Thursday, October 25, 2012


Without so much as a nod to the 'soft weather' from the homeland, the Sydney Summer Series caravan found another perfect spring afternoon at which to tarry over a pint or two, and enjoy the calling from the land of poets. The Bennelong crew, masquerading as the Tullamore Orienteering Club, put up a classic evening on the medicine in a magic area of Sydney - mystically transported from Eire, probably by a man with a long beard many moons ago.

Chief BNO harpist, Darren 'Oh Danny Boy' Slattery had the large gathering enthralled as he sang the well known Irish ballad beneath the waving green flags... and collected the dosh. And a large gathering it was too, with 187 entries and around another twenty groupies to nudge us once more over the two tons. Good work Syd er nee. We know how to party.

So, let's go behind the scenes at Killarney Heights, and its recreation of an Irish haven, and analyse event four in the race of the century.

As I mentioned, another nice evening - for which blessings Father. Then, the new Killarney location adjacent to the 'going down of the sun', gave us a fabulous parking/assembly area facility that opened up the north of the map to runners that may not have made it here from the smaller Starkey Street starts of prior years. That winning combo - nice weather, and new territory!

The Banjo bought another well branded BN map in landscape format with nice borders. The War Memorial Park yellow occupied the north west, with the similarly coloured 'Starkers' in the lower centre. The streets of old Ireland weaved around, many declining to join their neighbours and opting for cul-de-sac intimacy. Bate Creek was a horizontal slash in the middle and to the east, where it teamed up with the green fields of Galway before emptying into the Irish Sea, errr, Middle Harbour. All in all a vision splendid, with a full hand sweep of controls across the area and a touch of contour to add sobriety to expectations.

First thoughts went to the attractive sweep to the west and south, where six or seven of the thirty pointers could be bagged in a delicate swan dive with pirouette. Another route involved a touch of Forestville shopping, linking the initial tenner to 12,29,2,28 and the bush track work to 26,13 and 14. Reports are of good running here, although #13 was at the maps lowest point, and probably was for those horses that hadn't argued with Gai Waterhouse that morning.

Beginning then to 11 or 20(11) found many fans, and was probably the route of choice as you beeped your way along from 27 to 15, along Ballyshannon to 24, up Finian to 5, 25 and along Wicklow to16 to a bit of Starkers and clock quandry. The decision at #16 to return high to #18 or to run low there was a nice mini route choice experience. 'The Christmas Tree' went back high, but couldn't be drawn into the cool embrace of #6, despite its proximity to those flying by. This ten pointer was an in-out offering that could work from top or bottom, but probably got ignored by both in favour of the delicious 16,18,21,7,22 collection. Most three and above runners could make it to the 18/21 area, as did Jimmy Merchant (walking 5.2 klms for his tidy 330), before deciding on a return pattern. Those with a few Kilkenny's on board, worked the broad gauge track further east from 21, to bag 17,8,23 before returning to the cricket nets at 22 and the dipsey work to 30/19.

One story I like to relate is from Jeremy 'Long Drop Lodge' Longworth, who had flouro textered a southerly circuit onto his map, but changed his mind at the starting gun and went north! The Summer Series has that effect sometimes, and for Jezza, a tidy 390 resulted for the Veterans decision to go clockwise. I suspect the 'green' pots around Bate Creek would have appealed more to the full bag crew, although more work in the bush and on bush tracks is something we are all hoping to see more of where an area can oblige. Jeremy reports the tracks in the 26/13 area were great running.

Given the northern circuit alluded to, and the large following for the west/south novel by Brendan Behan, I suspect checkpoint #1 might have been our lonely pot, although #9 along Londonderry Drive also fell a little outside the south circuit - unless you were working up from the creek at #14 and were going 14,9,23,8 etc. I think I'll stick with number one.

So, the spread of flags (nice and clear Darren) looked like it might go close to a 600 evening, with maybe the contour work up from the creek being the tick tock factor. Therefore it is pleasing to report that Glenn Horrocks put up a full board in just over 44. A sensational run from the Masters star, and one over his Open rival winners Mark and Steve with their 560's. No one else was close, with scores falling back to the low fives and high fours fairly quickly. Veteran Timmy Rogers 'And Hammerstein', singing Oklahoma for his tidy 540 (in a confusion of US desert and Irish streets) was the best of the other classes.

