The final round of this season’s Oxfordshire Cross Country League took place last Sunday at Henley Showground.  The season finale incorporates awards for successful individuals and teams.  Bicester AC fielded 32 athletes on the day with runners enjoying mixed fortunes.  Overall, 30 Bicester AC athletes completed at least three of the four races during the season and therefore appeared in the final standings for their respective age categories.

After his baptism of fire in the nationals last week, Finlay Colverson-Martin returned to more familiar ground in the under 17 men’s race contested over 5.95km.  He enjoyed much better fortune finishing 3rd (22mins 47secs) just 38 seconds off the winning time matching his 3rd place in round 2.  He finished 17 seconds in front of the national cross country championships 49th placed runner and his efforts placed him 4th in the overall final under17 men standings.  Ben Groves was Bicester’s other finisher in 17th place (29mins 51secs) and he did well to feature in the final standings despite missing the early part of the season.  Jenny Critchley was Bicester’s sole competitor in the under 17 women’s race and she ran well for 4th clocking 28mins 12secs for the 5.95km circuit.

Three of Bicester’s athletes were amongst the individual prize winners in the final standings.  In the under 20 men’s category  Edward Jolliffe, who was running against senior men in this league for the first time, finished 2nd.  Jolliffe’s highlight run was his 17th place in the senior men’s race in round 1. 

Bicester had 5 runners in the under 9 mixed race run over 1.23km.  Barnaby Bosley led the team home in 5th place which matched his best finish of the season.  He was chased home by Nancy Alcraft, who finished 10th and was 2nd girl finisher on the day.  Other Bicester finishers were Evie Lewis 14th, Ivan Stocker 21st and Evie O Callaghan 23rd.  As a result of their good performances over the season Nancy Alcraft finished overall 2nd in the final under 9 girl standings and Evie Lewis 3rd.  In addition to Alcraft and Lewis, Shay O Gallagher, Barnaby Busby, Ivan Stocker and Evie O Callaghan all appeared in the final standings having achieved finishes in three of the four qualifying rounds.     

Bicester’s under 13 girl’s team again competed superbly with the A team finishing 2nd on the day and the B team 4th.  The A team finished 3rd in the final standings.  Their race was run over what seemed a very long 3.04km.  Tabitha Bosley kept up her impressive form this season with a fine 7th place (19mins 11secs), which was the position she occupied in the final standings.  Amber Busby performed well to make the scoring A team in 8th (19mins 59secs).  Ella Myers-Finnegan completed the A scorers in 10th clocking 20mins 08secs.  The B team was led home by Abigail Jones in 11th (20mins 31secs) followed by Isla Wooding (21mins 04secs) with Eloise Le Monnier completing the team finishers in 22nd (24mins 37secs).  Busby and Myers-Finnegan both finished in the top ten in the final standings whilst Jones, Wooding and Le Monnier also featured in the final standings.   

The Under 13 boy’s team have also enjoyed a fine season, winning round 4, and despite only placing 6th in the final event still finished 3rd team in the overall  standings.  Jago Newton was very unlucky at the previous week’s nationals but put that experience behind him with his highest placed finish of the season in 5th clocking 17mins 19secs for the 3.040km circuit.  Newton finished equal 8th in the final standings with William Morris, the highest placed Bicester runner in 6th.  Max Finnegan was Bicester’s next finisher in 20th (19mins 15secs) with George Hart completing the scorers in 21st (19mins 47secs).  The Bicester finishers were completed by Lincoln Jones, who has been excelling in sportshall, and he completed his first Oxfordshire Cross Country League event in 27th (21mins 35secs).  Apart from Morris and Newton, the other Bicester runners to feature in the final standings were Earlgean Appiahkorang-Mensah, Finnegan and Hart.

Edward Styles had his best Oxfordshire League outing of the season as he broke into the top ten with a superb 9th place and 6mins 37secs clocking for the 1.5km distance.  Making his competitive debut for the club Sam Field did well to place 27th (7mins 32secs).  The Bicester finishers were completed by Finlay Haynes in 37th (8mins 19secs) and Camron Waters 41st (9mins 14secs).  Cyrus Ariana was best placed Bicester in the final standings with Haynes and Waters also featuring.

Thomas Styles has made a strong finish to the season and he led home the under 15 boy’s team in 13th clocking 20mins 28secs for the 4.89km circuit.  Noah Gulvin was next finishing 15th (21mins 07secs) with Owen Stocker following closely behind in 17th (21mins 17secs).  Stanley Critchley completed the Bicester finishers in 31st (31mins 09secs).  Owen Stocker just pipped Noah Gulvin in the final standings with Critchley also featuring.   

Sophie Lewis has enjoyed a good cross country season and she again led the Bicester team home in the under 11 girl’s contested over a 1.5km circuit.  She improved 4 places on her previous outing with 10th place clocking 7mins 40secs.  Lily Childs finished 15th (8mins 20secs) with the Bicester finishers completed by Emelie Stocker in 18th (9misn 20secs).  Lewis finished 7th in the final standings with Stocker also featuring

Other than the first race of the series, Bethany Wetton has been Bicester’s sole competitor in the under 15 girl’s age category.  She has competed in all of this season Oxfordshire Cross Country League races finishing 23rd in the final round clocking 31mins 17secs for the 4.89km course.  Bicester had just one competitor in the senior lady’s race with Leanne Stocker placing 74th clocking 42mins 44secs over the 7.25km circuit.  Stocker finished a fine 14th in the final standings for the vet women 35 category.

There were two Bicester finishers in the senior men’s event also run over 7.25km.  Arran Crtichley led the Bicester contingent home in 164th (42mins 40secs).  Critchley has competed in every cross country league event that Bicester competes in this season.  Bicester’s other finisher in the senior men’s event was Tom Gould who was 169th (43mins 46secs).  Paul Jones, in his first competitive cross country season for the club, also featured in the final vet male 40 to 49 standings.

The finale featured the first running of a mixed relay event with Bicester AC finishing 10th in its inaugural running.  The Bicester team comprised Emma Gould (11mins 29secs), Paul Groves (8mins 01secs), Tom Gould (7mins 41secs) and Leanne Stocker (8mins 52secs).  

Written by N Dolden.