The Queensland Cyclones women continue on course for the state’s first senior team title in the SILVA National Orienteering League after extending their lead in the weekend’s rounds in the Northern Territory. With the deepest team at the events, they took maximum points from all three races to stretch the gap over the Victorian Nuggets from three points to nine.
Rachel Effeney led the way for the Cyclones, winning two of the three events despite not being totally over the illness that damaged her World Championships campaign. She took out the sprint comfortably over Kathryn Preston, and had another win over a Victorian in the long distance with a 1 1/2 minute margin over WOC long distance team-mate Aislinn Prendergast. Another Queenslander also had a presence here, with Anna Sheldon in front for much of the race before a mistake on the long, flat third-last leg dropped her to third.
It took an import to break the Queensland monopoly on the weekend. In the mass-start night event on Saturday evening, Malin Andersson put her Swedish night experience to good use and ended up winning a sprint finish against Bridget Anderson.
The men’s events were a duel between Matt Crane and Simon Uppill, with only Bryan Keely’s second in the sprint breaking the duopoly. Crane got off to a winning start in the Charles Darwin University sprint, but it was Uppill who had the better of the two Lok Cabay events, albeit by the narrowest of margins. On Saturday night he won by six seconds in a sprint finish, and on Sunday the margin was nine. In both races, junior Oliver Poland was the nearest opposition, finishing in the lead pack on Saturday night, and helping the already dominant Canberra Cockatoos to extend an overwhelming lead. Crane and Uppill look set to fight out the individual National League title with Crane taking a three-point lead to Tasmania in September, while Effeney will be very hard to beat from here amongst the women.
The event was a great success, with Top End Orienteers finding two excellent areas (and an outstanding assembly area on the beach for the sprint) and drawing an impressively good crowd.