Friday, January 3, 2014


SSS season 23 opened its second half with a toughie at Lindfield last Wednesday, that managed only three 500 posts, and only one solitary 'all stations' claimant. Oh oh, sounds like a corker, and worth a little tap or two on the lappie from the delicate fingers of (sick/crook/buggered) correspondent Pork 'The Medicine Cabinet' Pie.

Course setter Mark 'The Sheriff' Savery proposed bread and water for the guns, and not finding disagreement from his Bennelong overseer, went hard at the task. His chain gang consisted of over 200 able bodied convicts (PP excluded), twenty of them holding hands in group status - and in some fear of the SSS lash. For some it would be an evening of the flog, for others, the barking dog - as the course was pondered and decided - and then pondered again.

So now, join your racing correspondent as he adjusts the pince-nez, sips his amontillado, and draws conclusions (where others would draw a blank).

Compared to our last outing here two years ago, we see a reprise in the south, we see similar work required in the streets, we see the wharf again - but this time (the kicker) we get the large intestine! Sheriff Savery, concerned that the SSS convict diet of porridge and points needed additional protein, has thrown in the twisting river track yummies (a 90pt flogging that once embarked upon could not be altered), and its appendix like 70 point addition in the north west. A few took the intestinal bait, but I surmise only Ian Mac and 'The King' had any sort of appendectomy. This was new food for the summer series regular, although regainers might remember going the chew here some years ago.

For a moment though, let's look closer at the big picture. A well known assembly area with kiddy stuff galore - and with Terry Bluett adjusting the results printer, all looking good as punters, suddenly a year older, found ten - many not realising that 'The Sheriff' was at the till. Mark produced a landscape charge sheet, substituting the fine stripe for the 2011 olive OOB areas. Commonalities with 2011 included 1/22 in the north (11/21 last time), the deliciously annoying #4 (30), 7(3), the 'Larry' at 27(24), the tree at 5(9), and some similar work at the Port Arthur end of the map (16/26 - 6/20 last time) that had the recently released with heads down. The gasp factor was the appendix and the river flog. Could it be worked in? Was it worth it? Go where you know, or go forth and plant new crops, clear new land, make new babies….er, Porkie seemingly is on a tangent.

Many liked staying on top and planned a loop beginning 12,29,9,22 (eschew #1),25 - but then pondered the excellent ten point 'in-out' controls at #3 (yes probably), 10 (no probably - somewhat down the hill), before sweeping 21,18,7,11 (petrol), down to #27 - and then either home via 4/6 or ever onwards past the wharf and bush climb (17 to 5) or to the bottom. The latter being a low/mid 400 outing which I think many settled for. Other SSS hands liked the familiar and set off south to find themselves thereabout Fiddens Wharf after twenty odd minutes - and hoping to board the next gunboat upriver. Sadly, they got 19 strokes at the fence corner and an uphill stretch to 27 that took the puff from the elderly, and the straight from the bent back.

One imagines the higher scoring runners (excluding the appendix duo), worked a few rhs toppies (12,29,9,22,25) before descending to the intestinal (and slow) track and its curvy 90pt bag, and then pushing south and working a frenzied and contorted middle section - before adjusting their skirts for the very public dash to the final beep. One can see why 10,3 and #1 might even miss this crew - with the editorial team giving #1 the honourable 'lonely pot' award.

All well placed controls, with #26 (Killara Wharf) being new to me, and many others I suspect. I need to go back and read the sign - and imagine the activity here once. Sawmills, barges, ships, Ron  Junghans in convict stripes….ah, the picture it paints! But, for the moment, let's look at the evenings results - and bring a little broth to the lips of the broken and dispirited.

No Glenn Horrocks(!) gives Ian 'The Peruvian Playboy' McKenzie the sole honour of the 600 club. Ian's 99.19 minute walk is possibly one of the longest all stations SSS outings, just keeping him in positive territory (600-550), but not last place on the list. This goes to WHO conscript Barry Hanlon who worked at 240 points for 68.28 minutes - promptly rendering him a zero ration competitor on the night. Baz was noted contemplating and them embarking on the low level route joining #5 to #6 - possibly one of very few that did this, but then Barry is a bush O man and likes a course that asks the question. The uphill/downhill join hereabouts already mentioned (to #17) saw Wayne Pepper grinding uphill just past the creek, with a certain passing runner wondering if he was looking for 28 way to early. Clearly not!

As you can see from the scoring, things tended to bunch in the middle or lower ranges with about two thirds of the field below 300. Despite a couple of nine competitor scoring groups (360pts/280/270), our most 'popular' score with ten competitors was only 210 - including an enigmatically low score (for him) from Mike Ridley-Smith (VM). Michael also is noted as our shortest on course, again odd, so I'm hoping no injury issues for this. There is also Ridley-Smith group listed (190pts) that might be a factor. Any clues anyone?