Perhaps we will have a quick look at other winners, and then delve into a few more scores from PP's random sampling machine.

The subs are on fire, with 'The Jug' putting up 420 (!!) in SJM to outshine his JM counterpart (Jay Seeho with 340). The W's were closer with Nina claiming 330 in JW to 'The Shunters' 310 in SJW. Open Women saw a sensational run by Catherine 'Parr' Murphy for 520 to hold Henry's hand from rivals Wendy (510) and Lisa 'Jane Seymore' Grant and her demure 510. The Masters saw a dead heat with Alison 'In Detention' Curtin and Mary Fein working the peat fields for 450's. Take ten off and whatta ya get... Paula from the Finnish forests with 440 in VW, claiming from Karin's well compiled 370. Dale Thommo put on 360 in the SVW's, Margaret 'Bankstown Oval' Waugh and Gail posted 260's in the Legend Women and Sue went ten better in the Immortals. 'The Paving Stone' completes the ladies stand call with 300 walking. Pretty good stuff Michelle, and not far off Jimmy's 330 in the walking blokes.

The missing men's winners are Neil 'Seven Up' Hawthorne with an excellent 500 in the Supers, Stevie 'Nicks' Flick with 420 in the Legends and a couple of 300's in the Immortal Gents - Heiko copping 100 for being ten minutes late ordering the Guinness, and a top run from Brian 'The Life Of' Cleland with no such time misdemeanors.

I also note last weeks star Lee 'Enfield Rifle' Coady, went one better last night, putting in 63 minutes plus for his full bag - but has to give up the time on course badge to new champion, Ian 'The Holey Dollar' McKenzie, walking 600 in 98.54!! Ian' sensational evening of Irish enjoyment bought a frown from the finish machine however, copping him minus 540 and the sixty left over hardly enough for a pot. Great work Ian, nice to see you working the score sheet from the bottom end.

Now, some other Summer Series stars - perhaps ones yet to receive large contracts from the Downpatrick Football Club - but stars to us all the same. In no particular order, we note Katrin van der Spiegel 'Tent' thrilling the crowd in her brightly costume for 380(OW), Michael 'The Detective' Ridley-Smith teasing and twirling his moustache mid course as he deduced the checkpoint clues in this Blarney murder mystery (430 OM), Kim 'Mt Hotham' Welinski working the powder for 410 (VM), Amy 'Victoria, The Garden State' Harmer going 370 with the trowel in OW, and Louise 'So' Brierty staying on the lemon, lime and bitters in the back bar for 360 (MW).

Pork Pie is warming to his work here, but must note long time SSS superstar, 'Mona' Lisa Lampe, posing for the crowd, enigmatically, for 260 well complied points in a guilt frame. Continuing; how about Lynn 'Don't' Stanway working the elbows and scattering rivals for 330 in the Vets, Jimmy 'President' Carter working 300 rows of peanuts in SVM, 'Heartthrob' Bob Morgan signing autographs as fans (thinking he was Elvis) cried 'more, more, more' (340 VM), Bradley Klose 'Shave' wondering aloud as he lathered up in front of the mirror if he should really be a Crescent (380 OM), and finally, Mark 'The Bible' Hill satisfying the legend with a score that included two fours (440 OM). This is good scoring from The Bible, and Pork Pie will now institute coverage with a 'buy' rating.

All great supporters of the series, and scoring like there is no tomorrow. We salute you all - but offer no solution as to how you explain these strange afternoons betwixt pavement and grass verge to your grannies. I should also note it was great to see Michael 'The Torturer' Halmy helping out at the desk and looking in good shape. Michael has given us some of our toughest assignments over recent years and hopefully might be back on the joggerooney soon. Also, while thinking of other SSS stars, I'd like to say a cheer from the Pork Pie desk to Michael Free 'Dom Furniture' and hope he is well, or getting well. Your many fans join me in this howdy from the commentary position (with chewed pencil and single malt nearby).

