Eighteen intrepid TVOC juniors competed in the 2023 national final of the Yvette Baker Trophy (YBT) inter-club competition on 9th July hosted by South Yorkshire Orienteers (SYO) in Doncaster. Some juniors travelled up the night before, some on the morning of the competition, some by car and some by train, but we all made it to Sandall Beat Wood by 12noon for the Team Parade (think Olympics opening ceremony, but on a smaller scale)!
Sandall Beat Wood is a very small area for a major competition, bounded by Doncaster Racecourse, a main road and a railway line, with lots of ditches and vegetation. As a result of this, some of the longer courses had double-sided maps. The map and courses can be found on Routegadget by clicking here.
We were one of seven larger clubs from across the country who qualified for the YBT final through different regional heats held throughout the spring. Our qualifying heat was at Bloom Wood, near Marlow, where we beat Southern Navigators and Happy Herts, who had both finished in the top 5 in last year’s YBT final, and so we knocked them out of the 2023 competition. In the 2022 YBT Final we finished in 6th 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.
In Doncaster, the YBT start times were from 12.30pm and our juniors were well-spread across the two hours of the start window. A spectator control close to the finish allowed parents to watch the action from a safe distance, whilst also keeping an eye on the finish itself. 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, everyone was called together for the results and prizegiving ceremony, where we waited nervously 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 in reverse order: Southdowns had come 7th, then Manchester & District in 6th, West Anglia 5th and Airienteers 4th. At this point everyone in the team was holding their breath – had we managed to beat West Cumberland, who have a number of junior international athletes; YES, YES! West Cumberland were 3rd and went up to collect their trophy. We knew it was likely that we had been beaten by a very strong (and large) SYO squad, and so it transpired. We were announced as coming second, so we triumphantly went up to claim our trophy and sweet prizes!
Team Results from Yvette Baker Trophy final:
1st SYO: 891 points (with 58 starters)
2nd TVOC: 869 points (with 18 starters)
3rd WCOC: 847 points (with 14 starters)
The photo above, courtesy of Wendy Carlyle, shows the squad with their 2nd place trophy. All other photos in this article are courtesy of Paul Taylor.
Wow, just wow – our juniors were fantastic again, just like in the qualifying heat; a stunning result! Every one of our team of 18 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 a number of top three individual finishes (including Matvei Dnestrovskij who won Orange). We were only beaten by a large South Yorkshire squad, who have now won the YBT for 4 years in a row.
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 the same courses earlier in the day).
Official photos from the day can be found here.
Thank you so much to all the juniors who participated and to parents who brought them along and supported us. A particular thank you to Heidi Lloyd for organising a number of training sessions for juniors during the spring and for organising club tops for our team members.
It’s fantastic to have your support.
TVOC Junior Rep