Oxford University Cross-Country Club

OUCCC > Competitions > Results Archive > Michaelmas 05 > Blues Varsity, Wimbledon Common Friday, 20 April
Blues Varsity, Wimbledon Common, Michaelmas 05
Blues Varsity, Wimbledon Common (03/12/05)

After storming to a five-one win over Cambridge in the II-V's cross-country matches, Oxford arrived at Wimbledon Common on a bitterly cold Saturday afternoon of December knowing that overall, victory was already theirs. Carrying all the fatigue of eighth week, both physically and mentally, the Dark Blues stepped off the coach to greet their opposition knowing that the match that faced them was not going to be easy, as Cambridge were desperate to regain some pride after the crushing defeat of the previous weekend.

First to race were the women. Cambridge employed their usual tactics of setting a fast early pace, enabling the Oxford ladies to sit back for the first few minutes until Rachel Deegan took the initiative and led the field through the water jump. After the first mile, things were already going to plan: Women's Captain Courtney Birch took the lead and from this point opened up an ever-increasing lead that saw her stride to victory, claiming her first Varsity title. An elated Birch was overcome with emotion and watched with delight as Lucia Gibson and Rachel Deegan completed a clean sweep of the honours.

Just behind, a real battle was developing between the remaining three Oxford girls and the first Cambridge runner home. Tricia Peters was the only Tab to succeed in breaking up the Oxford team and must be credited with a strong performance, as not even Lizi Brathwaite's track speed was enough to catch her back. Fresher Rachel Ward, next to finish, proved she is one to watch for the future: there were doubts as to whether or not Rachel would be able to run at all, having picked up a nasty stress injury in her leg; fortunately, she was given the go-ahead by her physio, and ran a superb race given that her preparation was far from ideal. Varsity veteran Emily Ferenczi completed the team just five seconds behind, running her final match having been selected for the Blues team every year since starting her degree in medicine, despite switching sides half way through!

The men's race was the closest it has been in the last few years, with Jon Blackledge neck and neck with Cambridge's Paolo Natali until the final few hundred metres, which saw him stride powerfully away from a struggling Natali to secure the Oxford double. Former Varsity winner Fraser Thompson was next to cross the line, just holding off fellow team mate Ben Moreau, who was also running his final Varsity match this year. Worcester fresher Richard Franzese found himself running alone for much of the race but continued strong until the end, finishing an excellent sixth place just ahead of Martin Bishop, who dug deep in the last part of the race to produce a superb sprint finish, and was rewarded by beating Tab Matt Armstrong into eighth place.

Dave Bruce ran a brilliant first race for the Blues, beating former Cambridge captain Ben Hope, and he was followed by James Hogan in eleventh place who was called upon at the last minute to replace the injured Mark Dewhirst. James had won the Seconds match the week before at Shotover, and put in a great performance, even improving on last year's Blues performance. Alan Chetwynd, another Blues newcomer, was the final man home for Oxford, just missing out on twelfth position having been pipped by Tab Patrick Ward, leaving the final three Cambridge runners trailing.

The final scores read 11-31 and 30-51 to Oxford in the women's and men's races respectively, the highest scores that have been recorded for over a decade. Club Captain Patrick Wallace is one of only three OUCCC Captains to lead Oxford to a 7-1 victory, and declared he was "delighted for everyone". Courtney Birch added: "We have all worked so hard for this victory- we deserve it, and it brings a huge confidence boost as we look towards the BUSA Championships next term."

Ladies Race (4 miles)

Pos 	Time 	Name 			Team
1  	23:52  	Courtney Birch  	Oxford
2 	24:44 	Lucia Gibson 		Oxford
3 	25:11 	Rachel Deegan 		Oxford
4 	25:17 	Tricia Peters 		Cambridge
5 	25:22 	Elizabeth Braithwaite 	Oxford
6 	25:33 	Rachel Ward 		Oxford
7 	25:38 	Emily Ferenczi 		Oxford
8 	26:03 	Charlotte Forbes 	Cambridge
9 	26:12 	Claire Day 		Cambridge
10 	27:02 	Catharine Wood 		Cambridge
11 	27:14 	Kyla Bowen-la Grange 	Cambridge
12 	27:52 	Sarah Kummerfeld 	Cambridge
Oxford win 11-31

Mens Race (7.2 miles)
Pos	Time	Name 			Team
1  	38:07  	Jonathan Blackledge  	Oxford
2 	38:15 	Paolo Natali 		Cambridge
3 	38:26 	Fraser Thompson 	Oxford
4 	38:29 	Ben Moreau 		Oxford
5 	39:24 	William George 		Cambridge
6 	40:09 	Richard Franzese 	Oxford
7 	40:14 	Martin Bishop 		Oxford
8 	40:15 	Matt Armstrong 		Cambridge
9 	40:21 	David Bruce 		Oxford
10 	40:26 	Ben Hope 		Cambridge
11 	40:38 	James Hogan 		Oxford
12 	40:46 	Patrick Ward 		Cambridge
13 	40:48 	Alan Chetwynd 		Oxford
14 	40:58 	Owain Bristow 		Cambridge
15 	41:49 	Andy Bell 		Cambridge
16 	43:46 	Richard Ward 		Cambridge
Oxford win 30-51


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