West is the Best

by Steven Scott — 31st October 2023.

A very happy SWAT management team A very happy SWAT management team

West of Scotland produced a stunning team performance to overcome defending champions North in the Junior Inter-Area Championships in western Fife and win the title for the first time in 10 years.

The opening day relays were seen by squad management as key to a strong showing, and six teams were assembled in both boys and girls races, with the majority being drawn from FVO.

The boys were first in action, and although North took the win in 67.56, Alex Hunt and debutant Finlay Gallagher set up a strong final leg run from Sam Hunt, which pulled the leading West team through into 2nd place by just four seconds (72.08) ahead of East 1. West II (Matthew Owen, Lachlan Carruthers and Ruari Cottier) stayed on well, to come home into 4th place and ensure the overall points were shared.

The girls race followed on ten minutes later, and there were quickly three teams on the front of the race, two of them from West. This led to a frantic finish, with just six seconds separating the first three. East 1 was first over the line, but was relegated for a mispunch, and West took maximum points from the class, as Hannah Inman, Eowyn Price and Daisy McNamara topped the podium in 79.08. two seconds ahead of Hanna Brindley, Sophie Edward and Scarlett Kelly.

Torrential overnight rain turned the individual day terrain at Devilla into a quagmire, with several of the younger courses having to be redrawn on the day to avoid flooded ditches. North threw everything they had into overcoming West's overnight lead, but West held strong to take the day win by four points.

The crux of the victory came on the Yellow and Orange courses, where West beat North in all four categories, including a 1-2 in Yellow girls for Rose Martin and Sophie Edward. Finlay Gallacher won Yellow boys, backed up by a 4th place from Lachlan Carruthers. In the Orange class, Matthew Owen was 2nd, with Lucas Baikie 3rd, and more points went onto the West scorecard, and this was repeated in Orange girls, with Hannah Inman 2nd and Hanna Brindley 3rd.

North mounted a mini-comeback in Light Green, winning both classes, although Matthew Inman and Alexander Hunt added more points in the boys division, and Esme Kelly and Eilidh Connor both crucially got ahead of the 2nd North girl, to ensure the class was tied. North ran many of their top W16s up a division, and although Katie McLuckie won the Green girls class for them, Scarlett Kelly and Rosie McNamara were 2nd and 3rd to put more daylight between the two teams.

The senior divisions were dominated by North, although Peter Owen, Sam Hunt and Daisy McNamara kept the scoreboard ticking over late in the day, to bring West home for their first win since 2014.


SWAT parades the JIA trophy

SWAT parades the JIA trophy


SWAT juniors with the JIA relay trophy

SWAT juniors with the JIA relay trophy

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Filed under:  Success