The final day of the 2018 edition of EYOC saw Team GB competing across the classes in the relay races on a highly technical area just outside Veliko Tarnovo.
Following a solid day for the M16s in the forest yesterday, hopes were high that there may be a good result coming from this team, but it was not to be. Matthew Gooch, on the lead out, unfortunately missed his number one and then struggled to get back with the pack from there, and, confused around number 5, unfortunately then mispunched. Peter Molly and Flurry Grierson, although no longer competitive, both continued their strong displays from the weekend and had solid runs, showing great control through the green, low visibility areas that were predominant in this terrain. All three can take much from their international debuts, as they each achieved at least one top 20 performance across the races. Megan Keith, in the W16 class, returned to form after yesterday’s difficult run and had a fine, error-free first leg, bringing the team back in 6th. Lizzie Stansfield found the going tough, and had a few blips on the course, with the girls ending up in 22nd after two legs.
In the 18 classes, Alastair Thomas continued his fine form across the programme, with a run which brought the team back in 8th, only one minute off the lead. Reviewing his race afterwards he stated that ‘I took it nice and steady to start with and this built my confidence heading through the green, sloped areas. At one point I was leading, which was great, if a little scary, but I then just missed on the next control and the pack swallowed me up again. However, I kept it together and made up some time after the spectator loop. Overall, I was happy with the run and really enjoyed the course on a challenging area.’ Daniel Spencer was going well until injuring his eye on a branch and then becoming disorientated over the final section. However, he and David Bunn both continued to battle bravely and David managed to bring the team back up from 16th to 12th, recording his best run of the weekend in doing so. He was very happy afterwards, saying that 'It was pretty clean and, at one point, I’d managed to pull back the runner in 10th, and it was only a small error towards the end that resulted in the loss a couple of places'.
Finally, the W18 recorded a steady 13th position, with Niamh and Eilidh both recording creditable times and having been sent out by Tara in 20th, they both took time out of their nearest rivals to gradually bring the team up the rankings. Niamh and Eilidh both felt that their runs were sound, with plenty of care taken over the technical sections, rewarding them in their best work from the weekend.
The majority of the team are now returning to the UK, with the JWOC trio of Dan Spencer, Alastair Thomas and Niamh Hunter staying on in Veliko Tarnovo, before going across with Mark Nixon, Technical Coach, to Budapest on Thursday.
Head Coach, Paul Murgatroyd, said: "I’m really proud of how hard this team has worked this weekend in challenging conditions, with a mixture of the weather and terrain making for a tough EYOC. Megan’s gold in the Sprint on Friday was the obvious highlight and was an outstanding performance from a debutant at this level. This was backed up by several top 20’s in the Sprint and Long and some very good individual runs in the Relay. There is much promise for the future from this group of dedicated orienteers!"