----------------------------------- Blues Varsity, Wimbledon Common (01/12/07) ----------------------------------- Women (4 to score) Pos Name Team Time 1 Courtney Birch Oxford 24:24 2 Anna Anderson Cambridge 24:34 3 Cathy Ansell Oxford 24:38 4 Jess Leitch Oxford 24:56 5 Alison Crocker Oxford 25:01 6 Lucia Gibson Oxford 25:03 7 Emily Crowley Oxford 25:31 8 Laura Spence Cambridge 25:39 9 Angharad Porteous Cambridge 26:16 10 Polly Keen Cambridge 26:52 11 Harriet Owles Cambridge 27:18 12 Stella Deakin Cambridge 27:50 Oxford win Women's Blues, 13-29 Men (6 to score) Pos Name Team Time 1 Paulo Natali Cambridge 39:06 2 Ian Kimpton Oxford 39:19 3 James Kelly Cambridge 39:25 4 Owain Bristow Cambridge 39:29 5 Richard Franzese Oxford 39:45 6 Dave Bruce Oxford 40:01 7 Matt Armstrong Cambridge 40:17 8 Matt Grant Cambridge 40:46 9 Matt Clark Cambridge 40:54 10 Joe Mercer Oxford 41:08 11 Nick Howarth Oxford 41:35 12 David Yu Cambridge 41:40 13 Garrett Ash Oxford 41:55 14 Tom Douglas Oxford 42:06 15 Scott Knackstedt Cambridge 43:03 16 Jonny Pearson Oxford 43:45 Cambridge win Men's Blues, 32-47 Old Blues Race (10 to score) Pos Score Name Team Time 1 1 Martin Bishop Oxford 21:38 2 2 Nick Altmann Cambridge 21:42 3 3 Richard Hewitt Cambridge 22:30 4 Guest Matt Sims Oxford 22:33 5 4 Alex MacIntosh Cambridge 22:39 6 Guest Nat Erb-Satullo Cambridge 22:49 7 Guest Will Podley Oxford 22:54 8 5 Chris Daniels Oxford 23:07 9 Guest Nick Juravich Oxford 23:15 10 6 Steven Granger-Bevan Oxford 23:19 11 7 David Barker Cambridge 23:28 12 Guest Richard Mathie Cambridge 23:35 13 Guest Aiden Brown Cambridge 23:39 14 8 Simon Molden Oxford 23:41 15 Guest Jamie Darling Oxford 23:47 16 Guest Olly Hughes Oxford 24:00 17 Guest Liam Richardson Cambridge 24:20 18 9 Anthony Doolittle Oxford 24:35 19 Guest Katy Moore Oxford 25:02 20 10 Andy Robinson Oxford 25:14 21 Guest Oliver Jardine Cambridge 25:19 22 Guest James Gill Cambridge 25:24 23 Guest Ben Shields Cambridge 25:46 24 Guest Martin Bell Oxford 25:51 25 11 David Kirk Oxford 25:57 26 Guest Simon Giusert Cambridge 26:13 27 12 Emily Ferenzi Oxford 26:16 28 Guest Rachel Deegan Oxford 26:28 29 Guest Aiden Riley Cambridge 27:00 30 13 Claire Day Cambridge 27:01 31 14 Henk Altmann Oxford 27:22 32 Guest Laura Kyte Oxford 27:33 33 15 Jason Clark Cambridge 27:55 34 Guest Alex Fraser Cambridge 28:18 35 Guest Nathan Evans Cambridge 28:26 36 Guest Philip Scard Cambridge 32:23 37 16 Simon Rutherford Cambridge 32:30 38 17 Cathy Wood Cambridge 33:53 39 18 Alice Tozer Cambridge 33:54 40 19 David Jenkins Cambridge 34:32 41 Emma Figures Cambridge 36:16 42 Guest Mark Coley Cambridge 36:32 43 21 John Bryant Oxford 39:27 Oxford win Old Blues, 97-114 Report - Bryn Reynolds and Laura Kyte
Despite being pre-race favourites, particularly in the light of a depleted Cambridge team, Oxford's women- led by Captain Cathy Ansell, Courtney Birch, Ali Crocker, Lucia Gibson, Jess Leitch and Emily Crowley, a team of girls all familiar with the Wimbledon course- set out conservatively, tucking in behind the two leading Cambridge Blues. There is no cross-country race that is run more like a team race than Varsity, and the girls showed an excellent display of team running from start to finish. Still packed tightly together through the water jump and up the first climb, it was then Cathy Ansell and Courtney Birch who took the initiative and broke away from the second group along with Jess Leitch, leaving only Cambridge's Anna Anderson between the three Oxford girls. Close behind, Lucia Gibson had edged slightly ahead of Ali Crocker, with Emily Crowley not far in their wake...but already the Tabs were no-where to be seen.
