Thursday, October 13, 2011


The WHO master of the dungeon, James 'Big Mac' McQuillan, produced a 'with fries' corker last night at Cumberland Hospital. In this great area for summer series fun, 160 plus punters strapped on the nose bag as they fronted the till in a very busy assembly location. And what did they discover? An awesome course proposal from James that even he thought would be beyond us - and so it proved, with an inverted V offering that mirrored the course of Toongabbie Creek itself (reminding many of idyllic holidays on Lake Como), and forced decisions of 'south' or 'west' but not much hope of both. There was even a northern collect that added to the puzzle.

So, let's look more closely at this toughie from the 'King of Scotland'.

An initial route south looked tempting, although there was quite a street run with nothing to show for it before a tenner slipped into the trouser. Proceeding further, you soon became aware of the very tricky, and time consuming, siting of #27 and its attendant out-of-bounds hatching, before a sweep west ended with the 8 or 9 decision on the way back north. 28 pulled you back unless you had cunningly done a Larry with this pot.

Taking the 'doing time' route also looked an early tempter. This appealed to all with relatives inside, as you could call over the wall to incarcerated loved ones as you flew by to #21 - and then worked a bit of creek stuff as you pulled on the afterburner and cruised west along the 'Toon'. The question with those runners wearing the stripes, was do we go up to that beautiful and lonely forty points (22 & 4), or do we just flog on along the creek and hope the second crossing is closer than it looks.

Many others liked to do a bit of fishing on their course, and so trundled off to #30 on the wharf before throwing in a line and cogitating on further potty progress - or waiting for a Murry River cod to surface. The nearby direct westerly bridge route adjacent to #30 then opened some good pencil work in either clockwise (13,29) or anti clockwise (5,17,28) directions, before runners were then flung into direction decision and distance estimations - difficult without the Graeme Hill patented abacus in hand. One route that had many on the puff linked the 5,17,28 start with a grassy beat to 18 before checking into Westmead for a knee X ray and some nice, almost sprint O, work amongst the buildings (try 16,25,6,hole in fence,24,15 - before the return leg - and nailing the checkpoint of the night, number 23 on the old railway line/bridge abutment. Where did this line go, wondered the legions of orienteers that are also big train buffs (aren't we all?). A beautiful feature of Toongabbie, and well selected by The Macster. Another ripper that had the mile a minute brigade temporarily stalled, was the elevated #29 that was 'up there' and not where many assumed. One of those classic Sprint O locations that worked nicely on the 1:4,000, but bought on thinkers nappy rash at 1:10,000.

The event spread was a wide one indeed, and without knowing final scoring (the Pork had to dash off early without committing the 2B to paper), he doubts if anyone managed to complete both of the creek legs - and also scratch the groin in a northern round up. We will no doubt see as scores are posted. I might be very suprised!

Looking at the course with a Pimms in hand, the lonely pot might well to be #8 (26-9 working much better), although the northern double (22/4) might also be up for it given most seemed to be staying close to the hospital side of the creek. I also recall losing time in the creek/bare rock areas around #3 and #2 on previous occasions and was wary of including them in my plan. I did look across the creek from #13, and thought, soberly, mmmm, no, I don't think this is a goer Rosscoe!

So, in the absence of any score reports, we will just have to wait and see how everyone went. Two interesting changes to age categories, are Eoin Rothery owning (I know, I know James) up to turning 55 this year and so lining up in the SVM category - and giving The Wazza a bit of post operative curry. Also, we note from last week, that 'Freedom Furniture' has moved on well oiled rails to the Vets category and took the points over Michael 'Things Stuck in Sheep Wool' Burton at Balls. Go Mr Free, and welcome back to the series. Pork Pie has also 'suffered' the indignity of a certain birthday, and crawls on all fours into the Legends category. We will wait and see if he can keep up prior form amongst this group of angry and insane pensioners.

Lots of action at assembly as I mentioned, with Presi Paul selling Si sticks and gathering the casual forms. The new entry charges are becoming understood, with several commitments to joining clubs noted on the night - very worthwhile when you add up the extra costs costs over the season, and the Si stick having long, long term benefits. Especially as it looks like most of the rest of the series will be Si based - as next weeks definitely will. Speaking of which.....

Event three, a mere six days away, should be a beauty - with Terry 'Grandpa' Bluett leaving the slippers beside the heater as he plans a flog to remember. Previous courses here have put a toe into the bush, before drawing runners down, down and further down the hill before the inevitable upsey return. Testing stuff on the streets, but imagine The Tezza promising more bushy material this time - including the angophora embrace and the cliff line tango! Whooo, hooo, sound yum - and sounds exactly the sort of event we dream about. Streets, parks, creeks, bush tracks, cliff lines and discombobulating areas of bare rock (not an in joke I assure you). What more can the dedicated SSS addict want. Be there!

Finally, before I blog out, another reminder of the new SSS fee structure. Orienteering club members continue to pay $10/$8 for senior/junior entries, where casual, non-club runners pay an extra $3 ($13/$11). Also note that the now (almost) mandatory Si scoring system requires the use of an Si stick which can be bought at a discount this month at all events ($40), but will continue to available for casual hire for $4. Best buy one if you intend to run lots of SSS and any of the other fab series coming up.

That's it sports fans, the Porkie retires to the blue corner where a light soup is being served (naturally, with appropriate bib-ware). See you at the Dam.


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