Thursday, December 5, 2013


As Pork Pie hinted in last weeks match preview, Greg 'Hydrocarbons' Barbour did indeed deliver a tough show last night at Roseville's Loyal Henry Oval. With only 56 of the 200 odd competitors making more than the 300 halfway bag (possibly an all time record low), you can see the wreckage, smell the cordite, as 'The Oil Rig' worked the demon blade deeply into the soft body of the Sydney Summer Series. Expecting a challenge, and another dose of the unique 'Big Foot Experience', we weren't disappointed - we got it in spades (or, perhaps using a weapons theme, splades).

There are many interesting stats to report (including one of our lowest ever winning scores), but let's firstly settle into the Roseville Twin Cinema as the lights go down and we set the scene at Summer Series event #10.

In the main theatre SSS patrons had the option of Peter Coleman-Wright (Sweeney Todd) and Judi Connelli (Mrs Lovett) as the felons in 'The Demon Barber of Fleet Street', or perhaps the lighter offering upstairs of Rossini's 'Barber of Seville' - with Jose Carbo as Figaro and the legendary John Bolton-Wood as Dr Bartolo. There were even seats available for those that liked the idea of a bit of both, but had trouble deciding whether to hum or to sing - the 'Barbour of Big Foot' had both planned for comedy, and planned for drama.

The evenings programme was a simple enough affair, A4 in landscape format, and annotated Blue Gum instead of the advertised Sugarbag. The synopsis was a brief one (in magenta) and included the word 'abide' - perhaps a prelude to those that might be singing the well known hymn during their run -along the creek line, and well over time. The cast sheet was also brief, with abbreviations of the main players (mmc,cmc,ms,ps etc), but we all knew the director and his penchant to surprise. The two theatrical experiences looked to be the two Sondheim flogs (UTS or the creek) with Seville street stuff before or after (or in rare cases as a connection), or the more strictly Seville programme with UTS as an add on for those with stronger bladders.

Working the streets and UTS, or working the streets and creeks delivered similar point scores, so it came down to the choice of light comedy or drama. Early returnees (as if from war) and the final results tell the tale, with most of the game ones who worked east (13,22,14,28) and then south to the creek (3,4,5,18,27) feeling Greg's shiff well and truly planted between the shoulders. Although it looked loopy and connected, Contour Kate was to the fore in the south and in the run home, and it was slower running the bush tracks. This opera delivered gristly and often dramatic results - especially for those that went UTS as a finishing flourish.

On the other hand, the street collection with added UTS was much flatter and was favoured by those with more sensible shoes. A good loop here saw the 13,22,14 start mentioned above followed by a sprightly duet (Count Almaviva and Rosina) to 25,7,12,19,6 and then 'The Bowie' knife to the uni before attempting Greg's dreaded uphill 'Dundee' blade and the drop home via 2 and Loyal. A more modest route here dropped the 13,22,14 start for a direct exit to 17,25,7,12 - and probably getting back on time. Something few managed.

There looked to be three dead zones in the collective programme that deterred the older subscribers; the two knife stretches along Eton and Abingdon Roads in the UTS bag, and the circuitous 'Kukri' route via #28 to the Kings, Alexander, Findlay collect where the only pings were mere tenners. Although many did the former (some going for the Bowie twice), I suspect not many went to Nepal. Another unexpected route choice was working directly to Sugarbag Creek from the UTS points - straight down through the green! 'All Stations' was onesuch, spoiling what was reported as an 'ok' route by going all silly into #11 and having trouble with 'Between Cliffs Foot' (Cliff who you may well ask). Dan's green plunge was a bold showing, and reminiscent of competitor expectations at the previous Big Foot outing from Loyal Henry (in 2002) where various bits of untracked bush were streamered. How tame we have become.

So then, an evening in two parts. A drama where ambitious creek and contour work resulted in many being pie meat, or lighter fare in the leafy streets of Roseville - with a touch of uni for those that could run the blades. Looking at the libretto now, Pork Pie still finds it hard to believe the scoring. Three quarters of the field below halfway??!! Maybe we should have a peek backstage.

We see only one 600 point member of the audience - our own baritone Glenn "Teddy Tahu' Horrocks, with 62.07 on the clock for his troubles, and an overall 420 (shared with Patrik, Anthony Dowle and Mark). Steve Ryan wins the Swiss Army Knife with 550 at 49.37 for our solo 500. 'The King' follows with 470, in turn twenty ahead of the returning and speedy Westpac CEO (well the old one anyway) and the Feet's own Andy 'The Breadknife' Brown. There were only 12 runners with scores of 400 or more, with WHO star Andy Hill only just making the cut with his exhausting 590 point claim in 62.19. One wonders at the missed tenner - maybe #2, or maybe #6??