So, that's the wrap of SSS event four. A top area and beautifully clear map, a well set flog by 'The Slatts' and his BN support crew, and some excellent scoring amongst the large throng of tourists - keen to sniff the mists of old Ireland and remember the Titanic and her last port of call over a pint. What a beauty, what a night....another round Dan???

Now, next week sees us return to a favourite inner west location - Glebe Point. This is classic inner city stuff with great harbour foreshore running, parks and historic streetscapes - not forgetting the Sydney Tram line, enough reason alone to take the map in hand and wonder (maybe even a drool) at the curving brick arches. Warwick 'The Bathroom Air Freshener' Selby is our partner in crime here and has thrown a wide net across the suburb in his setting plan. I'm sure we can expect some puzzling street/laneway/stairway options as well as the pots with views so characteristic of the area. Wazza will be parked at Jubilee Oval Pavilion, pretending he is opening the batting, and is looking forward to a large turn out as he goes in at first drop. Forget The Don, this might just be your night to crack a boundary. Plenty of pubs and restaurants for post run post mortems - and perhaps a double helping of pudding. Join us as we run the fabulous flat and fast Blackwattle Bay.  


Friday, October 19, 2012


On a beautiful Sydney spring evening, Lee 'The Enigma' Coady gets the Pork Pie prize for time on course at our first 200 plus event - with a superb all stations 600 in 58.35. 'The Code' has been a convert to the all points outing as he chases down 'The Horror Movie' in this race within a race, and gets me underway with a novel take on last Wednesday's great event.

So then, a superb evening, a fantastic assembly location at Milsons Park, and a big roll-up primed for a bit of fancy flogerooney. Course setter Dan Dohle settled in to the table and till as arriving runners paid up and spread themselves around the gardens and lawns to check the offer. Other Garingal members worked the electronic trading desk as they waited for the first beepsters to get them back from 'buy BHP' to the download dance. With a wonderous display of club branding, all was in readiness.

First impressions were a fully deployed field, with points well spread from the Kirribilli 'jaw' to the Kurraba 'nose'. The 'moustache' at High Street Wharf added to my DaDa interpretation of the map as a new form of art. All points east of the bridge made for a change, as did some decent scoring at Kurraba Point. It looked hard until you realised this was a 1:7,500 scale map. Ahhh, not so tough after all, and probably close to a full card - or in Lee's case, a full card no matter what.

Loops to the south and north quickly revealed themselves, with the northern departure seeming the more popular. Two ten pointers (#2 and #8) also were quickly exposed as lonely pots that didn't compute in loopy thinking, with #2 probably taking out the prize on the night. Number 8 found some favour with runners adding the 29,8,9,21 southern inner loop after a full bucket in the north. 'The Bendy Bus' was one such.

As I mentioned, departing to the north looked the more popular - either working 7,22,24 and then 12,16 before taking the Neutral Bay Tram, or ignoring the moustache points, and proceeding in a gentlemanly fashion directly to 24 and then round the bay. A few who like the hill work early in the evening, went clockwise to 14,20,4,25 and then an arc across the map to Kurraba (ignoring LP#2) and a flatter return. The close in tenner (#5) seemed to be kept for the run in.

The eighty points at Kurraba Point looked an easy bag, so it is embarrassing to report PP's lazy take here - going #1 straight to 13, realising #30 was back up the hill and having to go up there past the man on the lap top, and then down again to rejoin the superb scenic vista route to #23. Navigation on the run.... ahh, I remember now! But what a great spot Kurraba was for some scoring with a view, and a nice reward for mapper Jim 'Billabong' Merchant. Breathtaking stuff here Sydney, as was the outlook from #16, and all the great Kirribilli spots selected by NSW Tourism Minister Dohle (22,15,27 and 19).

So, despite the wide and regular deployment of red circles and numbers, the options were relatively simple, and didn't need much fretting with the string and slide ruler. You just dibbed in and let rip - and another perfect evening of cunning running resulted. Thankyou Dan for the course - and the weather. Three events on, and all fine evenings. Mmmmm, I like it.

Now, let's look at some of the scoring.

