For the first time for many years Bicester AC had runners in all of the 9 races that made up the second round of the Oxfordshire Cross Country League.  This was held last Sunday in Cirencester Park on what was a crisp and cold day.  Cirencester is traditionally one of the hardest gigs on the cross country circuit.

It has been a brilliant winter season so far for Bicester’s Elsie Jacobs having won both of her last two cross country races.  Once again Jacobs put in a competitive effort in the under 11 girl’s race run over the near 1,500 metre circuit.  She just failed to follow up her previous round first place finishing 2nd in 5mins 21secs, just two seconds off first place.  However, she is still well placed in the overall standings after two races sharing first place with Radley’s Cecilia Huepfl. 

There were some fantastic efforts from Jacobs’s teammates in the under 11 girl’s race with the much improved Abigail Jones matching her effort of race 1 in finishing 9th (5mins 58secs).  Ella Myers Finnegan, in only her second race for the club, achieved her first top ten placing in 10th just one second behind Jones.  Big improver on the day was Amber Busby who left her first round effort behind with a superb 13th  place in 6mins 7secs.  Charlotte Hornby improved on her first round placing in 31st (7mins 9secs) with the Bicester placings completed by Eloise LeMonnier Pres 33rd (7mins 16secs).

Owen Stocker repeated his first round 3rd place in the under 13 boy’s race run over a near 2,500 metres clocking 9 mins 22secs, which was just 4 seconds off 2nd place.  This was another superb effort from Stocker which leaves him in 3rd place in the overall standings after two events.   Bicester’s other finisher Robert Charlton improved 6 places on race 1 to finish 29th in 10mins 49secs. 

It was a great day for the Jolliffe siblings as Anna and Edward produced their best ever cross country runs.  Competing in the under 15/17 girl’s race Jolliffe was a superb 7th over the near 3,500 metre course clocking 15mins 23secs.  Jolliffe finished ahead of runners who had beaten her in race 1.  She is now 6th in the under 15 girl standings after two races (equal 3rd Oxfordshire runner) which is a good effort considering this is here first year in the age group.

Edward Jolliffe achieved his highest ever cross country placing as he finished 7th in the under 15/17 boy’s event run over a near 4,800 metre course.  As with Anna, Edward overturned form with runners from race 1 including a first cross country win over clubmate Hugo Jinks.  Jolliffe’s time of 17mins 46secs was 3 seconds faster than Jinks who was 8th.  Bicester’s best team performance came in this event as Samuel Worfolk closed the Bicester A team with 14th (18 mins 37secs), an 18 place improvement on round 1.  Bicester were just one place off 2nd place and the team is now up to 4th after two events.  Other Bicester places in this race were Samuel Njunga (24th in 19mins 32secs), Michael Alborzpour (30th in 20 mins 40secs), Timothy Jones (31st in 20mins 54secs), Ben Groves (36th in 31mins 35secs) and Romi Edwards (39th in 22mins 06secs).

Jago Newton did not quite match his first round effort in the under 11 boy’s race, run over the near 1,500 metre course, but still finished a commendable 8th place (5mins 19secs), particularly as this is his first year in the age group.  Newton is in 5th place in the standings after two races.  William Morris ran another good race for Bicester down in 16th (5mins 33secs).  The Bicester placings were completed by Lewis Harris (27th in 6mins 00secs) and George Hart (30th in 6mins 04secs).

Bicester had a total of four runners in the mixed under 9 race run over the near 1200 metre course with Tom Court, the leader Bicester finisher 17th.  He was followed home by Sophie Lewis in 22nd (3rd girl finisher) with the other Bicester finishers Jonathon Morris (30th), Cyrus Ariana making his debut in 34th place, Finlay Haynes 39th and Emelie Stocker (43rd).  There were just two Bicester competitors in the under 13 girl’s race run over a near 2,500 metre course.  Bethany Wetton was first in for Bicester in 31st (12mins 08secs) with an improved effort from Megan Myers Finnegan in 42nd (13mins 01secs).

Bicester had competitors in both senior races.  Arran Critchley competed in his first ever competitive race in Bicester colours and performed creditably for 267th place (54mins 43secs) out of the 300 plus finishers run over a near 6 mile course.  Team Manager Emma Gould donned running kit in the senior lady’s race run over the near 5 mile course and she did well to complete in 161st place (49mins 33secs).  And Emily Benfield, who normally runs over sprints for the club, ran her first ever cross country race and finished a creditable 167th in 51mins 26secs.  

Written by N Dolden.