TVOC Junior Squad do it again at the inter-club YBT Final: second place for the second year in a row!

On 7th July, fourteen TVOC juniors competed in the 2024 national final of the Yvette Baker Trophy (YBT) inter-club competition hosted by Happy Herts orienteering club (HH) at Northaw Great Wood near Potters Bar. The torrential rain and thunder was not ideal preparation, nor good to run in, but everyone battled their hearts out.

The bracken, brambles and nettles are prevalent off the paths in certain areas of the woods at this time of year; and ended up particularly wet. Thankfully there is a good path network, which gives route choices to avoid undergrowth. The map and courses can be found on Routegadget by clicking here.

We were one of six larger clubs from across the country who qualified for the YBT final through different regional heats held throughout the spring. As a result of participating in a qualifying heat at Gravetye in Sussex, we managed to beat Southern Navigators to secure the SCOA place in the YBT Final, and so knocked SN out of the 2024 competition. In the 2023 YBT Final in Doncaster we finished in 2nd place.

Based on each junior’s age and ability, they compete on one of 4 YBT courses (Yellow, Orange, Light Green & Green), which are also split into boys’ and girls’ classes. The best nine competitors from each club, across all classes, are counted towards the team’s overall score, so having more than nine participants gives some resilience and the ability to use tactics when considering who to enter onto which course.

The YBT start times were from 12.30pm and our juniors were well-spread across the start window. A row of club tents (in which to shelter during the rain) were located near to the finish, which allowed parents to watch the action and keep an eye on finishers. As more and more competitors finished their courses, it was looking good for the TVOC juniors, although it was also looking good for a number of the other clubs!

At about 3pm, the rain finally stopped and the sun came out; and everyone’s mood improved. We were called together for the results and prizegiving ceremony, where we waited as the results for the Yvette Baker Shield (for smaller clubs) were announced. Then it was time for the YB Trophy results to be declared: Airienteers had come 6th, then Southdowns in 5th and Happy Herts 4th. The top-three clubs were announced; West Anglia in third; then TVOC in second! Second again, for the second year in a row! The team members triumphantly went up to claim our trophy and have a photo taken! South Yorkshire had retained first place.

Team Results from Yvette Baker Trophy final:
1st SYO: 889 points
2nd TVOC: 881 points
3rd WAOC: 877 points

The photo above, courtesy of Magdalena Wyatt, shows those TVOC juniors who managed to stay for the prizegiving with the 2nd place trophy. All other photos in this article are courtesy of Magdalena Wyatt and David Dixon.

Wow, just wow – our juniors were fantastic again, just like in last years’ YBT Final; a stunning result! Every one of our team of 14 juniors gave it their all and as a team did brilliantly. We had no mispunches and no retirements. We had strength and depth across all of the YBT classes, with no fewer than 6 top-three individual finishers:

Amelie Crook – 1st, Orange Girls
Izabela Wyatt – 1st, Yellow Girls
Nathan Taylor – 2nd, Green Boys
Matvei Dnestrovskii – 2nd, Light Green Boys
Georgina R.D. – 2nd, Yellow Girls
Francis R.D. – 3rd Yellow Boys

A particular well done goes to Arthur Shaw and Timothy Green (both M10) who undertook the Yellow course – it was their first time competing for the TVOC Junior squad.

We were only beaten by a South Yorkshire squad who have now won the YBT for 7 years in a row (and had 37 participants). Last year they beat us by 22 points, but this year it was only 8 points, so we significantly narrowed the gap. In fact, this was the closest that any team has got to SYO since 2017!

The overall club scores and team results for the Yvette Baker Trophy (for larger clubs) and Shield (for smaller clubs) can be found here (with individual results split by course and M/W).

Individual results by course can be found here (which also includes adults who ran ‘open’ courses earlier in the day).

Official photos from the day are available here.

Thank you so much to all the juniors who participated, to parents who brought them along and supported us, and to the club coaches who have helped prepare us for the events. A particular thank you to Joel Taylor, who has competed in the last 3 YBT Finals for TVOC, but is now too old, but undertook the role of Team Manager this time.

It’s fantastic to have your support.

Nathan Taylor

TVOC Junior Rep