I like to note our guests if we have any, and see Anna Quayle and Malin Welen from Sweden both posting 360's (VW, OW respectively), Peter and Ainslie still with us from Victoria, and an excellent 270 SJM point post from 'Not Bob' Dylan Bryant from (presumably) the Enoggeroos O club in Brisbane. Good to see such good scoring in the race that stops the nation.

We have only one 'Phew!!' to report - the exceptional timing of WaW star Jill 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' Woodruff. Her 170 points posted in 44.59! There were a few 'to the minute' runners, but no more at 45 - Steve Ryan's 46.00 the closest, with Richard Green and Dave Bray going even further over (51.00/49.00) and 'The Spanish' Amanda Mackie sailing home in 41. There are a couple of painful .01 overs, although nobody at the dreaded 45.01. Pierre pings 51.01, Brett Sewell 47.01, Jenny Newton 44.01 and Dave 'The Blues Is My Companion' McGhee goes a little longer with his encore at 55.01. We love the .01's - as regular readers might have noticed. Probably should get an award up for this methinks (scratching the goatee and wondering about Bailey's batting).

We don't seem to have had any LW's, JM's or SJW's last night, but we did see some interest on the scoring sheet - including the spectacular reappearance of Adam Halmy in SJM with a 410pt post in 46.45 for 390. What a run, and a clear shade to our current SJM star and series leader Duncan 'The Watering Can' Currie, who's 350 is still in very senior company (45th I think). From the top then, Steve Ryan and Andy Hill both posted equal 510pt winners to share (again) the OM spoils. This is a race!! Whoo hoo. They just head Richard Green with 500, although, as mentioned, Richard went further - with his 560 claim being run out in 51.00, as opposed to 520/530 totals before penalty above. Michael, Gill, Sue, Karin, Anthony, Michele and Rachael all won their respective groups, but we note a couple of other interesting scores. Firstly, Cath Chalmers lands MW with 380, then we note Anna Quayle taking VW with 360, Neil Hawthorne back on the podium with ten over Warwick (360/350), and Heiko and Ron sharing the glory in IM with 300's - the same score as LM winner Ian 'B' Miller. With 'The Trouser' a no show (and PP walking) this was a gimme for 'The Woodpecker', but…. the Tedster must have gone mad with the string as his 280 point beep went on too long, and forty days in solitary resulted in a 240. The SSS mafia noted Dan 'Not Of' Redfern in close conference with Ted before commencement - and suspect he may have slipped the master something in his panniken (Dan being noted with a well compiled 310 in SVM). While I'm sort of on SVM, how about the welcome back for Graeme Hill, with a lively 350 to equal Wazza and 'The Lassoo'. Graeme, of course, is a prior star this distance and will be up for it now he has retired (again!).

Plenty of group action, but no outstanding names this week - 'Euan, Logan & Chris' perhaps just shading 'Heather, Claire & Julia'. Often hard to tell how many runners are in each group, especially if it's behind only one entry name (the 'Steam Engine Group' for instance). I guess that there are at least two and probably three for these - but there could be more if big families are involved. As we hope they are!

That might just do folks, as Porkie needs a bit more of a lie down - and a mild bromide. Next week sees the SSS carnival move west to Subiaco (no, not Perth, but the so named creek at Rydalmere). WHO's Anette Larsson is in charge here and should have us working for our dinner at the West Ryde (hope it's not as busy as last time) in this well loved area. Expect some nice open grassy park running, with connecting creeks and good decision requiring routes. It's fast stuff, it's frantic stuff, it's fun stuff, as we drain the brain and strain the groin - that wonderful and mystical part of a cricketers anatomy. If you've got one, bring it along next week. Be there!

Also, please note another SSS web site post, where I have done a trawl through the first half stats. A 'Call of the Card' as it were. Some excellent scoring and great contests looming. Please enjoy.  


1 comment:

Fly on the Wall said...

First exercise of any kind for almost a month so I just headed off for the heck of it without too much planning. And what a joy it was. 6-5-24-16-bash to 28-17-26-19-27-11-7-18-21-3-29-12 for 340 in 44m12s amounted to 6.3km with 100m of climb (a third of it coming up out of the oval). The northern bush track needed another 30-50 points to be worth it, especially as you are committed to the entire length. Although... word has reached my royal ear that a BN member lives right near #18 and has created his own pathway down to the main track by the river. Perhaps he could persuaded next time to allow an SSS egress through his yard to the street to allow for greater route choice?
Some photos from the event are on the ONSW Facebook page.

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