ATHLETICS Bendigo capped a superb XCR22 season when it outran Geelong to win the men’s premier division showdown at The Tan Relays on Saturday, September 17 Athletes raced a lap on the iconic 3.87km circuit in Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens in South Yarra. The Bendigo region secured five division wins for the season, including:

  1. Premier Mens Division
  2. Womens Division 4
  3. Mens Division 4
  4. Mens Division 7
  5. Mens Under 18

The Bats had already secured the Premier division title, but were determined to finish the 10-round cross-country season on a high.

Seventh in this year’s marathon at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Andy Buchanan led off the Bats charge on The Tan in a time of 10.42.

Moama’s Archie Reid achieved the team’s second-fastest time of 11.11 as young guns Harrison Boyd, 11.44; and Jayden Padgham, 11.58; ran strongly.

Next up it was Echuca-based Brady Threlfall who was third quickest in 11.11 as another of the Bats’ rising stars, Matt Buckell locked a time of 11.25.

Bendigo’s overall time was 1:08.15 as it finished 65 seconds clear of Geelong.

Bendigo Bats Tan Relays team 2022

A Bats line-up which included Nathan Stoate was presented with the premier division banner as 2022 premiers.

The premiership capped a 10-round series in which the Bats were victorious in contests at Jells Park, St Anne’s Winery in Bendigo, Cruden Farm, St Anne’s Winery in Myrniong, Ballarat’s Lake Wendouree, and The Tan.

Bendigo was runner-up at Sandown, third at Albert Park, and fifth at Burnley.

On The Tan, Bendigo’s division four men’s team was runner-up to St Kevins as they clocked times of 59.59 and 1:04.32.

Bendigo’s team was Luke Crameri, 12.32; Jake Delaney, 13.28; Matthew Heislers, 12.44; Rory Flanagan, 13.20; and Glenn McMillan, 12.28.

The Bats won the mens division 4 premiership.

Bendigo capped an unbeaten run across all 10 rounds to be women’s division four champions.

The Bats scored the maximum of 170 points to be number one ahead of Mornington, Box Hill and Diamond Valley.

On The Tan it was Alice Wilkinson, 14.16; Ingrid Woodward, 14.39; and Vanessa Bull, 15.37; who clocked a time of 44.32 to defeat Mornington, 47.09, and Diamond Valley, 54.56.

Bendigo ran on invitational basis in division five and was eighth as Anna Mulquiny, 16.54; Juliet Heahleah, 18.38, and Libby Wilkinson, 19.57, joined forces.

In division seven, Ben Stolz, 14.05; Darren Hartland, 13.52; Nick McDermott, 14.11; and Luke Millard, 13.50; were second.

The Bats also earned premiership glory on a score of 93 points to be best of a 28-team field that included Geelong (3) 56, Bendigo (4) 49, Richmond 38, Coburg 37, Sandringham 36, Diamond Valley 35, and Mentone 34.

In the under-18 boys competition, Bats’ team-mates Angus Macafee, 12.04; Avery McDermid, 12.34; and Logan Tickell, 11.34, clocked a time of 36.12 to be third on The Tan.

The line-up of Max Rowe, 13.43; Mason Woodward, 15.00; and Thomas McArthur, 14.22, marked a time of 43.05 to be 11th in the same category.

The Bats’ number one team scored 70 points to win the premiership from Ballarat 65, Doncaster 59, Glenhuntly 52, and Mentone 43.

Bendigo’s other line-up scored 29 points to be eighth.

Tullie Rowe was Bendigo’s sole competitor in under-20s at The Tan and put in a brilliant effort to run 44.42 across three laps of the 3.87km circuit.

The under-16 girls’ team of Chelsea Tickell, 15.12; Ebony Woodward, 16.47; and Abbey Cartner, 17.04, clocked 49.03 to be seventh.

Bendigo was 12th in 50-plus men as James Russell, 18.39; Antony Langdon, 15.56; and David Lonsdale, 17.56, competed.

In the 50-plus women’s class it was Debby Kirne, 20.19; Kathryn Heagney, 23.21; and Helen Anderson, 17.46, who teamed up for a time of 1:01.26 to be ninth.

A key co-ordinator of the Bats XCR campaign, Nigel Preston said more than 70 athletes represented Bendigo this season.

“To win five premierships, including men’s premier for the first time was an outstanding result,” Preston said.

“A first XCR meet in Bendigo in two decades was a season highlight,” Preston said of the event run at St Anne’s Winery in Big Hill.

Final standings in the XCR22 series:

Men’s premier:

Bendigo 110, Box Hill 89, Geelong 82, Western Athletics 73, Glenhuntly 71, St Stephens 71, Melbourne Uni. 65, Ballarat 34, Collingwood 30, APS United 27, Doncaster 18.

Div. 4 men:

Bendigo 148, Ivanhoe 113, Mornington 93, Ballarat 88, Glenhuntly 83, Collingwood 82, South Melbourne 76, Old Xaverians 55, Essendon 53, Waverley 52, Melbourne Uni. 42, Malvern 40, Vic. Masters 25, St Kevins 20.

Div. 4 women:

Bendigo 170, Mornington 130, Box Hill 107, Diamond Valley 97, Mentone 80, Waverley 79, Vic. Cross Country 66, Western Athletics 48, Keilor St Bernards 43, Ballarat 22, Yarra Ranges 19, Mansfield 13, Williamstown 9, Collingwood 7.

In the women’s fifth division, Bendigo scored 40 points to be runner-up to South Melbourne on 68.

A great battle for the women’s under-20 crown went the way of Geelong on 87 points from Bendigo on 62.

Other placings for Bendigo Region were under-18 girls, 7th on 34 points; under-16 boys, equal 16th on 7; under-16 girls, 8th on 24, 40-plus men, 5th on 47, 40-plus women, equal 23rd on 4; 50-plus men, 7th on 34; 50-plus women, 12th on 17, and 60-plus men, 13th on 12.

In the short course standings, Bendigo scored nine points to be 14th in women’s 50-plus, and 12 in 60-plus men’s to be 13th.