event :: Scotland win SHI's *


scotland winners

18 months ago on the fields of Bannockburn a Scottish as near to full strength as possible fought like warrior poets and held off their English nemisis' to claim the SHI title for only the second time in the history of their competition.

This weekend the teams of the respective home nations descended on Magilligan Sands in N. Ireland, scene of the sun-blessed BOC '02, to do battle once more. None of the teams were full-strength, faced with apathy, unwillingness to travel and fixture clashes with World Cups, Junior European Cup (next weekend) and some non-o events. Scotland, for instance, only had one actual M21 in their team, while England only recruited Ed Catmur on Thursday evening.

Allan Bogle introduced a new format to the race, a clover leaf shaped course with four runners starting every two minutes meaning a very compact event and also fairer since everyone had to do at least one loop with no elephant tracks. The courses were on the long side, but everyone knew that from the final instructions and many people were actually surprised how long they were out for, saying it felt like a lot less.

The individual day was a triumph for Scotland who won 3 of the four classes. The English W20's scored a clean sweep with Alison O'Neil winning from Hazel Tant and Helen Gardner, but on W21 Sarah Dunn snatched victory from her team mate Janine Hensman, with England's Becky Carlyle in third place. On M21 Jon Musgrave took his 16th^ SHI victory from Murray Strain who was narrowly ahead of Jez Edwards. One of Englands real weak areas coincided with Wales's strongest: in M20 Duncan Coombs (Sco) had a comfortable victory but the next three positions were all Welsh Runners: Rhodri Buffet, Matt Jones and Rhys Finlay Robinson (first actual M20!).

So overnight Scotland held a 3-point lead over England and Wales had a similar lead over Ireland.

The relays were held some distance from Magilligan, closer to Belfast to allow teams a easier journey home. Initial worries about a filthy bramble-fest were quashed on the walk to the start-finish arena, based on a dam between two reserviors with a view over the water to a spectator control. Added Entertainment was provided by the bridge at the start kite which was only wide enough for one person - interesting in a mass start!

Things looked good initially for England as they led home the first leg with Duncan Archer and Karen Heppenstall. However they were closely followed by Duncan Coombs and Kirsten Strain. Duncan handed over to Jon Musgrave who was up against Matt Dickinson, and from this point on it was pretty much game over for England as Jon opened up a 6 minute lead by the spectator control and gave Murray Strain a comfortable lead to cruise round the final leg. A closer battle was seen for second place. James Tullie (Sco), Rhodri Buffet and Chris Sellens (Eng) all started together, and James and Rhodri were still together at the spectator, and while Chris dropped off the pace Rhodri and James appeared together at the last control. Rhodri's speed showed on the long run-in and he took silver - with two M18s in the team - while Scotland 2 took bronze, with a team consisting of a M18, M20 and an M40! Even more surprisingly was when Marcus Pinker led Ireland home to a famous victory over England who had to settle for 5th.

England managed to hold on in the Womens relay, where Alison O'Neil scored her second victory of the weekend. there was another battle for silver here too, however it was a little less competitive as it was between two Scotland teams, a battle which secured Scotland the Relay and Overall titles.

Final results:
Scotland 68 points*
England 43 points*
Wales 30 points*
Ireland 23points*

Photos available from official photgrapher Wattok at thenopesport gallery

Individual Day Results



jon musgrave - day 1 victor

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