The second round of the Oxfordshire Cross Country League event took place last Sunday at the gruelling Cirencester Park Course. Despite going out of County, 31 Bicester AC athletes made the trip with a number producing season best cross country performances.

Finley Colverson – Martin faced some stiff competition in the under 17 men’s race. He improved two places on his first-round effort to finish 3rd, just 12 secs behind the winning effort.  The leading group of five runners were separated by only 21secs and this group finished over 2 mins clear of the 6th placed runner. Colverson-Martin clocked 21mins 50secs for the 5,960m course. Ben Groves made a welcome return to competition in 18th (29mins 38secs).

There were two good Bicester team performances in the under 13 races.  The under 13 boy’s team finished an outstanding 2nd out of the 14 teams competing.  William Morris reproduced his first-round effort to lead the team with a superb 6th out of the 35 competing athletes clocking 12mins 05secs for the 2,970m circuit.  Jago Newton had his first taste of competition since March 2020 and did very well to make the top ten finishers in 8th (12mins 13ecs).  The team was completed by Max Finnegan, making his competitive debut for the club, and finishing a promising 14th (12mins 58secs). Erlgean Appiahkorang-Mensah finished just behind Finnegan in 15th (13mins 03secs) with the Bicester finishers completed by Kyle McLeod, making his club cross country debut 31st (14mins 16secs) and Phineas Donovan 32nd (15mins 09secs).

Tabitha Bosley continued her fine cross country form with another superb run to take 6th in the under 13 girl’s race, leading the team to 3rd place over a race distance of 2,970m.  This was one place better than her first-round effort and her time of 13mins 05secs was just 25secs ways from the runner up spot.  She was again well supported by Abigail Jones and Amber Busby who both made it into the top half of finishers with Jones in 14th (14mins 02secs) and Busby 15th (14mins 10secs).  Bicester had good strength in depth in this race with the B team finishing 6th out of the 14 competing teams. Isla Wooding led the B team home in 17th spot (14mins 46secs) with the team finishers completed by Megan Myers-Finnegan 19th (15mins 01secs) and Eloise Le Monnier 29th (16mins 28secs).

The Stocker family had runners in 5 of the events. Owen Stocker revelled in the tough conditions to produce a season’s best performance. Despite competing in the previous day’s Chiltern League, Stocker was a superb 6th in the under 15 boy’s event clocking 18mins 04secs for the 4,450m distance. Noah Gulvin was also having his 2nd race of the weekend finishing in 18th (19mins 13secs) whilst Stanley Critchley battled to the finishing line to complete the team finishers in 28th (48mins 15secs).

There were four Bicester runners in the joint longest race of the day, the senior men’s race run over 7,810m. The team was led home by Edward Jolliffe who produced another superb run for 29th place out of the 294 finishers. Jolliffe was also 4th under 20 finisher and was again the first Bicester based club finisher. Although the senior course was shorter than round 1, Bicester AC times in the senior men’s race were generally slower. However, John Stocker bucked the trend as he made the top 100 finishers with a superb 78th placing in 33mins 57secs.  Paul Jones was next Bicester finisher in 217th (41mins 15secs). Arran Critchley completed the Bicester team scorers in 264th (46mins 28secs) which was also his second run of the weekend. The senior team placed a highly respectable 12th out of the 26 division 3 teams.

Bicester AC had one finisher in the senior ladies event with Leanne Stocker nearly matching husband John’s effort in beating her time from the previous round.  She fell just 15secs short of her round one effort finishing high up the placings (64th) in the 160 strong field clocking 43mins 16secs for the 7,810m distance.

Cyrus Ariana produced his best cross country performance of the season falling short of the top half of finishers.  He led the Bicester AC team home in the under 11 boy’s race stopping the clock at 6mins 25secs for the 1,460m circuit.  Finlay Haynes, who was the leading under 11 finisher in round 1, was next Bicester finisher home in 27th (6mins 49secs).  Other Bicester finishers were Jonathon Morris in 30th (7mins 02secs) and Cameron Waters 31st (7mins 06secs). Emelie Stocker was Bicester’s sole finisher in the under 11 girl’s race, also run over a distance of 1,460m, clocking 7mins 43secs.

Bicester AC competed well in the under 9 boys and girls race contested over 1,190m. Shay Gallagher competed well again leading the Bicester finishers in 4th. He finished one place ahead of Barnaby Bosley, who competed well for 5th. Bicester’s other finishers were Ivan Stocker (16th) and Evie O Callaghan (17th). And in the under 15 girl’s event Bethany Wetton finished 27th clocking 26mins 50secs for the 4,450m circuit.   

Written by N Dolden