Prior to that date=actual.
Not really that complicated.
I have never seen them use the term micklemas.
Oldster is a very solid source(although so is ronb who says he never heard of it) and, as I say, one of the guys is a friend of mine so I will ask. Wasn't blood doping reasonably routine? A junior team seems a bit of a stretch, I must admit. But it was certainly a successful one.