I thought it looked a six hundred or close to it, and we see a couple of 590's to confirm the view. Sharing the spoils in equal first place are Alan Davis ...(er, wrong programme Rosscoe, this is not QI). Steve 'The Hangman' Ryan with one missing (#2/8?) in 44.38, and Glenn with a full bag in sixteen seconds over. Great running, but only a whisker in front of 'Hills Hoist' (580) and 'The Tom Tom' one out/one back with 570. Mostly Open talent at the pointy end, until one encounters a couple of sporty Vets - Tim 'The Toolman' Rogers holding a ten over Malcolm 'The Trumpet' Bradley (540/530) - and a sensational topper from our Sub Junior star Aidan 'The Flying Doormat' Dawson with 520 in the lolly bag. This new category is for the 16 and under ages, with Aidan running here like an open star. Tough if you a ten year old!

Without wishing to go over all the scoring, I do have the other category winners and a few other bits of goss and wonderment to report, so lets look on - much like we are at Bong Bong with a rug and hot toddy, as the ponies come flying past.

In the other junior categories, Toby 'Jug' Wilson gets to keep it with 450 in JM, Anna 'Not The Mayor' Sartoretti holds the JW cake with 250 and Ellen Currie powders up in the changing room with an excellent 280 in the SJW's.

We have mentioned Steve (OM) and Glenn (MM), with Wendy running down to ginger the OW's and her 520 to pip Claire Winnick (great run for 510) and the Lisa/Gill cardsharps playing 500 - and a brace of mares going for the photo in Masters Women - Carolyn 'In Blanket' Haupt and Rachael 'The Paving Stone' Povah both sharing 440's. Top running ladies.

Paula from Finland worked her chainsaw into first place in the Vet Women with 360, with Karin sharing that score in claiming the SVW gong. Mary Jane put up another 100 pointer in the LW's, giving her a great start to the season - and Bryony a decided SSS itch! Sue Thomson clipped another ton with a tidy 270 on home turf in the Immortals, and we round off with Michelle Povah walking to victory with 270 also. In the blokes, we see a top run from Bruce Ingles in SVM (480 points!!), 'The Flickster' on fire in the Legends with 450, Heiko pushing hard to claim with 360 and Mel walking it in with 320 just to annoy 'The Toastrack Tram' and his well executed 310. Wazza, who should be resting quietly, couldn't help himself - pushing the bung knee around at walking pace for 200. Something about Warwick in the traditional yellow running singlet walking that wasn't right, just not him. Perhaps a more modest walking 'Burka' Waz?

I must also mention one of our great supporters and series stalwarts, Barry 'The Check Out Chick' Cole, back at the Summer Series, and working up a tidy 180 in his first outing as an Immortal. Bazza, is an 'ornament to the game' and great to see him with us once more. I also note the 'Manly Mayor' lending a fatherly hand in guiding Clare Jessup to a nice 230 in the Subs. Plenty of old hands, and judging by the entry list, plenty of new runners enjoying the action. Also lots of groups - that added another 25 or so people on the flog to our entry total of 205, giving us a street party attendance of 230. Not bad, not bad at all.

I began this report with Lee Coady's great 'all pots' run in 58 and a half minutes, but should also report another stayer, the Balding family, finding 170 points in 57.51 to take home only forty points, but what memories, what memories! Excellent work from the 'Hairpieces' - we hope you will be back. Another stat I loved was the timing of Terry 'The Legend' Bluett - home with 390 points in 44.59! Nice to see the second on the right side of the clock and not the other way round. Beautiful work Terry, no doubt well planned. Of course, Rosscoe!!!

Of the scoring, the mid to high three's were where the action was, with eleven competitors posting 380's and another eleven claiming 360. This leads me to think there should be a cricket challenge in here somewhere; the 380's against the 360's. I can see The Sauce Bottle taking guard here, adjusting the box as he shapes up to an inswinger from Dan 'Shane Warne' Redfern. Danny is known for his wrong 'un and could wreak havoc if he stays off the cider.

