Forth Valley Orienteers' night series sees closest ever finish after conclusion of ten races

The 2024 Forth Valley night orienteering series saw the closest finish ever at the conclusion of the ten race series last weekend, with both Long and Short courses tied after ten rounds with perfect scores recorded, reports Steven Scott.
FVO ace James Hammond (Photo: Submitted)FVO ace James Hammond (Photo: Submitted)
FVO ace James Hammond (Photo: Submitted)

Ten time British champion Graham Gristwood needed maximum points from the final race at Stonefield, Averfoyle to get a share of the course lead in the battle to be Night King, and although he was fourth in a blanket finish, he was close enough to the leader to gain the required 100 points and equal the effort of James Hammond.

However, FVO ace Hammond retained the title on the basis of a better sixth score. Chris Smithard was third, just four points back and with four maximum scores.

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Scarlett Kelly stepped up from the short course she headed last year, and won the Queen of Winter title by 104 points from Bryony McLeod, with Hazel Dean third.

The Prince of Darkness battle went right to the wire, as both Alexander Hunt and Matthew Inman gained maximum points from their runs, and couldn't be separated even by their sixth score.

Inman is the league champion dor the first time by the narrowest of margins, on a seventh score counted, and Rhys Stanwix was third, some way back in sixth overall.

This year's Twilight Princess is Heather Thomson, who finished up with 487 points from a maximum 500. Heather has headed the class before, but wasn't eligible to be champion as she wasn't a club member at that point.

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Esme Kelly missed the first half of the season, but still did enough to get ahead of Rebecca Hammond into second place.

Hanna Brindley was never headed on the novice course, with seven wins from seven trips, and is a merited winner of the Little Star award, ahead of James Edward and Lucas Baikie.

There were more than 500 competition runs across the series, with a number of junior competitors in action in what has traditionally been an adult event.

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