Perhaps the main headlines from the final Hampshire Cross Country League fixture at Hudson's Field, Salisbury on Saturday 11 February are Bridget Dence's win, which sealed her position as the U13 Girls' Champion for the season, third overall positions for the season for the Senior Mens' and U17 Mens' teams, and individual placings of 7th for Ian Habgood and 9th for Jacek Cieluszecki (Senior Men), 7th for Josh King (U17 Men) and 11th for Corrie Norton (U15 Boys).
Many congratulations to Bridget, who has performed consistently well throughout the Cross Country season (not just in the Hampshire League), and having won most of the U13 Girls' races, including at Salisbury, thoroughly deserves her position as Hampshire League Champion for her age group.
In the Senior Mens' competition, BAC went into the race at Salisbury second team overall, but it was always going to be a big ask to retain that position. Fixture clashes meant that we were unable to field our strongest team, although Jacek, despite the fact that he was scheduled to compete in the Bramley 20 mile race the next day, displayed his strength over the country yet again, finishing 17th. Second BAC was club captain Simon Munro who, considering he is returning from a recent injury, and had hardly been training at all for some time, did extremely well to finish 40th. Third and fourth BAC placings were taken up by an expanding contingent of Bournemouth University students who are joining our ranks, namely Laurence Plant and Paul Hindle, and completing the League team was Simon Hunt. Mention should also be made of Andy Gillespie, who competed at Salisbury, despite planning to run the 21 mile cross country Meon Valley Plod the next day!
So it was that BAC Senior Men slipped from second to third aggregate position for the season, still an excellent result of which we can be proud, and it is interesting to look at the figures to see what the possibilities were. The aggregate position is calculated by totting up the placings achieved by each team in each race, in BAC's case that added up to 14 points. If that produces a tie, the positions of the teams in the tie are determined by the aggregate totals of the individual members of the team. Aldershot Farnham & District (AFD) were always going to win, but second position was between BAC and Southampton Athletic Club (SAC). After the final fixture, SAC had accumulated 13 points. At Salisbury, SAC were the winners on the day, AFD for once coming second, Winchester & District (W & D) were third, and BAC fourth. Team positions on the day are calculated by adding up the finishing placings of the five members of the team, and at Salisbury that was a total of 223 for W & D, and 300 for BAC. If we had beaten W & D at Salisbury, and finished third, our aggregate points would have been 13, the same as SAC. So, to have finally finished second, above SAC, our aggregate totals for the season for our individual team members would have had to have been lower than SAC's. Our best aggregate total was 82 (at Farley Mount). If we had repeated that at Salisbury, our total for the day would have been 218 (300 - 82), which would have made our aggregate individuals' total for the season 503 (as opposed to 721). SAC's aggregate individuals' total for the season was 462, so they would still have been the second team for the season overall. Even if, Dear Reader, you are completely lost by the figures, the point is that, even if we had repeated our strongest performance at Salisbury, and perhaps at Kings Park, where SAC were very strong, we would still have finished in third place behind SAC, so it's fair to say that BAC Senior Men did achieve their potential in the Hampshire League this season, and are to be congratulated. And it's worth remembering that not so long ago we were yo-yoing between Divisions 1 and 2!
BAC's U17 Mens' team is also to be congratulated on a fine season, finishing third team on the day at Salisbury, and third for the season. Josh King didn't compete at Salisbury, but his fine runs in the other fixtures resulted in a 7th position overall for the season - an excellent achievement. That is to take nothing away from the other team members - only a team effort can produce the excellent season's result which was achieved. Corrie Norton has also had a very good consistent season, and is to be congratulated on finishing as 11th individual U15 Boy. Glen Balfour again ensured that the BAC flag was flying in the U13 Boys'race.
17. Jacek Cieluszecki 32.28; 40. Simon Munro 34.47; 70. Laurence Plant 37.25; 73. Paul Hindle 37.40; 100 Simon Hunt 40.36; 103. Ian Graham 40.54; 107. Joe Price 41.33; 135. Andy Gillespie.
10. Jamie Grose 18.41; 12. David Long 18.47; 18. Jo Arundel 19.39; 22. Brendan Kirkton 20.22.
12. Corrie Norton 14.27.
32. Glen Balfour 12.49.
1. Bridget Dence 8.47.