The first fixture of the Oxfordshire Cross Country League took place last Sunday at new venue Newbury.  Bicester AC had a slightly smaller turnout than normal but there were several decent performances amongst the 23 Bicester competitors.  Pride of place went to Ben West, fresh from his very good 2nd in the recent Chiltern Cross Country League.  This time in the under 15/17 race,  West strode to an emphatic victory in the 37 strong field clocking 16mins 48secs with the runner up 26 seconds back.  West spearheaded a strong team effort in this race with under 15 Max Nicolle stepping up to on an older age group and placing an impressive 10th (18mins 14sec) despite racing against several athletes who were much older.  Samuel Worfolk, also making his debut in the under 15 age group, ran well for 29th (20mins 52secs) enabling the team to take a promising 4th in the team standings after race 1.

When Tom Gould made his Bicester debut as an under 11, he initially struggled in cross country races.  However Tom has now matured into a fine cross country performer and he made a fine debut in the senior race placing 103rd (37mins 16secs) out of a field of over 300 finishers.  The first three placers in the Bicester AC under 15/17 girl’s team also have a strong tradition of competing through the age groups.  Amy Gould, who has competed consistently well for Bicester over the longer distances , led the team home in 21st place clocking 14mins 41secs.  She was followed home by middle distance specialist Molly Acton who was 34th in 16mins 18secs.  Holly Hunter has developed into a fine thrower and hurdler but showed she could still run as well with 40th (17mins 14secs).  Kerry Hickman completed the Bicester finishers with 45th (22mins 17secs) with the team placing 11th.

Imogen Cox produced a personal best in her final run of last season and showed that this was not a one off with a fine 8th place in the under 11 girl’s race (7mins 16secs) contested over a 1200 metres course.  Over 56 runners finished this race with Bicester’s Isla Bohannon placing 32nd (8mins 09 secs), Katie Groves 39th (8mins 16secs) and Alanna O Neill 44th (8mins 25secs).

Bicester’s largest contingent was in the under 13 boy’s race contested over 2000 metres.  Freddie Taylor lead the team home in 14th (9mins 43secs) out of the 52 finishers.  Edward Joliffe contested sprint races in the Summer so his 26th placing (10mins 05secs) was a very good effort over the distance.  Michael Cadle performed well in his first run in an older age category for 27th (10mins 11secs with Jamie Rendell (39th in 10mins 36secs) and Ben Groves (49th in 11mins 38secs) completing the Bicester finishers. The team was 6th in the team standings.

There was a smaller turnout in the under 13 girl’s race but Georgia Usher produced a fine first run in an older age category as she placed 12th in the 48 strong field run over 2000 metres clocking 10mins 11secs.  Amelia Cox completed the team scorers in 28th place (11mins 03secs) leaving the team in 9th place after race 1.

Three of the Bicester AC contingent finished in the top half of the 53 strong field in the under 11 boy’s race contested over a 1200 metre course.  Timothy Jones led the Bicester contingent home in 14th place (6mins 58secs).  He was followed by Freddie Rendell who ran well for 19th (7mins 07secs).  Owen Stocker made his cross country debut for the club and did well to make the first half with 22th (7mins 08secs) with the Bicester finishers completed by Harry Rendell (7mins 54secs).