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D&T kicked off the 2019/20 cross-country season with an excellent 7th place in Division One of the Chiltern Cross Country League which represented a best ever start to the for the club. The Horspath course in Oxford provided the usual back drop for the season opener. What was unusual were the conditions. Normally this fixture sees firm ground and warm sunshine. Although mild, Saturday saw intermittent rain and the heavy rainfall in the days leading up to the event made for challenging conditions with a steep hill and a reasonable amount of mud on the course. 
In the overall standings, the senior team combined with the juniors to score over 400 more points than last year which bodes well for the season as the team is usually weakest in the opening fixture. 
The men’s team performed superbly in finishing 7th of the 14 teams over the 8800m course. This was a huge improvement on the 13th place of last season. The team had no fewer than seven debutants in their number and all of them, together with the more seasoned campaigners, ran with distinction. Rhys Rowlands in his first year as a full senior led the team home with a fine run. He was well backed up with debutants James French and Sean Collum also having fine runs along with Angus Saunders on his first race in senior ranks. These four were supported by some excellent running further down the field which saw the men’s team score over 600 more points than last year, an improvement of 75% on last season.
The ladies team also enjoyed an excellent match finishing a creditable 4th, only a handful of points away from 3rd place and despite missing some key athletes like the men, they too also improved their points total from last year. Kate Rennie was the pick of the bunch, picking up from last years great season to come home in an excellent 6th place as well as being the first veteran runner. She was joined in the top ten by Claire Hallissey who produced a storming run to finish 8th. Fine running from Georgi Mann, Tina Le and Michelle Rothwell in particular contributed to an excellent team score and lays the foundation for the rest of the season when the team aims for its third consecutive 3rd place finish. 
All in all an excellent effort from all those who took part, well done everybody. 
The action moves to Teardrop Lakes in Milton Keynes on 9th November for the second match in the series and both teams will look to improve on the promising opening round. 
Our apologies we can’t seem to publish the usual list of all our competitors names hence the delay in getting this report out to you. So the full results are on the link below.

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