Bicester AC competed in their first cross country fixture of the season last Saturday fielding 24 athletes in the first round of the Chiltern Cross Country League held in Oxford.  They commenced the season without two of their talismanic runners from last season, Ben West and Max Nicolle, who have both gone on to pastures new.  It says for how much Bicester have grown in this competition that when they first started in the Chiltern League, Bicester placings in the top 50 were a rarity.  On Saturday they managed 6 top 30 places across the age ranges to finish 3rd best junior team in division 2.

Both of the divisional races are combined into the one race in a so-called mob match and Bicester’s under 13 girls continued where they left off on the track to produce another superb team result on Saturday, which included an outstanding 15th place from Anna Joliffe.  Joliffe smashed her previous efforts in this League clocking an impressive 11mins 37secs for the 2,500 plus metres course.  She was supported by Lucy McGrath, who has maintained her impressive form from last cross country placing 22nd (12mins 4secs).  And Jenny Critchley, who enjoyed a fine season on the track, was just 6 seconds down on McGrath in 26th place.  All three girls managed top 10 places in the division 3 race with Joliffe 3rd, McGrath 6th and Critchley 8th.  Bicester’s other two finishers in the under 13 girl’s race were Imogen Cox (59th in 13mins 05secs) and Alanna O Neill 66th in 13mins 14secs.

Bicester’s best placing on the day was from Elsie Jacobs who finished 13th in the under 11 girl’s race in 7mins 17secs for the 2,000 metre course.  This was Jacob’s first ever cross country run for the club and only the 3rd event she has competed in.   She was supported by Abigail Jones 50th (8mins 16secs), Maya Evans in her maiden cross-country race (66th in 8mins 53secs) and Isabel Smith who finished 71st in 9mins 6secs.

Louis Bushby put in a fine effort in his first ever cross-country race for the club leading the under 15 boy’s team home and clocking 12mins 13secs for the 4,000 metres plus course which saw him place 6th in the division 2 standings.  He was followed home by Edward Joliffe (41st in 12mins 42secs) and another Bicester debutant Jacob Neal, who was 45th in 12mins 53secs.  The Bicester finishers were completed by hurdler and high jumper Samuel Rayson who was far from disgraced in clocking a respectable 15mins 3secs for 82nd place. 

Noah Eastgate was also making his cross country debut and he too produced an outstanding first effort in the under 11 boy’s race placing 32nd and a 7mins 25secs clocking for the 2,000 metre course.  Kyle Rayson was also making his cross-country debut and he was 65th (8mins 05secs) with Thomas Auty 69th (8mins 11secs).  Bicester had just one runner in the under 17 men’s race and Samuel Worfolk placed a respectable 35th clocking 21mins 06secs for the 5,500 metre plus course.

Amelia Cox was one of Bicester’s best performers over the country last season and she managed a solid top 20 placing in the under 15 girl’s race.  Cox finished 17th and 6th amongst the division 2 runners as she clocked 13mins 46secs for the 3,500 metres plus course.  Amy Willis completed the Bicester scorers in 70th (17mins 11secs).  And there were five Bicester runners in the under 13 boy’s race, run over a 2,500 metres plus course.  Owen Stocker led the team home in 64th (12mins 00secs) with Bicester’s other places, Sami Singer (86th in 12mins 40secs), Django La Porte (87th in 12mins 40secs), Robert Charlton who was also in his first event for the club (89th in 12mins 45secs) and Timothy Jones (101st in 13mins 18secs).

Written by N Dolden