Yes, it’s that time of year again. When Juniors from England and Wales compete in this inter-club competition, giving them the opportunity to represent their club at a national level. The Yvette Baker, named after Britain’s first World Champion who won Gold in the Short Distance event in Scotland at WOC 1999, allows Juniors of any age (18-) to take part, entering whichever course (Yellow, Orange, Light Green or Green) they feel confident running. Points are then awarded to runners in the 8 classes (eg. Yellow Men, Green Women), and then the top 9 results make up a club’s overall score.
This year there was an additional Trophy on the wobbly plastic table: the Yvette Baker Shield! This is a competition for smaller clubs with at least 5 Junior entries, this means that no matter the size of the Junior division of your club you still have a chance to compete! This added to excitement and numbers of Juniors we saw at Sandringham this year.
Sandringham Park – home to the Queen (who was incidentally in residence) - is a network of interlocking paths, shady pine forest, pockets of open land and a hill sloping off towards the road that encircles the park. Not to mention the head-high bracken which had Juniors carving out paths like Indiana Jones. Needless to say the park provided a sufficient challenge worthy of a final.
The competition was well attended by the top Junior teams (15 this year) from across England and Wales; who after qualifying in their regional heats back in April/May, came together for 2019 Final on Sunday 7th of July to battle it out (donning war face-paint and in SYO’s case - nail varnish), to see who would crowned best Junior team.
SYO (after getting up way too early for a Sunday) arrived to a blistering hot day with temperatures peaking at 25+°C. However the heat was nothing that a mad rampart around the playground, a cool run under the trees and several ice creams could not dispel away. Despite the heat, each course saw fast finishing times with the 2.3km yellow being won in 13:27, the 2.7km Orange in 23:08, the 3.8km Light Green in 32:47 and the 4.5km Green rapidly completed in 30:29.
After a lot of loitering around the download tent, the results were announced!
The Shield was won by SOS with a total of 499, closely followed by PFO in 2nd with 497 and HOC in 3rd with 488.
The Yvette Baker Trophy out of a maximum of 899 points was announced in reverse order, HH were 3rd with 848 points, SO in 2nd with 877, and SYO were in 1st place with 897, taking the title for the 3rd year running!
Thanks go out to West Anglican Orienteers for holding the final and all the clubs who held the heats it is a huge commitment requiring so much effort; but hopefully worth it for this great competition allowing Juniors to become more confident as ‘national orienteers’!
Next year the YBT Final is being held on July the 5th by BOK (South West). Hope to see you there!
Full results and photos can be found on the WAOC website
More details of our Hatrick can be found in this article from the Junior News
Isabelle Hodgson - SYO