The final round of the Oxfordshire Cross Country League took place recently at Henley Showground.  Conditions were quite soft underfoot and along with its hills  represents one of the toughest tests in the League.  There were three Bicester AC runners in contention for individual league series wins with two of these turning out on the day.

In the under 13 boy’s event, Bicester’s Leo Blyton and Finlay Byrne (Swindon Harries) came into the final event on four points apiece, with two league wins each, so whoever came out on top here was likely to be crowned champion.  The race, over an approximate 3km course, was closely fought between four runners which included Blyton, Byrne and Bicester’s Darragh Cassidy, who has improved as the season has progressed.  However it was Blyton who came out on top at the finish with a 10mins 9.20secs clocking and crucially finishing in front of Byrne to take the under 13 league title.  Cassidy also ran superbly for 3rd (10mins 15.70secs) and this was good enough for the 3rd place award in the final standings.  The team finishers were completed by Theodore Coogan, who chose a tough race to make his cross country debut but did well to finish 26th (15mins 3.40secs).  The team finished 3rd on the day as well as taking 3rd place in the final series standings.

In the under 17 men’s event, Bicester’s Owen Stocker was just one point behind Connor Morgan (Abingdon) coming into the final event.  Morgan ran out a comfortable winner on the day.  Bicester AC’s Noah Gulvin upset the form book to produce his best ever cross country run in taking a podium finish and a first ever top three Oxfordshire League finish for 3rd place (23mins 14.80secs) over the approximate 6km course.  He also finished in front of teammate Owen Stocker, who was not able to match his previous league form in finishing 5th (23mins 14.80secs).  However Stocker has been in brilliant form throughout the season and this was enough to secure him the runner up spot in the final league standings.  The team scorers were completed by Joshua Moran who produced another fine run in 14th (24mins 47.20secs).  The team took 3rd on the day and finished 2nd overall in the final standings.  Issac Moran was Bicester’s other finisher and despite being impaired by a niggling knee injury still managed to finish in 21st (27mins 57.30secs).

Anna Jolliffe was Bicester’s other runner in contention in the under 20 women’s category which is incorporated in the senior ladies race.  Although she did not start on the day, her previous efforts were good enough to see her crowned overall winner in the final under 20 women’s league standings.  Amy Gould produced her best effort of the season to finish a superb 12th in the 128 strong senior ladies event clocking 36mins 3.90secs for the approximate 5 mile distance.  Leanne Stocker has performed with great consistency and she put in another good effort for 49th (41mins 40.80secs).    

George Hart has been Bicester AC’s top performer in the under 15 boy’s category and although this was not his best performance of the season,  he led the team home in 13th place clocking 21mins 39.30secs for the approximate 4.5km distance.  Erlgean Appiahkorang-Mensah has got better as the season has progressed and he produced a decent looking run for 15th clocking 22mins 35.10secs.  The team finishers were completed by Max Finnegan who was 23rd in 25mins 13.10secs with the team finishing 6th on the day.    

Hannah Parsons enjoyed her best run of the winter season getting a first win over teammate Nancy Alcraft in the under 11 girl’s race.  Both runners made the top half of finishers with Parsons finishing 14th clocking 8mins for the approximate 1.5km course with Alcraft one position behind in 15th (8mins 3.50secs).  Bicester had just one runner in the under 15 girl’s race with Ella Myers Finnegan capping a good first year in this age group with a best placing of the season in 4th clocking 25mins 31.60secs for the approximate 4.5km distance.

Charlie Simpson completed what has been a fine first season of cross country running for Bicester AC with his best placing of the season placing 12th in the under 11 boy’s race clocking 7mins 25secs for the approximate 1.5km course.  He was chased home by Samuel Wilson who was 26th (8mins 24secs) with Ivan Stocker completing the team finishers in 30th (9mins 48secs) with the team finishing in 4th place.

Bicester had four runners in the under 13 girl’s run over an approximate 3km course.  Megan Surman has enjoyed a very solid first season’s competition for the club and she led the team home in 18th (13mins 39.20secs).  Maya Korn was Bicester’s next finisher in 23rd (15mins 27.20secs) with Emelie Stocker completing the team finishers in 25th (16mins 26.80secs).  Grace Fulcher was Bicester’s other finisher in 27th (18mins 45secs).

In the combined boys and girls under 9 race run over 1.2km Bicester AC had three competitors.  Franek Markiewicz was first Bicester runner home in 32nd with Layla Hendon 33rd and Ottilie Maclean 38th.  The Bicester under 9 girl’s team finished 3rd in the final league standings.  There was just one Bicester AC runner in the senior men’s race run over the approximate 8km course with Paul Jones handling the tough course well to place 164th (40mins 10secs).