decide on a winner. First is the number of team wins across the relay and individual which was equal on 3 each. Next the number the number of individual wins: 2 each. Next the number of team second places: equal again. Finally the number of individual 2nd places determined the result with Scotland having 3 to England’s 1.

  Men Women Overall
England 25 27 52
Scotland 27 25 52
Wales 6 12 18
Ireland 11 4 15

Huge thanks are due to Peter Ribbans who co-ordinated the whole weekend and to SWOC for hosting the orienteering.

Charlie Adams
England SHI Team Manager