All was going to plan as the lead group continued to break away, now leaving Birch, Ansell and Anderson in a fight for the medals. Things looked on target for an Oxford one-two, but there was a moment of panic as Oxford's captain took the wrong route, unaided by marshalls, and was forced to catch back up, which she did admirably, and to spectators, concerned by rumours that someone had gone the wrong way, it was as though nothing had happened. This unexpected burst of energy was inevitably felt by Ansell as she came into the run for home, just failing to catch back Anderson who held on for second behind an elated Birch, for whom this was her second Varsity victory. Jess Leitch, clearly in the form of her life, held on comfortably to 4th place, producing an incredibly strong run, and just behind a real battle took place in the last 200m between Ali Crocker and Lucia Gibson, who had worked together all throughout the race, with Crocker's final kick giving her the edge to propel her into 5th place. Emily Crowley proved she can always be counted on for a solid performance, despite a horrible bout of illness during the week, and finished a respectable 7th place, sealing one of the most convincing women's Blues victories in Varsity history.
Following the loss of Oxford legends Ben Moreau and Jonathon Blackledge from previous years this year was always going to be a tough race but the menís team showed their mettle with a fine performance from one of the youngest teams in recent history. The highly rated Cambridge trio of Bristow, Natali and Kelly set a fast pace from the start but Bruce, Kimpton and Franzese went with them. Further back the Tabs fast start had them in a prominent position early on with Nick Howarth staying with them and Joe Mercer attempting to bridge the gap with Ash, Douglas and Pearson opting for more conservative starts to the race whilst still staying in contact. The Cambridge trio upfront continued to push the pace until finally Natali broke clear and the pack of 6 disintegrated with Kimpton forging on and pulling clear of the two chasing for Cambridge whilst Franzese and Bruce were left slightly behind but putting in constant effort in case the Cambridge lads let up in the slightest. Howarth had succeeded in closing down on one of the tabs but a strong mid-race surge by Armstrong pulled him clear with Howarth then being isolated until Mercer caught him with mercer looking stronger the longer the race went on. Ash was left chasing Yu but was just unable to reel him in despite having played to his strengths and running the second half of the race powerfully with Douglas shortly behind. Unfortunately Oxford were unable to match Cambridge this year in the menís race, but the signs are looking extremely promising for next year with all of this team bar Douglas and Bruce in their first or second race ever for the Blues. Ian Kimptonís second place was a fantastic run and demonstrated perfectly the importance of getting it right on the day, storming past early season performers Bristow and Kelly. Franzeseís return to the Blues after a year out injured is a great boon and he looks set to continue his return to the form that took him to 14th in the world junior trials. Garret Ash, Nick Howarth and Jonny Pearson raced their hearts out in their Bluesí debuts and the experience will undoubtedly inspire them to victory next year. Mercer after illness last year showed his true calibre and Douglas returned to his familiar hunting ground with an excellent performance. Bruce remains the glue that holds the team together despite the loss of previous stars with a strong race despite having knee trouble in the weeks leading up to this race. We now look forward to revenge at BUSA XC, and with the potential to introduce Moreau, Blackledge and Bishop to the team, Cambridge will undoubtedly be running scared.
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