Their team total was the lowest the Hunt has achieved in recent years, with six runners placed in the top 50 (out of over 350 runners).
Huntsman Rory Fraser (Ch UVI) was first home in 13th place with a time of 34.34, marking a strong start to his final season with the Hunt. Impressively, Charlie Tait-Harris (S IV) secured 18th place in 35.04 despite only being in the Fourth Form, in a race largely involving much older runners. In fact, three of the fastest six runners - 'our 'counters' - were from the Fourth Form, with Freddie Huxley-Fielding coming 27th with a time of 35.51 and Will Hayward coming 46th with a time of 36.52. With two Fifth Formers in the squad (Ben Remnant and Oscar Dickins) and with Theo Clarke moving into the Upper Sixth next year, this is not only a very talented squad, but a young one too.
Ben Remnant’s 34th place and Theo Clarke's 41st left the Hunt with a team total of 179 points, over 30 points better than the previous year. Our final counter was newly-appointed Junior Whip Sean Sawyer (PH UVI) who in his first ever Knole Run can be proud to have made it into the top 100 with 99th and a time of 39.43.
The strongest girls’ squad we have ever assembled performed extremely well too. Sophie Pelling (EDH UVI) pushed into the top 50 with 46th, and a superb run for Tatty Hunt (EDH LVI) saw her take 38th place in 22.36. Two minutes ahead of her, Tory Mobley (EDH LVI) repeated her top-10 performance from last year (albeit for her previous school Tudor Hall) with 6th position in 20.35.
Captain of the Girls’ Hunt Lucie Cornwell-Lee was unfortunately out through injury but would have certainly been in amongst our top counters. In her absence, Jasmine Douglas (MSH UVI), Eliza Thompson and Claudia Kimpton-Smith (both EDH LVI) worked hard to keep our points total down, with Eliza finally coming through as our fourth counter and a top 100 finish. The team placed 10th overall out of 27 teams, our best result ever by a very long way!
The depth of our running talent was demonstrated by the excellent performance of our boys’ ‘B’ squad. With two key individuals unable to compete due to injury, the squad nevertheless ran hard and can be proud of their 26th place (out of 42), beating many schools’ ‘A’ teams.
Particularly impressive was Charlie Davis (PH LVI) who was our first ‘B’ team counter in 101st position (in a time of 39.44), followed by more promising talent from the Fifth Form with Charlie Rogers (Rb) and Harry Adair (Rt) crossing the line in 115th and 127th respectively.
Once again, the Hunt's season has commenced with recognition on a national level and a firm statement about our challenge for the season ahead. Rory Fraser is now the proud owner of three Knole team bronze medals – an impressive collection – and the remainder of his squad will look ahead to the next year or two (indeed the next three years in the case of a few) in our bid to target a national title and an historic first win at Knole.
We now turn our attention to the build-up for the national King Henry VIII relays in Coventry on 5th February, though will have races at Uppingham next Saturday (the first race in the Independent Schools’ League) and on the 1st February for the Shropshire Schools’ County Championships. Twenty of our athletes got the opportunity to begin their season racing at Knole, but there are well over 30 more eager and waiting in the wings to get on their RSSH vest and get racing! On, on…
Please see the full Knole Run 2014 report by Peter Middleton, Teacher in Charge of the Hunt.
Below: Tory Mobley