Well, that gives us a wrap of Careening Cove. Great evening and a very nice bit of Sydney to showcase the Summer Series at. Thanks to Danny Dohle for setting, and all who sailed in her. Next week sees us once more under the spell of Bennelong Wizard, Darren 'The Window Blinds' Slattery. The Slatts is known for his work with a coloured A4 sheet and those red circles, and shouldn't disappoint here. It's a return to a great bush/suburban area, with a new take on things courtesy of the different start area at Melwood Avenue. Forestville is the suburb, and the Porkster is thinking a touch of forest might just form some of the thinking. Put the cat out, as we run event four in the series of the century. See you there.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


In an outstanding performance before a crowd numbering in their thousands, Richard 'The Old Home Town Looks The Same' Green claimed the reddies at last night's Summer Series event at North Harbour. Richard, looking more like Tom Jones every day, monstered the tough offering from Bennelong's Pierre 'The Baguette' Francois, as he flew the upsey/downsey course, singing 550 points (loudly) into the finish microphone to pip Steve 'Canola Shoes' Ryan by a tenner.

These two scores, and those of fellow five hundred card sharps Glenn 'The Hampster' Horrocks (530) and Andy Hill (510) belied the low scoring nature of most other runners, with the white board postings being heavily weighted towards the western side and the 'popular' 200/300 columns. Tough stuff indeed, but a beautiful Sydney evening, a great roll up, and a great and scenic area to dampen the Tee at.

Let's take a closer look at Forty Baskets, and the work of Pierre, over a nice burgundy.

Firstly, great to be back at North Harbour on such a nice evening. Good grassy assembly area with a yummy small cafe adjacent (called Forty Beans I think) - still open for the early arrivals who like a Latte before they run. I also note with amusement the steep rock faces behind the sign in desk where adventurous five year olds teetered and nervous grandmothers mentally practiced old bandaging skills.

So, plonking down the dosh, competitors received a landscape map and vertical clue sheet - which included the words 'Good Luck!' at the foot. Note the exclamation mark. Maybe a portent of things to come, as first impressions were of a very spread offering - in two parts much as correspondent Pork Chop had predicted. It didn't look anything like a 600, with many wondering if they had enough fuel to even get to the halfway mark. Many didn't of course, which highlights even more the magnificent running of our gang of four (who could have been dubbed the Maoists but for the absence of a Madame Mao amongst them).

Pierre had a great spread along to Manly Cove, with a new bit of mapping taking runners almost into the Corso, and a few coldies while you were there. Six of the thirty pointers were scattered along this narrow but contour packed strip, including the tempters at the Aquarium (24) and number 21 at the eastern park. The other side of the equation was the more widely spread offering around to Forty Baskets Beach and points up close to Tania Park and on a loop to the west. This half was much more spread, with perhaps the 100 points around the close in bush/beach the only ones figuring, and most of the rest left for the Roy Orbison's.

Starting patterns were mainly north to #10 and the Manly flog, or south up to the bridge at 14 and the aforementioned bush/beach circle. With the Manly beginnings, several also began their intentions by bagging the nice twenty over the small watercourse at #17. The Manly points could be reasonably well looped with either a high departure or finish on the cards. Competitors chewed their pencils in indecision, with more settling for the low start perhaps. For these lowies, 15 interrupted the flat flog and several called in here on the way back from 22 - some by ignoring the high grouping of 2,26,7, others by the dreaded 'Larry' method of in-out and a bit more contour burning to bag them. Starting high (say 17,7,26,2) got the puff in early and made for a nicer trip home along the sensational foreshore path.

The southerners slapped the Volleys purposefully up to the great little footbridge at #14 before the nice loop on bush tracks to 3,16 and 20 - and up to 25, or for those with more petrol, along the beach and the baskets to a stiff climb to #30 and maybe even #23 and a wide clockwise circuit to the west. Lots of running here, but a nice loop if you ignored #8 - as 'Handy' Andy did.

Glenny began south, going 14,8,3,16,20,25,30,23,1 before working the west and a high attack to the Manly sausage. The lot bagged in 51.45, but this time ceding to King Dick's more disciplined plan. Many runners worked Manly and crossed the finishing paddock with minutes to spare. This explained the considerable numbers who ripped to fourteen to bag a final twenty, hopefully in two deeply puffed minutes, although some reported a three. Those not quite so due, enjoyed the 14,3,16 loop and added the 20,25 bundle after contacting Telstra to be reminded what plan they were on.