Our age class winners were mostly as expected, but a few show buffs either outperformed or were caught too long at interval chatting and missed the second act. In the former category, how about vigorous applause for David Bray for matching Michael Burton in the VM category (380's), James Lithgow (SVM) for taking the hundred points with a forty point buffer (about time), Ian Big Blue' Miller who ran Rosscoe close in LM with a clean 300 (one of his best results this season), and to Debbie 'Coles & Woolies' Byers for a clean win in SVW (300 and forty clear of Adrienne). Those that perhaps will need to read their lines again include OW star Lisa Grant, who went too wide at 61.14 and only scratched a modest 270, Aidan Dawson (JM) whose 450 run suffered from 150 unopened fan letters, Heiko Schaefer (IM) who had a good plan, but then went awry in the uni, and 'The Hawthorn' footy club, once again gifting SVM mates a round as his creek route dramatic role took longer in rehearsal than imagined (51 minutes plus).

As as addendum to the programme, we see record late penalties swelling the Big Foot Productions coffers. It's not so much how many were late back (heaps, including Mr Resch), but by how many minutes. We had 55 runners incurring 100 point or more debits, including several in the two hundreds, and three hundreds, but we pause in awe of our runner up here - Julia 'I'm Married To Him' Prudhoe for a magnificent 410 point penalty (410-410=0), and our winner, Yang Yang (OW) with her 95 minute plus outing seeing 510-510=0. In fact there were seven zero's, including 'The Dashwood Pass'. Unusual for David methinks.

We only had one .01 'Oh Cruel World' award - Marina with 50.01 and a (still excellent) 340 point post. No one closely just under, although the Big Ben award goes jointly to Jim Merchant and Brook Martin - both home in 45.00 exactly! Amazing timing from 'Bare Rock' and 'Norway, you'd better look out'. Our most common score was 180 points with twelve fans, amongst them we see 'The Lampost' and 'The Ian Thorpe', 'The Captain' and 'The Queensland River', and Rosie & Kath running in group colours.

Some others in the audience worth topping up the champers with, include Malcolm G & Kenny J holding adjacent centre circle seats in IM (winning 280's), 'Le Dunk' with another strong SJM run (360 points), and The Cox's (no, not the map) back on the Nike's and in home territory (Bryony oiling the hip with 170 and back in her seat well inside the intermission allowance, and Timbo working a 270 (IM) and going long almost to the same minute as Bryony went short). Ian left a little sauce on the plate with his 51.47 outing and promised to 'send me an email' (spare a thought Paul!), Bob Morgan will no doubt be carrying the canyoning ropes after his 55+ minute surrender to Mr (Sheen) Finish, and Kashi, Bezi & Sevali work into Opera Chorus contention with 170 tunes remembered. The KBZ team worked close to time and could be on the OA radar.

Did I mention Michele with a blistering 330 win in JW? Or Paula and Mary taking gold in VW and MW respectively (380's)? Or the fact that dinner is looming? Let's slip out of the tux as we wrap the event and look forward to number eleven. Despite the low scores, most workers of the lower leg and puff-o-metre enjoyed their flogs, and had lots to talk about over a Coopers. We sort of knew The Barber of Seville would be a bit more Sweeney Todd, more knife in the guts than rose in the lapel, more 'who gets eaten and who gets to eat'. Nevertheless, it was a great night and beautiful evening. Thanks Greg and Undy and all the Feet (great to see 'The King of the Rock' on hand helping) for another glimpse into the future. Map, think, run. Mmmmm, sounds interesting, might give this a go.

How about next Wednesday then, when Western Hills have been persuaded to bring back the great Meadowbank riverside map for another outing. 'The Paint Tube' is our course setter and will work the foreshore, work the parks, and work the sprint-like apartment fun stuff. 'The Meadow' has the lot. Rivercats, couples in passegiata clutch, artists hoping, fishermen (also hoping) and the unique footbridge over the main northern line to excite the train buffs. We know it's going to be a biggie.    

1 comment:

Fly on the Wall said...

First impression after a 5-second look at the map - "Wow, this is really generous on such a hilly map." Then reality kicked in. The fastest scoring route was to negotiate UTS (with all its new Defence Housing developments) and the circle of controls around the assembly. This yielded 380 gross. I chose to enjoy the bush tracks, and enjoy them I did - but... they were very slow going (less than single file in some parts, contained lots of steep in-outs, and some of the control descriptions were a bit vague (5 and 19 in particular). I accepted I'd be rather late for my route choice, but it would have been much better if we'd had access somehow via 27-25. I'm really glad to have explored the eastern part of the stretch of bush for the first time. Great that they put on a mini course for the kids, too.

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