The lack of availability of a suitable venue for the 3rd round of the Oxford Mail Cross Country League forced a major re-think for the staging of the Oxon County Championships. Fortunately an accommodation was agreed with Buckinghamshire where the Oxon County Championships was combined with the Beds and Bucks County Championships with the event staged last Saturday at Stowe. Inevitably numbers from Oxfordshire were a little down and the races more competitive as they included runners from three counties. However none of this phases Bicester AC’s Ben West who has barely sighted another Oxfordshire runner in the under 17 men’s races this Winter. Fresh from his success in the Bicester Santa Run, West donned a more conventional outfit in the under 17 event held over 4,800 metres. Not only did West triumph in the County race, West was also first past the post in the race which incorporated all three counties. His winning time of 19mins 21secs was too good for old rival Alfred Yabesley from Milton Keynes who West has trailed in Chiltern League Races this Winter. West will now lead the Oxfordshire assault on the inter counties championships, to be held later in the year and will hope to improve on his fine effort of last season.
Bicester’s other individual medallist was the improving Max Nicolle who competed well in a hot under 15 race. Nicolle had a tremendous tussle with an Oxford City AC rival but he finally nailed bronze medal on the run in with a 14mins 41secs clocking. As with West, Nicolle is guaranteed selection for the County in the Inter Counties event. Bicester’s other competitor was Samuel Worfolk, who not too far behind in 9th place with a 17mins 19secs clocking. Tom Gould continues to enjoy a fine season on the country and he was not disgraced in the under 20 men’s race finishing 5th in 34mins 58secs.
Number wise Bicester were well represented in three of the other age groups with the under 13 boy and girl teams finishing 2nd. There was not much to choose between Bicester’s triumvirate in the under 13 boy’s event as Freddie Taylor had to work hard to lead the Bicester contingent home. Taylor just got the verdict in 8th place (11mins 38secs) 23 seconds in front of 9th placer Edward Jolliffe who is enjoying a fine Winter over the longer distances. Michael Cadle finished much closer to Jolliffe than in previous races just 8 secs down in 11th. And Ben Groves, whose main event is the high jump, secured some valuable stamina in running bravely for 13th (15mins 26secs).
Amelia Cox was Bicester’s leading girl in the under 13 girl’s event placing 10th in 12mins 42secs. Amy Willis plugged way gamely for 15th just a minute down on Cox whilst Imogen Ansell gained valuable experience in 16th place (16mins 59secs). Amy Gould was Bicester’s leading finisher in the under 15 girl’s race as she placed in the top ten (8th in 17mins 54secs). Middle distance track performer, Molly Acton, also gained further valuable stamina strength finishing in 11th place (20mins 33secs).