Sam Hancox, Kieran Hedley, Ross Charlton, Taylor Glover, Ben Walker, Dylan Davies, Holly Peck and Lily Heaton were all amongst the star performers for Morpeth Harriers at the first meeting in the 2015/16 Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League series held atTanfield, Co Durham, on Saturday 26th September 2015.
It was also a day when the club also enjoyed seeing theirUnder 15 Boys achieve a team win, and no less than three second team places, and their Senior Men finished third in the Division 1 team challenge behind Sunderland Harriers and last season’s champions Tyne Bridge Harriers.
The Senior Men were led home by a delighted young Sam Hancox,who in doing so, also achieved his first ever individual Harrier League medal, when he finished third behind Sunderland Harrier Michael Edwards,who was leading his club to team victory.
Running from the Medium Pack, Hancox was only a meretwenty seven seconds away from outright victory himself, and he was sixth fastest in a starting field of over 600 runners, a record in itself for the Senior Men’s event. 590 actually completed the course, and further Morpeth Harriers team support on the day came from firstly Sam’s father, Rob, who also had a superb run to finish 18th from the Slow Pack.
Two places behind Rob, and also running from the Slow Pack was new signing Mark Cockburn, who unfortunately is still not able to count in team competition following his transfer from neighbours Alnwick Harriers.
Nevertheless it was good that he should crown his first outing for the club with an excellent performance, and looks to have plenty to offer for the future.
Next counter for Morpeth was the diehard Paul Waterston, who seems to thrive on the cross country circuit, and he ran well to finish 24th from the Slow Pack.
Fourth counter for Morpeth was Mark Snowball, who finished 30th from the Medium Pack.
Clocking the fourth fastest time of the day, Morpeth’s fifth counter was Thomas Straughan, who came through from the Fast Pack to finish in 36th place.
The clubs scoring count for third team place was completed by Tim Miley, who finished 64th from the Slow Pack.
Other Morpeth Harriers Senior Men’s performances on the day came from Chris Smith (67th) (Fast Pack)(12th Fastest), Mick Thomsen (69th) (Medium Pack), Tony Lewis (78th) (Medium Pack), James Young (83rd) (Slow Pack), Neil Gunstone (89th) (Slow Pack), