Thursday, November 15, 2012


Displaying excellent dipper deployment skills, Sue Davis created a challenging contest in cool conditions at Cheltenham last night. As arriving runners soon discovered, her course was essentially one in three parts - with interesting connective tissue issues a feature, much like in a knee reconstruction by Merv Cross.

Cheltenham Oval was the venue for SSS flog number seven, and one of the better Feet maps despite the parking difficulties. Pork Pie had alluded to one of the areas charms (running under the M2), but this was not possible last night because of road widening works. Instead, the Sue 'T Pudding' had worked her ingredients with deft hand and spatula, to exploit the available bush and creek lines, the bridge crossings and the streets, that soon had the stringmen on the scratch.

Despite the threat of rain, 185 or so ponies and their handlers (179 actual entries), manouvered their Tuza's  to Castle Howard Road - possible a record for the venue. Sue opted for the bank instead of the Pav, and a curious start/finish position not aligning with the map - which turned out to be a landscape presentation with full easterly notes and a hint of cassis. Many eschewed the spittoon and swallowed hard as they cast about for an optimal route that could exploit the three distinct scoring clusters.

Firstly, a tight 130 point offer in the north, essentially on bush tracks, and a chance to give the ankles a bit of rock and roll. The second dollop was a wider loop to the south west, and again featured some nice creek line work - yielding 160 or so points on the beepOmeter. The third cluster was south east, beginning along the 'car park' and involving two crossings of the M2 - the main Beecroft Road one not previously being used as far as PP can remember, and proving a temptation for just this reason. A touch of green in this one, but more a pavement pad in this 190 point collect.

Most flogsters liked what they saw, quickly realised this wasn't an easy 600, and decided two out of the three groups might suit - but which ones, and how to join them? This is when the dreaded 'dead zone' across the bottom of the map became apparent - the long run joining #24 to #27/23 for those opting for the southern zones. Sue offered twenty point tempters for the petrol heads at 16 and 15, a pittance at #4, and nothing at all for those of more modest ambition intent on joining the 6pm smokers special going 24-11 or visa versa. This was the section of the map to doodle over, and where most of the pre race indecision came from. A brilliant and frustrating piece of setting, and classic Sydney Summer Series.

Many that eventually opted for the southern loops noticed how the map scale seemed to change across this section, as they ran the ever lengthening roads that seemed more like 1:20 scale than 1:10. It's all a mind game apparently!

My reading was more worked the south east and south west than the north, with a common link up being 12,11,27,14 before reverse engines and a dash west to bag as many as could be afforded on middle management wages. Danny 'Under The Bed' Redfern was onesuch, pencilling a top drawer 340 in VM with exactly this start (ignoring #1 - a classic 'sucked in' control), going across via the ten point crumbs (3,4) to 24, and then working 17,19,8,5,25,6,18 and the bendy road to #7 and #26 before the bridge and a moment of madness in the bush - as #20 fell to the determined Garingal star, but thoughts of #30 bought on the hesitations (a common SSS condition, and quite hard to treat) before order was restored, the bike reversed, and a homeward flog via #28 resulted in a tidy 45.46 post.

Others worked fully east, going 12,2,22,13 before the main bridge and a change to a lower gear uphill to #23. Mal Gledhill was noted enjoying this section - one of the more senior runners to go wide here in his excellent 300 point pile up.

Of the northerners, Terry 'Towling Hat' Bluett was all 70's at the SCG (clutching a Reschs as Doug Walters worked another boundary), beginning 28,9,29 before descending to 10 and 30 like Marcel Duchamp, and on to 20 where discombobulation overtook the Bennelong master and strange fences and thick bush impeded progress. The Hat eventually freed himself and went south scooping in 370, but having to surrender thirty of them to the timing stewards.

I note there was only one 'all stations' run, with Glenn Horrocks showing us what a magnificent runner he is with the lot in 54.24 - his 500 points still giving him equal third place! Glenn also began to the north, but looped 21 in after 28, then running on to #9 and the northern cluster, the south west, the south east and home via, 2,12 and #1. Can't quite remember his curvy work in the 24,4,15 area, but presume it had something of a Blue Poles appearance.

We can see by the results, that 'The Sooze' had opted for a toughie, with a wide scatter of the cards. A flat fastie in downtown Amsterdam this was not. Still, a great course generates options, indecision, and hesitation - all here in spades. It was an excellent evening, where 400 was the new 500 and those that managed a three retired to the back bar with a spring in their step. And despite this being a suburban area, Sue's clustering in the bush zones effectively gave us a mostly non suburban experience - the 'dead zone' notwithstanding!

Hard to find a lonely pot, although #15 and 21 needed commitment. Number nine looked a loner, but worked into northern loops. #2 might have been flicked if on a 21-22 dash - mmmm, maybe #7? I left this out working south via 26,17,19. Porkie is lost in thought, as the blanket slips to the floor and a small dribble issues from the lips.

Now, lets have a look at how the large crew prospered.

