Bicester had over 30 runners for the inaugural round of this season’s Oxford Mail Cross Country held last Sunday at the spacious Newbury Showground.  Several athletes built on the solid foundation laid just a couple of weeks ago in the first Chiltern League match.  Primary amongst these were the performances of the under 13 girl’s team, who have followed up with a strong start to their Oxford Mail Cross Country League campaign.  As with the Chiltern League, it was Anna Jolliffe who led the Bicester finishers with a strong 5th place over the 2.5km course clocking 9mins 41secs.  This was Jolliffe’s highest ever finish in a cross event.  Lucy McGrath finished in a strong 6th place (10mins 01secs).  The team of scorers was completed by Jenny Critchley, making her maiden bow in the Oxford Mail Cross Country League and finishing a very creditable 12th (10mins 33secs).  These performances propelled the under 13 girls team to 2nd place after round 1, just three points behind leaders Abingdon.  Other Bicester under 13 girl finishers were Alanna O Neill (28th in 11mins 38secs) and Anna Couzens (31st in 11mins 48secs).

Numerically Bicester’s best turnout was in the under 15/17 men’s event run over 4.8km.  Making his maiden bow in the Oxford Mail Cross Country League was Louis Bushby, and he equipped himself very well leading the team home with a fine 14th place in the combined race and 5th under 15 boy finisher clocking 18mins 23secs.  Edward Jolliffe also made it into the first half of finishers with 21st (19mins 02secs) with the team placings completed by Michael Cadle in 33rd place (19mins 50secs).  Other Bicester placings included Michael Alzapour 36th (20mins 24secs), Zacharia Singer 43rd   (21mins 55secs) and Romi Edwards 45th  (22mins 21secs).  Track athletes Ben Groves and Samuel Rayson did well to complete the 4.8km distance with Groves 47th in 24mins 09secs and Rayson 52nd in 26mins 13secs.

Jago Newton made a splendid debut in the mixed under 9 race, run over a 1200 metre course.  Newton was an excellent 4th (3rd boy) in the 46 strong field.  Amber Busby equipped herself well with 16th (4th girl finisher) with the Bicester finishers completed by Emelie Stocker in 44th place.  Bicester’s sole competitor in the under 15/17 girl’s race was Amelia Cox who placed in the top ten with 9th and a 14mins 10secs clocking over the 3,500km course.

Elsie Jacobs built on her impressive cross country debut in the Chiltern League by leading the seven Bicester finishers in the under 11 girl’s event in 15th place.  Jacobs was timed at 7mins 28secs for 1500 metre course.  There was an improved effort from Bethany Wetton, who was Bicester’s second placed finisher in 24th place (7mins 51secs).  Other Bicester finishers in this race were Abigail Jones 27th (7mins 59secs), Maya Evans 36th (8mins 23secs), Annie Rose Willis 38th (8mins 27secs), Lily Beaugrand 41st (8mins 34secs) and Isabel Smith 43rd (8mins 41secs).

Timothy Jones led the Bicester contingent home in the under 13 boy’s race which was also run over 2.5km.  Jones finished 15th  (9mins 50secs)  just three places ahead of Owen Stocker who ran a very promising 18th (9mins 55secs) in his first year in this age group.  Team scorers were completed by Sami Singer who finished 23rd (10mins 20secs).  Other Bicester finishers were Django La Porte 38th (11mins 15secs) and Robbie Charlton 40th (11mins 18secs).  And there were three Bicester finishers in the under 11 boy’s race run over a 1,500km course with Thomas Auty 32nd (7mins 30secs), Kyle Rayson 43rd (7mins 53secs) and Cameron Slevin (7mins 58secs).

Report Written by N Dolden.