First and foremost, your poor old correspondent must apologise for how late and insubstantial his Series report is. If you use a quill and parchment and try to harness the wild inclinations of carrier pigeons, there are always going to be problems. On reflection, it was probably a mistake to put the laptop in the dishwasher.

You will expect me to bemoan the poor Couriers team performance this summer and it is true that we recorded a Series TW [Team Worst], finishing in a hangdog 4th spot, having slithered to a wretched 7th on our home Westhope patch in July, despite all Clive’s efforts to prepare a Couriers’ wicket.

But I refuse to take a negative view and as a springboard for winter, let me enumerate a number of triumphs achieved during the hot days of summer. One of these is NOT the outrageous trick photography which I gather has appeared in certain dark corners of the internet. Not content with redacting the image of a resplendent Geoff Kay at Kinnersley, the Club photographer next went to work on his Abbey Dore negatives to distort the person of our Chairman in a frankly pornographic way. It is about time services such as Headbook clamped down on this sort of behaviour.

But it was positives I was about to enumerate, so let me get on and do so! First of all, what a tonic it was to have a full quota of women in red throughout the Series. Great to have Jodie making her debut at Kinnersley…do come back for more in the winter, Jodie,…the ground will be much softer! And wonderful to have Bev Bishop racing again after so many health problems. She ran competitively in the last 3 fixtures and there’s no reason why she should not get back to her best in time. Sheryl, Bev Tyler and the ever reliable Ali all performed well in what were record fields for the Series this year. And how good to have Lisa Ruck back in the red corner, storming to a fine V40 Series victory as she works to regain full fitness. Lisa had a few battles with our other top female, new recruit and prolific racer, Tracy Miles who carried off the V50 Series award at her first attempt, a tremendous effort.

As for the men, what was most apparent was that, in every race, we fielded a weakened team. With no Matt, Charlie, superb winner of the 5K Series, Dima or Tim and restricted appearances from Rich Hughes and Russ, we were always going to struggle. And of course, Mike Link’s blood doesn’t start to flow till October, so we could not expect him to be at full throttle. But wasn’t I meant to be accentuating the positive? So, let’s mention Eliot’s fine achievement. He has been doing very limited running training in his tri build-up and knew that this would put him at a disadvantage particularly on the hillier courses, so to come out of the Series with overall 2nd behind Tim Iveson, having recorded a win at Kinnersley, a second at Shobdon and a third at Abbey Dore is an impressive effort…and he was close to beating Tim at Shobdon.

It was good to see Nigel Reade using his track speed to effect in three of the races and if he gets time for more training there is a lot more to come. Which may also be said of the returning Neil who was determined to race himself back to fitness, toeing the line in all four events. And while we’re with Peterchurch denizens, what would a summer series be without Kev? Apple pie without custard, egg without bacon, bread without dripping, breakfast without another breakfast, bones without flesh, legs without belly……Well done, Kev, four out of four as usual!

Always in the scoring team, Paul Jones made a highly successful Series debut, having a best of 15th at the competitive Kinnersley event. This is also where Nigel Clarke was spotted, taking it a bit more easily than he should have done. Come on Nige, put that blistering pace into race performance!

This is certainly what Dave did, despite not being in top form and despite having to fit racing round his shift pattern, taking a well deserved V50 Series crown. But if I had to name a “Courier of the Series” it would undoubtedly be Geoff who, now that he has added regular speedwork to his training regime, raced commandingly to take the V60 Series prize, notching two 30th places in fields of over 150! Not bad going for an old codger! And he wiped the floor with the rapidly ageing Fishface [1st V65].

So all is set fair for a marvellous winter! Cheer up, Mike, the winds, the teeming rain, the snow and mud will soon be with us. Can we make it a hat trick of male team victories in the Winter Series?