Adams Avery relay win
A Relay Good Performance
The last time we won Bristol's relay competition was in 2010. Jeff Pakes produced the following report in the QuOnicle (no 132) at the time.
A relay good performance
A QO relay team triumphed over several South West clubs including the holders and favourites Wessex by winning Bristol’s historic Adams Avery Trophy at Leigh Woods on Sunday.
Led by Jim Mallinson, the “Quality Orienteers” team lived up to its billing with a narrow win over the holders of both BOK’s trophy and the SW Summer Series, who rely on the UK no.1 M55 and World Masters silver medallist Gavin Clegg and Dale Paget (the 6th-ranked M45).
Running Green on the first leg, Brian Pearson maintained perfect concentration and speed through the samey, contour-less woodland to keep within striking distance of Dale, only to come unstuck on control 13. Losing six minutes searching for a partially overgrown depression, Brian handed over to me with 41 minutes gone with Gavin some nine minutes ahead on leg two.
Like Brian, I was lacking recent experience of orienteering in forest and took the wrong path on Light Green at a fork near the start. I realised I would have to concentrate hard to compensate for a lack of ‘match fitness’. Then I overshot number three and lost three minutes. Taking advantage of easy running afforded by the numerous, snake-like and sometimes unmapped cycle paths, I inadvertently found myself 10m from the control having unsuccessfully tried to ‘aim off’ to its W. I haplessly carried on E for 150m before a fence loomed ahead, revealing my mistake and forcing a retreat along a chain of pits and depressions which I had earlier inspected one-by-one.
Some path running followed but interest picked up again halfway through. Close contact with the map became essential as did identification of catching features. This restricted my speed but also my capacity for making mistakes and I felt vindicated when I encountered an exasperated pair circling, but not finding, a straightforward control at 11.
According to Brian, QO had overtaken three rival clubs as I handed over to M60 Jim on 75 minutes, but Jim would have to ‘run a blinder’ on Light Green to catch up with Wessex, who had raced 14 minutes ahead despite Gavin making “seven minutes’ worth” of errors!
Even so, we reckoned Jim’s recent experience of Leigh Woods during a low-key BOK event in May might prove useful, for example his knowledge of the run-ability of various areas and useful crossing points in walls and bridges.
Meanwhile, Brian and I engaged in friendly banter with Gavin (brother of QO’s Neil) with Gavin telling us his third runner, a veteran (team selection required a mixture of ages), was now overdue. We weren’t expecting Jim in for at least 10 minutes. But when a runner appeared on 105 minutes, it was a tired-looking Jim. His Wessex rival followed a minute or two behind. We suppressed our delight for some tantalising moments. Jim looked neither happy nor elated- had he mis-punched? Brian delicately enquired. No, the victory was ours!
Gavin congratulated us and joked that should QO still be in contention to win the series by the time of the Hardy Relay at Poole on the 25th which he is to organise, he will make sure we get the wrong maps.
Jim is now proud keeper of the 43-year-old trophy, back in our hands after many years away and one of the first competed for in the early days of orienteering in the region.
If you would like to participate in this summer relay series, please contact acting club captain Mike Crockett. We have provisional line-ups for most fixtures but cover is often required and despite our happy start to the series, the emphasis tends to be on fun and camaraderie rather than winning.