As I have mentioned, some beautiful scenery on offer. The views from #11 and all the way round to Manly past Fairlight and Delwood beaches was top stuff, with perhaps a highlight, the vista as you burst out of the path from #12 and gazed at the full glory of this part of Sydney Harbour. Stunning stuff. And how about the gratis entry to the Sydney Dog Show! More puppies and (especially) poodles here than on any previous Summer Series event. Correspondent Pie Face can also report our new Open Class challenger, Wendy 'St Bernard' Stevenson, was attacked by a Chihuahua as she flew between the poopsters and their handlers. Fairlight/Manly must be the doggie capital of the country.

So then, a good night for a run, a tough and spread offering from Pierre, but some great views in compensation. Looks like a good roll up in the 170/180 area, with President Paul working the hire stick booth to good effect, and O brochures and the famous 'yellow' SSS programme sheet finding new homes.

Although not noting too many scores, it looked like a log jam in the high 200's and low 300's, with a pile up (reported by Vic Laruso) also at 360 (I'm toying with 'coming full circle', but I wont). I didn't see The bus's score, but note Lisa 'Sprint The Bays' Grant was on fire for 440 in OW, and Mary Fein not far behind with an excellent 420. Our nuns, Catherine & Clare, put up 410's to give punters that like a wager at good odds something to back this carnival. Malcolm pushed the BSA past 440, 'The Ink Bottle' went ten better, and 'The Gunner' another ten. It was raining ten's at the pointy end until Tom 'The Joss Stick' Joss lit a sandalwood number and burst on by twenty - to a rather yummy 480.

Wazza Selby put on 360, but at some cost - with a knee injury flaring badly. Not good to see, but we hope regular application of a suitable balm whilst holding the knee in the pike position might help restore things for one of the Series's favourite sons. Captain Jamie 'Ask Not...' Kennedy was a 360, as was Larry - no doubt in such good form because his Boags courier had delivered! Mel 'George' Cox was noted running uphill to #14, and found 330 more; whilst Karen cleared 330, but no more. This 330 area was well populated, with another beautiful bit of blue marker on white board work at this score by Clare Murphy. Helen was noted in the UR colours, but 'Uneven Ground' was missing north - watch house keys in hand.

Another couple of reports: 'Watering' Duncan Currie had the hose running on the vegie patch (supervised by Uncle Ronnie), but was called in for tea at exactly one minute and one second over! Dunk's 290 was still a credible post in the Sub's, but one second! - one second. The cruelty of the dibber and the reminder of that lost moment contained, glaringly, in the print out. Nightmares are made of this. From the other end of the age spectrum, it's good to see Mal 'Dives' Gledhill back from his travels and mixing things with brother Lloyd, and Heiko 'The Clock' Schaefer in the new Immortals category.  Not sure of the Gled routes or scoring, but The Clock ran a 380 loop to have competitors lost in admiration - before revealing no watch (or was it a bung watch?) and a plus nine return (net 290). Still a goodie and it could result in a nice ton on the barbie for HS.

All will be revealed shortly, as we chase the score tallies at Be patient my pretty's.

Now next week sees us back to another favourite area, Kirribilli, but this time with a twist - your summer series event comes cheek-by-jowl to the Ensemble Theatre - so you can enjoy the double whammy! A run and a show. What could be better! - well maybe better parking. Be warned, this assembly point is almost a parking free zone, so please if at all possible come by public transport. The Milsons Point train station is very close. Anyway, the real come on with the McDougal Street start is that it has given setter Dan 'The Beast' Dohle an opportunity to punt a few potterooonies around to Kurraba Point - not normally reachable from our more usual bridge pylon starts. Expect to see the Lions Den exploit this extension, and I suspect, to also deploy a bit of fun in the confusing street alignments in this great area. Fantastic views once again as we puff up the pecks and flog the hairpiece at event three in season 22. As well as the theatre option apres O, also note the great array of restaurants and cafe's close by - not forgetting The Kirribilli Hotel, where a simple man might find some comfort with 'Miss' Carlton. Don't miss race three folks. It will be a cracker. 


Friday, October 5, 2012


Close to 200 salivating Sydney summer series supplicants surged past the starting pistol last Wednesday in a great opening to the 2012/2013 series. Chief torturer 'Oh Danny Boy' Redfern was in full voice crafting a tasty dish for those that pulled a tenner from shorts recently recovered from the tall boy's deepest recesses. White legs to the fore as Sydney obliged with a nice dose of the warms for our first outing. Nice to report no rain!

Given correspondent 'Pork Pie' was a no show, these meagre notes are rendered courtesy of the SSS spy network. Being in bleak city, the Pie Face has had to settle for a Carlton to get the SSS juices flowing, but promises to reveal the ribbons of steel at North Harbour. In the meantime, the course has been sighted and demands analysis.

First impressions are of a 'tadpole' like spread, with Dan going for a superb collection around the assembly area and to the north - and with a tail (maybe a tale of woe?) to the south. The north looked mandatory, with a very tempting beginning looking like 24,23,16,17,28,10 and across the bridge 'of sighs' and its 20 point payload. One then presumably engaged second gear and cleaned up the North Sydney Bears (ah, Jimmy, just for you!) before returning via 18 (six a drop?), a short black at Cafe Garingal and then some southern fun to #22 and the tadpole tail.

Dan would have made lots of friends with his three thirty's close in, and this probably added to some good scoring, even amongst our walkers (of which I hope we had some). The south seems where the tragedy in three acts might have played out - with #11 as my probable lonely pot. I heard Julian and Andy both dropped this from their loops, and one can easily see the reason. I liked the 21,15,14 temptation that meant you had to work south (with the hood down) past those low top row cowboys, numbers three and four. If you made it down there, there was either a nil creek return, or a wide flog to the east to loop in 1,12 and 30. Sloggerooney stuff, and no doubt undertaken with an eye on the clock.

Not up to speed with the scoring, or who fronted this great beginning to the summer - BUT, I can report Julian 'The Panelbeater' Dent popped over from Sweden (well, Scandinavia somewhere), and reminded us of his exceptional talents with a nicely cooked 580 points. I mentioned 'The Dee' left number eleven on the sidelines, and it also seems #5 was similarly spurned by the champ. Handy Andy is also reported to be 'at one' with Julian in this drop zone, but the 'Cold' Pie is not sure of his final score. Seems like classically good setting if we are looking at 580 opening bids. Perfect work from Sydney's greatest courier.

I have a couple more, with Stuart 'Harry Seidler' McWilliam posting a tidy 360 as he went post modern for the arvo - and a very respectable 420 or so from 'The Woodpecker'. A top score, but then Teddy likes a flattie, especially when running in his 50's stovepipes. A joy to watch, a joy to read, but a puzzle for all those SSS 'news' addicts under sixty.

So, a top opening salvo in the series of the century. I note that we are underway, well underway, casting all daylight saving concerns aside as we rip into a great summer of 'navigation on the run' - with the poor old Melburnians having to wait to late October before they reveal the white leg and engage with the starting whistle dance. Sydney, come on down!!!

Chief stats man David 'Jones' Noble is working the new age group till and should have our openers up on the results sheet shortly. As we say in retail, buy now - pay later. Well, maybe more like, run now, check later. Speaking of checking in, I'm astonished to see we have had 2800 odd hits to the SSS website since resetting the clock in August. Way more than I remember, and a good portent of interest in the series. There are many first time enquiries amongst this, so a good spread of the rusted on and new faces will make for another great series. Hopefully, our greatest ever!

Next week sees the caravan moving east to North Harbour and a great run in the Balgowlah and Manly area. From the great bushy stuff at Forty Baskets to the harbour side track run to Manly Cove, this one has it all. Terry (the M65 supremo) Bluett has apparently augmented this classic map to get us onto the ferry (with our bag of chips), and setter Pierre is sure to exploit the indecision of left or right options and temptations. Should be a toppie, so start ironing the socks.

Week two beckons. See you there.

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