Bicester AC hosted the first Oxfordshire League Cross Country event since the 2019/2020 season on Sunday at Bicester Heritage.  There was an excellent turnout of over 50 Bicester AC runners with several fine performances amongst the home contingent.

Edward Jolliffe excelled in what was effectively his first ever competitive race against senior athletes.  He finished 17th in the 314 strong senior men’s contested over an 8.74k course stopping the clock at 30mins 01secs.  Jolliffe was also 3rd under 20 male finisher and was the leading finisher amongst the three Bicester clubs competing.  Jolliffe led home a 5 strong senior men’s Bicester AC contingent with John Stocker next home in a fine 105th (34mins 22secs).  The Bicester AC senior men’s team other finishers were Paul Jones 229th (39mins 43secs), debutant Jason Bishop 243rd (40mins 31secs) and Arran Critchley 292nd (45mins 17secs).

Finley Colverson-Martin has also performed with distinction against the seniors this Autumn but back in his own age group (under17 men) he faced some stiff competition over the 5.8km circuit.  Less than a minute split the top 6 with Colverson-Martin finishing a creditable 5th (19mins 25ses) just 22secs off first place.  Jenny Critchley contested the under 17 women’s race over the same distance and finished a fine 4th (23mins 31secs), her highest ever Oxfordshire league placing.

The best Bicester AC team performance of the day came from the under 13 girls.  Although no match for a strong Oxford City team, they finished runners up in the team competition.  Tabitha Bosley led the team home in 7th place with a confident performance improving on her recent Chiltern League effort.  Bosley clocked 11mns 31secs for the 2.76km distance.  Abigail Jones performed well in 11th (11mins 48secs) and was chased hard by Amber Busby who was just behind in 12th (11mins 51secs).  Ella Myers Finnegan (14th in 12mins 19secs) and Isla Wooding (17th in 12mins 30secs) also made the top half of finishers.  Other Bicester finishers included debutant Daria Hudson in 28th (13mins 37secs), Erin Horseman 33rd (14mins 05secs) and Evie Jasper 35th (14mins 34secs).

One of the biggest improvers of the day was Sophie Lewis in what was her first competitive outing since the 2019/2020 season.  She achieved her first ever top ten placing in the Oxfordshire League with 7th and a 6mins 37secs clocking in the under 11 girl’s race contested over a 1500 metre circuit.  Lily Childs was making her cross country debut and she finished in the top half in 14th place clocking 7mins 08secs.  Other Bicester finishers were Emelie Stocker 32nd (7mins 49secs), cross country debutant Lucy Murphy 33rd (7mins 50secs) and also making her debut, Sophie Ioannou, 37th (9mins 42secs).

William Morris was Bicester ‘s best placer in the under 13 boy’s race contested over   2.76km.  Morris finished a fine 6th in the 39 strong field clocking 10mins 12secs.  He was followed home by cross country debutant Luke Whitmore who ran well for 15th place in 11mins 03secs.  Also making the top half was Erigean Appiakhorang – Mensah finishing in 19th place (11mins 20secs) in only his second competitive cross country race. Other Bicester finishers included George Hart in 22nd (11mins 32secs) and debutant Phineas Donovan 34th (12mins 14secs).

Noah Gulvin followed up his fine recent Chiltern League effort with another good performance in the under 15 boy’s race contested over a 4.36km course.  Gulvin finished a fine 10th clocking 15mins 49secs.  Owen Stocker also made the top half of finishers in 18th (16mins 19secs) with the team finishers completed by Stanley Critchley in 41st (22mins 43secs).  

There was a good turnout of finishers in the under 9 race which was run as a combined boys/girls race and run over a 1200 metre circuit.  Bicester AC had 11 in the 24 strong field with Shay Gallagher the best placer in 3rd with Jack Murphy chasing him home in 4th.  Evie Lewis ran very strongly in her debut race to finish 6th and was first under 9 girl.  Barrnaby Bosley (7th) and Nancy Alcraft (9th) also finished in the top ten.  Other Bicester placers were Olivia Neptune (16th), Ivan stocker (18th), Brendan Kelly (20th), Alfie Pickering (21st), Haruka Okamoto (22nd) and Evie O Callaghan (23rd).

Bicester had three competitors in the senior lady’s race contested over an 8.74km circuit.  Bicester’s best placer was Leanne Stocker who placed highly in 84th clocking 43mins 01secs.  Clare Lawrence made her Bicester debut in 160th (49mins 03secs) with track athlete Emily Benfield placing 188th (55mins 20secs).

The under 11 boys found the competition stiff with Finlay Haynes the best placed Bicester AC finisher in 37th clocking 6mins 59secs for the 1.5km circuit.  Other Bicester finishers were Cyrus Ariana 42nd (7mins 22secs), Cameron Walters 43rd (7mins 24secs), Jonathon Morris 45th (7mins 26secs) and cross country debutant Joshua Bird 47th (7mins 40secs).

There was a tight battle amongst the Bicester runners in the under 15 girl’s race run over a 4.36km course.  Just one second separated Bethany Wetton (22mins 47secs) and cross country debutant Isla McNaught (22mins 48secs) with Wetton 32nd and McNaught 33rd.  Other Bicester placings included Isla Dunn, who was making her competitive debut, 33rd (23mins 23secs) and Helena Norton 36th (30mins 46secs).  

Written by N Dolden.