Many thanks to Rachel for the latest match report.
And so it was, on the first sunny afternoon that Oxfordshire has seen in many a month, Team Witney assembled. Inside.
Juliet was first to put trainer to the track, leading the U11 girls obstacle teams out with a determined performance, a spirit passed on by the girls all the way through the two races and finally to Georgie who pulled back to win the second heat. They were followed by the boys who had a convincing race throughout, Embry crossing the line for victory.
The U13 girls were assured of second and third and so it proved to be with the white vests demonstrating near perfect synchronisation through the high steppers and speed bounce. The U13 boys also took third in their heat with something of a difference in the personalities of the athletes showing through – Alfie’s cool focus as he stared ahead, Tom P actually getting airborne on the forward roll, Fraser’s thundering sprint and Ed steaming through to bring the team home.
Onto the sprints with consistent showing from the U11 girls followed by a blitz from the boys: James third (although with the second fastest time for Witney) and Tom, Archie & Ned all winning their heats, with some serious running faces on display. Alex & Bethany came second for the U13 girls, in an event where we saw Banbury break the county record, and eyes turned to the bench where Ed and Tom P were waiting. Hang on, Tom P??? But the list said Jack… and there he was! With literally seconds to spare, shedding clothes in a quick change that would make Clark Kent blush, with a quick handover and a word of goodwill from a fairly relieved looking Tom, Jack was on the start. The U15 girls’ races were fast and furious, Edie & Jess second in their heats and Thea, Molly and Skye completing a Witney 1 2 3 to bring the first track session to a close.
Although they are small and high up Bicester does at least have windows, providing tantalising glimpses of a sunny afternoon. But no time for daydreaming as the coaches took to the arena to officiate the jumps. At the same time Maisey was setting a new PB for speed bounce, Martha, Ed, Molly and Rebecca were doing the same for long jump.
Back now to the track for the longer distances, a quieter affair before the raucous relays. Orla and Mia took first overall for U11G 3 lap with some pretty convincing running, with Martha and Macy, Will and Tom following suit to earn maximum points in the four lap races in the U13s.
Another reshuffle around the room for the second batch of field events, and a clutch more PBs: Lily, Grace, Lizzie, Elena, Embry and Jessica in the speed bounce, Rebecca, Martha, Skye, Ed and Fraser for the shot putt. Officials were taking life in their hands to hand in results as the javelins were flying wildly, including one trick shot where a Witney athlete hit the ceiling, promoting some consideration on how to score it (foul as it turns out).
By now the blue sky was softening into a grey, and the triptych cloudscapes were wispy, the day was drawing to a close. As ever the paarlauf brought its rewards with Alex & Bethany taking maximum points. The U15G event was a whirlwind of tumbling athletes and flying batons (although let’s take nothing away from the Lily and Edie for their first place finish).
The relays provided a final burst of noise and fury as the athletes tore up and down the hall, the baton (mostly) passed safely until with a final cross of the line match 5, which is actually match 4, was done.
With match 4 (actually match 5) in our sights, where are we? Well, the U11s are in a strong second, U13 (boys and girls) & U15 girls in 1st. All to play for, the game is afoot.
Full results for the competition can be found here.
Finally, a big well done to first timers Grace & Poppy, and thanks to the officials and coaches for giving up their Sunday afternoon to make the magic happen.