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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1934

Harrier Club

page 130

Harrier Club

This year, the third year of the Harrier Club's existence, shows a further advance in its strength both as regards increased membership and the general standard of running. It can safely be said that the Club is now on a firm footing, and henceforward we will be able to aim at greater success in the inter club racing events. That is not to say, however, that this season has been empty of success in outside competition. We have done more than sufficient to make our presence felt among other clubs, and our record augurs well for the future.

Up to date we have entered teams for all the inter-club events, the Dome Cup, the Vosseler Shield, and the Provincial Championships. This year for the first time we entered a team for the Vosseler Shield race, over a course of ten miles, and we are pleased to be able to say that one of our men, A. G. Bagnall, came in 8th. Our team for the Provincial Championship race consisted of A. G. Bagnall, D. Cairns, A. Garn ham, F. B. Shorland, D. R. Scrymgeour, and D. Viggers, and our first man home came 15th in a large and experienced field.

Our own events have been well and keenly contested. Good fields entered while the handicappers gauged the winners' capabilities to a nicety. As usual, the Novice race was the first Club event, and was held near the beginning of the season. This was the third of these races and was held over the same course as in the former years. A. Henderson came in a good first from D. Scrymgeour and F. B. Shorland. Times were slightly slower than the previous year, but the race was held nearer the beginning of the season and there was less opportunity to get fit. The next race was that for the Sherwood Cup, held four weeks after the Novice. This was a sealed handicap event and the revised times gave the race to D. McFadyen, with N. Clare second. F. B. Shorland made the fastest time. Better form was shown than in 1933 and the times were definitely faster. On June 23rd the Teams' Race was held at Miramar over a 4 mile course. The next event was a Handicap Race held at Lyall Bay over a carefully surveyed and measured course of 6½ miles. The elements were unfavourable, the rain making the course heavy and slippery, but the times were good considering. R. J. Murray came home in good style to make his first win. F. B. Shorland was second, and D. Cairns third while F. B. Shorland put up fastest rime. This is the first year in which this race has been held.

On August 18th the Club Championships were held also at Lyall Bay, but over the Provincial Championship course. A sealed handicap race was held in conjunction with the Championship. M. O'Connor ran in the best of form and carried off both the championship and the handicap events. G. Bagnall came a good second in both events, with F. B. Shorland third in the championship and R. J. Murray third in the handicap.

The Club Championship ends the Club races for the season, but this year was held the first inter-University championships. This—really the most important event of the season—was sponsored by the Victoria College Club, and henceforth it will be an annual fixture to be held during the second term vacation alternately at Wellington and Christchurch, but provision is made, if desired, for the event to be held at either of the other two centres. Each of the Four University Centres sent a team of six men and in addition there were three individual runners. No effort was spared to give the visitors a really good time while they were in Wellington, and every moment almost of their four days' visit was filled. The team were given Friday morning to rest and in the afternoon they were taken over the course and made familiar with it preparatory to the race the next day. On Saturday evening after the race, a dinner was held at the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel, after which the party spent the evening at the picture theatre. On Sunday the visitors were driven round the district and shown as much of the neighbourhood as possible. The visiting teams were farewelled on Monday and thus ended a most successful event.

The race itself was indeed a thrilling one, the conditions under which it was run almost beggar description. Wellington weather did its worst. "The race was an historic one," says the "Press" "and will remain outstanding in cross-country running in New Zealand. ' The exposed coast-line round Lyall Bay was subjected to one of the worst south-westerly storms for years, the wind sweeping round the shore in a veritable hurricane. A greater test of endurance could hardly be imagined, and the runners were practically all completely exhausted at the end of the 6¼ mile run. High tide and a heavy surf drove the runners on to the road after a few hundred yards and then they had to batde for over two miles against a wind that almost brought them to a standstill. Going up the Vosseler Hill with the wind in the rear, permitted fast time to be made, but at the top of the ridge some of the runners were almost carried off their feet. Descending into the valley was hazardous proceeding with the unsecure foothold and the force of the gale. Coming out on to the road again, the runners had to face the wind a second time and fight their way against a blending combination of wind, sand and spray for two miles to the finish.

From a fast start, Bagnall and O'Connor (Victoria) gradually came to the front and led to Moa Point, where Stewart (Otago) came to the fore and set a smart pace up the Vosseler Hill. Shannon and Smith (Canterbury) came up into second and third places, leaving Bagnall fourth and O'Connor sixth. The finish was one of the most exciting and one of the finest pos-sible, when Bagnall who had steadily moved up, challenged Stewart over the last mile. There was a neck-and-neck race to the tape, but Bagnall could not quite do it. A. Stewart (Otago) finished first, G. Bagnall (Victoria) second, followed by A. Shannon and L. D. J. Smith (Canterbury), A. Sutherland (Otago), M. O'Connor (Victoria) and H. T. Jellie (Auckland). In the teams championship the results were: Otago (23 points) 1, Victoria (29 points) 2, Canterbury (36 points) 3, Auckland (53 points) 4.

page 131

The V.U.C. team was D. Cairns, A. G. Bagnall, R. Garnham, M. O Connor, D. R. Scrymgeour and F. B. Shorland.

"The event was undoubtedly a classic,' writes "Whipper In" in the "Dominion," "and there is no evidence to show why it cannot rank large in the national sporting progress." Such unsolicited praise as this most certainly shows that the event was worth while, and, whether it becomes of importance in the sporting progress of New Zealand or not, at any rate it deserves a very high place in the interest of the University. Such events as this show that the true University spirit does exist between the four Centres and interest and the sporting feeling of rivalry between them is thus kept alive.

After this worthy conclusion to the V.U.C. Harrier Club's season, it remains only to express the Club's sincere addreciation to the hostesses who have helped the social side of the sport. To Mesdames D. Cairns, J. S. Oliver, J. O. Shorland and Mr. and Mrs. G. F. Dixon our best thanks are due for their generosity and kindness in entertaining us after runs. Such friendly gatherings in no small measure help to foster the Club spirit between individual members of the clubs.