New Zealanders win Australian Relay Championships

New Zealand won the womens Australian Relay Championships today, while the Canberra Cockatoos claimed the mens race.

Hanny Allston started out for Tasmania on the first leg, and arrived home with a 4 minute lead over Amber Morrison of NZ. A standout performance from JWOC representative Belinda Lawford had the ACT second team in third place at this stage. Tasmania dropped out of contention on the second leg, and a steady run from Rebecca Smith gave the NZers an unassailable 6 minute lead going into the final change. Behind them, the battle for the resident title was going on between ACT (number 1 team) and Victoria. Jo Allison (ACT) and Kathry Ewels (Vic) departed for the final leg at the same time, and raced head to head for the entire course. Ultimately, it was Allison who held her nerve, taking 30 seconds out of Ewels on the 3rd last control.

Another JWOC representative starred for the ACT mens team, with 17 year old Lachlan Dow promoted to the number 1 team to cover for Dave Shepherd’s injury. Dow kept the strong ACT team in the mix, only 1 minute off Eric Morris’ (NSW) lead and in 4th place. From there it should have been plain sailing for ACT’s veteran campaigners, Grant Bluett and Rob Walter, but the fastest runs of the day from SA’s Ben Rattray and Simon Uppill nearly put a spanner in the works.  Uppill caught veteran Rob Walter (ACT) on the 5th control of the final leg, and again it was head to head racing for the rest of the way. In this case it came down to a simple sprint, and Walter won the day for ACT by the narrowest of margins.

RWSUSprint1

Rob Walter grimaces as he runs way from Simon Uppill in the finish chute.

Rob Walter grimaces as he runs way from Simon Uppill in the finish chute.

New Zealand won both the mens and womens junior races, with the residential title going to Queensland in both of those classes. Full results and splits now available.

The relays conclude a successful week of competition in Maryborough, Qld, and the end of a long Silva National Orienteering League.