Annie's Angels. Annie & The Eternal Youth. Annie's Harem. Annie's Day Care Services. Whichever way you look at it, Annie Kane resembled the protective parent of her young charges on Saturday as she guided her youthful team to victory in the annual Sweeney Shield Road Relay.
Zayne Jennings led off the victorious team, trying to go with the two pace-setters in the first leg but found Lucas Duross and Robert Strong a bit too hot to handle. Lucas was dominant over the 5km with a tidy 17.19 banked for his efforts and a 1.13 lead over the chasing Robert. Zayne was another 1.08 behind Robert. Giles Pearson, Eric Phimister and Georgia Creagh rounded out the field, which set the scene for the remainder of the event with the top 3 separated from the bottom 3.
The first critical move in the race took place in the 2nd leg with Kingston Webb surging past Gina Finlayson firstly then Jenny Todd to grab the race by the scruff of the neck – turning in a tidy 10.34 for the 2.7km. The youngsters' efforts put Annie's team in control by 20 sec at the changeover. The smooth-as-silk running style of James Mikkelson took over from Kingston to send out a warning to the chasing throng. James was strong for the full 3.1km to stop the clock at 11.39. Ben Creagh also looked tidy to record 11.40 for Roberts' team to keep their crew within striking distance.
Enter Annie Kane to take on the tough grind back towards Taradale on leg 4. With a hint of adrenalin (and fear) Annie was not going to let the opportunity of a win slip by & she looked the goods as she powered through the roundabout at the bottom of the hill. Jason Pearson was doing his best to keep in touch but the lady up front was not giving up the gold medal lightly. Laura Langley impressed on this leg (I remember her giving me grief on this leg last year) and was good for a 21.49 for the testing 5.3km. Up front though, Annie handed over to the last of her babies, Ben Harrison, with a 1.19 advantage to defend. Shane Bassick set off in pursuit with the top of the podium in his sights. A combination of a determined effort from Ben (one of his better runs in the gold & black) and a less-than-ideally-fit Shane proved the winning formula with victory being attained with 53 sec to spare. With only two minutes between the top 3 teams it was a good contest that was in doubt until the chequered flag. The same could be said of the bottom three with only 1.03 between the Johnny-Come-Latelys.
Dylan Barron galloped over the 4.5km in 18.13 in his typically unflustered style to clock the fastest time.
The U12's did a lap of the block with Sam Gilbert being too strong for Ayden Jones and Braeden Kommeren. With a couple of the other Cubs deciding to do the full block, Hamish Gilbert had the Cubs victory to himself.