Forth Valley Orienteers proved that local (and perhaps insider) knowledge is the key success when they got the result they were looking for and won this year’s 11 person relay at Beecraigs Country Park, Linlithgow. Despite organising this year’s event, FVO still managed to put together a winning team which, perhaps controversially, included amongst others the event organiser and beat second placed Interlopers by almost ten minutes.
Roxburgh Reivers preparations for this event were hampered by several key squad members being on International duty and it was a depleted squad that made the journey to West Lothian. In addition to this, a shortage of female runners led to the RR team incurring a rather unfair twenty minute handicap and meant that some teams were already sending out their leg 2 runners before RR had even started.
However, despite the writing seemingly being on the wall, a solid start from club secretary Robert Cranston on the first leg saw Reivers pass ELO and come within striking distance of several other clubs.
In an event of two halves, a possible tactical error led to Orange 4th leg runner Alison McNeilly come in before Reivers remaining 3rd leg runners, John Tullie and Martin Sloan, had even started their legs. However, John (2nd place) and Robin Sloan (4th) managed to pull out top-drawer performances and Reivers continued to rise up the rankings.
Despite final leg runner Jim Knox starting in the mini-mass start at 14:30, Reivers finished a respectable 8th and at the end of the day the scalps of Tayside Orienteers and ESOC’s second team were the cherries on the cake. The full results and splits are available on the FVO Web site.
After the event, Roxburgh Reivers head-honcho Judy McNeilly refused to comment on speculation in the News of the World that, in an attempt increase the number of female first team runners, Roxburgh Reivers were close to the sensational signing of former British squad member and World Champion Yvette Baker on a Bosman transfer. In addition, rumours that club Technical Director John Tullie’s coat was on a ‘shoogly peg’ were hotly denied by club supremos, who rejected suggestions that they were poised to lure South Yorkshire Orienteers’ highly successful coach to the Borders.
Roxburgh Reivers Team (1-3-3-3-1): Cranston, A Tullie, Hall, L Knox, J McNeilly, Maxwell, R Sloan, A McNeilly, M Sloan, J Tullie, J Knox. Subs (unused): J McNeilly, S Tullie.