Olympians Samantha Murray and Jamie Cooke made it two wins from two as they took victory at the second Pentathlon GB National Ranking Competition of the year in Bath on Saturday.
It was roles reversed from January’s opening ranking competition as Murray led from start to finish with Cooke taking control in the laser run before holding onto his advantage in the horse-riding discipline. It made it a hat-trick of UK victories for the duo with both also enjoying success at the 2017 British Pentathlon Championships last June.
In the women’s event, Murray finished ahead of Kerenza Bryson (2nd) and Zoe Davison (3rd) with Cooke edging out Myles Pillage (2nd) and Tom Toolis (3rd) in the men’s competition. That meant Plymouth duo Bryson and Myles were the highest placed Junior athletes in the respective events for the second consecutive event.
Story of the Day – Women’s event
2014 World Champion Murray made the perfect start in the fencing hall, a stunning display seeing her record 23 victories and just 3 defeats from her 26 bouts. Behind her, there was a return to form in the discipline for Plymouth’s Bryson who secured 20 victories. Bristol’s Charlie Follett (17 victories) and Morecambe’s Georgia Hannam (16 victories) who both competed alongside Bryson at the Budapest Indoor Competition last month rounded out the top four after the opening discipline at the University of Bath.
It was also Clitheroe’s Murray who led the way in the swim with an impressive time of 2:13.51 at such an early stage of the season. She finished ahead of fellow Pentathlon GB National Training Centre based athletes Hannam (2:17.11) Sarah Collin (2:17.35). It meant 28-year-old Murray enjoyed a healthy 47 second advantage over Bryson after the opening two disciplines with Hannam a further 16 seconds back in third.
Wet and windy conditions meant that the shooting element played a significant factor in the race outcome. The quickest laser run of the day saw Bryson significantly cut the gap at the top and more importantly put more distance between herself and the chasing pack. That chasing pack was led by Saddleworth’s Olivia Green who moved from 7th to 3rd with the second quickest laser run time. Things were extremely tight for the final podium position though with 6th place Francesca Summers just 8 points behind Green after the opening four disciplines.
As expected, significant changes were still to follow in the horseriding discipline, most notably Green being eliminated after an error in the warm-up arena. That left three in the battle for bronze and just a single knockdown for Stroud’s Zoe Davison saw her collect 293 points and take 3rd behind Murray and Bryson who both safely navigated their way around the course.
Behind the leading trio, Summers finished 4th with Hannam 5th and Follett 6th. Somerset’s Holly Parker came home 7th for the second consecutive ranking competition with Wales’ Seren Alin, Hertfordshire’s Amy Silk and Yorkshire’s Clemmie Cooper rounding out the top 10.
Story of the Day – Men’s Event
The Men’s event also began in the fencing salle with a fantastic display from Rio Olympian Joe Choong seeing him top the opening discipline with 25 victories and 5 defeats from his 30 bouts. Junior athlete Myles Pillage finished 3 hits further back in second with Jamie Cooke, Tom Toolis and Paul Hodgson all recording 20 victories.
In the pool, it was Pillage who led the way for the second time, stopping the clock in 2:02.43, comfortably ahead of Cooke (2:05.09) and Toolis (2:06.88) who finished the discipline in 2nd and 3rd respectively. It meant that Plymouth’s Pillage had a 7-second advantage over Orpington’s Choong after the opening two disciplines with Cheltenham’s Cooke a further 13 seconds back in third.
In the laser run, Cooke made the decisive break at the end of the third loop though and a solid final shoot saw him leave the range for the final time with a lead he wouldn’t relinquish, crossing the line 13 seconds ahead of Pillage who edged out Toolis on the final loop. Choong, who was handed a 10 second penalty after a false start, then completely took himself out of contention as he slipped to 7th after four disciplines.
Unlike the women’s competition, there were no changes at the top, as the top 7 remained unchanged in the final discipline, meaning Cooke finished ahead of Pillage and Toolis in the final standings. Sam Curry came home 4th with Paul Hodgson 5th, Oliver Murray 6th and Joe Choong 7th. Hampshire’s George Budden moved up to 8th after the final discipline with Okan Onay 9th and Cambridge University’s Freddie Bunbury 10th.
Report courtesy of Pentathlon GB