OXFORD City finished 24th in the men’s 12-stage competition at Milton Keynes to sneak into the national event.

Only the top 20 teams were guaranteed to qualify for the English championships at Sutton Park, Birmingham on April 5.

But City learnt they would progress after crossing the line in 4hrs 31mins 28secs.

Julian Richardson ran the club’s fastest long leg (7.664km) in 26.07, while Matthieu Marshall was the quickest over the short legs (5.053km) with 17.01.

Steve Naylor, from Cassington, missed out on a bronze medal by just over a minute with his Bedford & County team.

Naylor clocked 24.29 for the fastest long leg by a Bedford athlete.

His team crossed the line in 4.06.31, with Newnham & Essex Beagles third in 4.05.22 and Aldershot victorious in 3.59.26.