Despite an absence of juniors, the place getters in all other age classes were much as expected - with perhaps Ted's win in IM (350 points to claim from 'The Hitchhiker' by 10), Caroline 'Dancing' Davies nicely styled lead in VW (300 and twenty on from 'The Lamp Post') and Lucy 'The Tram Depot' Hawthorne's 230 point win in the walking women, worth a touch of the highlighter pen.

I should also mention Bryony 'Odd Sox' Cox taking the lollies in LW despite, again (!), only allowing the mare 36 minutes on the paddock for her 250. As the Killers star works up to full timing, we can expect to see a tighter grip on this badge. Tim 'Bertop' was also noted in his debut IM run, taking 290 home to bed in the dorm, and well clear of Prince Charles - running in Zegna double breasted and somewhat handicapped as a result.

Wendy took OW with 460, Andy Hill OM with 540 (and last night's top score), Le Dunk a very clean 370 in SJM, while sister Ellen made it a family affair with her 150 win in the SJW's. The two 'Bees' claimed in the Vets (480's apiece), Neil booted 420 in the Supers, with 'The Trouser's' 360 holding The Pie by ten in LM. Rachael Povah scored in MW with 410, Karin gets it this time with 330 in SV's and Janet Morris worked the woody wagon to a win in the Immortals with 220. Oh, and Mel Cox walked home with 260. Mustn't forget 'The Cheese' now.

A few interesting items to relate. Our longest on course award goes this week to Connie 'Tennis Lessons' McNamee with her 77.43 excursion, and a minus sixty post. Great work with the Maxply Connie. Cheryl 'The Pearly King' Bluett with her 75.07 outing for minus 90 also deserves a mention. Dedication, commitment,'s all there with these two Summer Series stars.

In the just over/under department, we have a singular tragedy in Ted 'The Movie Star' Woodley's 45.01 final beep (for 350 in SVM). The cruelty of it all Teddy. A couple of close shaves also catch the eye, with Malcolm 'The Paddle Pop' Bradley and Keith 'The Glasses' Povah both making it in 44.58. Phew!
The 'Mayor of Manly' copped two seconds over after being obscured from the finish stand by certain Feet. A protest is currently before umpire Eagan, and could result in the LBW decision being reversed. The Garingal team is right behind 'The Bottle' as he stews this one, but the point needs to be reinforced, that finish stands, flags etc need to be clearly positioned and preferably clear of other traffic.

Perhaps some other scores to note.

'Ryans Daughter', second in OM with 530, Kar-Soon retaining all Limbs with 460 in MM, 'Guiseppi De' Stefan 'O' Kuehn hitting high C 440 times in MM, and Jamie Kennedy - on fire with 430 in the Vets. Iain 'Clean Up Australia' McKernan used the poly bag collecting 400 in MM, 'HMAS' Davy Bray ten down with 390 'incoming torpedoes' in the Vets, Ian Cameron ten adrift with 380 in the Supers - and 'Nissan' Cedric Wiart in the field for 44.47 and a well compiled 360 in the family sedan. Stars one and all!

Louise 'Ville Kentucky' Brierty ran a top derby to claim 360 in MW, thirty on from Sarah 'The Waiter' Walter in the same class. Marina and Antoniya, playing for Russia in the doubles, both carded 310's in their respective classes - and enjoyed a cleansing vodka at the afterparty, while Stacey 'The Governor General' Bryce entertained 210 visiting dignitaries - mostly veterans from the Congo. Christine Walsh 'Bay' enjoyed 200 points, and the arts precinct nature of the venue, and while seated, noted Madi Kobler and Sara Lake one row back in the group section.

Also, catching the eye in the even handed department, Don 'Juan' Burnett plonking 100 points into the Immortal toaster, Ross 'Animal Farm' fingering chapter 200 and liking what he read in SVM, Jo Whittaker taking home 300 in OW, and John 'Gordon' Brayan calling the Wallabies to a win on Channel 7 - with 400 tries in the Vets. Great work in the legs and feet department, and not forgetting the upper body (as Ron would say... come to think of it, where was the vegie??) I could go on (and generally do....but).

So, lower scoring than recent events, but a competitive evening, and a classic cunning running none the less. Big thanks to Sue and her fellow Feet and the wonders of the live feed. Results for all to see were being posted as you finished! The Pork Chop is feeling redundant, but consoles himself with a sweet sherry and a finger bun. Warwick, why am I thinking of you??!!

Next week sees the SSS carnival returning to the harbour with Duncan's much anticipated flog at Hunters Hill. 'The Watering Can' has secured the High School for our assembly area, that will offer a very different take on the traditional Woolwich map and its east to west and back again focus. There could be a bit of Villa maria snitching into young Dunks new work, as I'm not sure how far east he intends to go. Could be Kelly's Bush is just a distant memory. Make it a date here, and note the $12 chicken and chips at the Hunters Hill Hotel adjacent for your post race warm down. This Wednesday special is attracting legions of SSS fans that like to add back what they have just lost. Refresh and refill at the Hunters Hill! Got a certain ring... Don't miss it.    



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