Headington Roadrunner Steve Kimber will bid for a third successive Oxford Mail Cross Country League title as the new season gets under way at Ascott-under-Wychwood on Sunday.

Kimber has beaten all-comers for the overall and senior men's titles for the last two years, but he is set for quite a tussle if he wishes to retain his crown again.

Although Cirencester's Pancho Gonzalez-Diaz is out of the country, Kimber could face a tough challenge from Ed Womersley.

The reigning junior men's champion is set to make the step up to senior level this year, and he has the ability to push Kimber all the way.

In the women's competition, the return of Headington's Jude Craft should make for an interesting challenge.

Cirencester's Wendy Jones is the reigning champion, but in Craft, she will face stiff competition.

Along with White Horse Harriers' Frances Briscoe and Cirencester's Ellen Leggate, the ladies' competition should be a close-run affair.

In the battle for team honours, Headington are favourites to retain the men's title, while Cirencester, with the strength of Jones and Leggate, should successfully defend women's crown.

Team Kennet's junior teams look strong, as do Oxford City's, perennial challengers at all age groups.

A new team this year, is the Bicester Blue Fins Triathlon team, who will enter a number of junior competitors.