Cuppers 2004

Cuppers was held on Coe Fen on Sunday 22 February at 2pm. It was planned and organised by Ash, who almost at the last minute discovered he had a cycling Varsity Match on the same day. Not noted for his personal organisational skills, he has previously failed to turn up for a committee meeting, in his own words, 'perhaps because I'm a bit vacant'. It was agreed that he would put out the controls beforehand and leave somebody else to time people on the day. Guess who that was?

In our wisdom we'd decided to hold Cuppers in Lent term to avoid exams in Easter term. We'd forgotten about the British climate, though. The day dawned bright and sunny, then it rapidly clouded over, the wind got up and it started sleeting. A typical orienteering day, then.

Ash did a good job of planning on Coe Fen, which is not the best area for orienteering. The start was a bench behind the engineering department, which might have been difficult to find if it was not for Ash's aerial photograph showing the exact location. Now there's a new idea for an Elite AlcO map... Controls were plastic cups nailed into the ground, cunningly disguised as litter to blend in with the rest of Coe Fen and avoid vandalism, making it even more fun than usual to find them. There was a particularly deep and wet ditch to be negotiated between the last control and the finish, with the choice of going through it or taking the long way round the end. The start and finish offered a perfect view of the ditch which was entertaining as we watched people hover at the edge, then disappear completely in a splash of muddy water. They then staggered up the other side to the finish and had to be prevented from dripping dirty ditch water all over my time sheet. Checking partly disintegrated, smelly control cards was distinctly unappealing but unfortunately necessary, as in his desperation to keep up with Alan, one Catz cross-country runner decided the some of the women's controls were more attractive. More haste, less speed, and even disqualification.

We had 21 competitors altogether, which taking account of the weather wasn't a bad turnout. Full teams were fielded by Emmanuel, Trinity, St Catherine's (two) and Churchill. The team trophy was won by the Emmanuel team, consisting of Alan Elder, Toby Kirk and Angela Laycock. The individual trophies were won by Alan Elder and Ali Ingleby. Thanks to Ash for planning and organising, and let's hope it's warmer next year!

Written by Rosemary Dyer

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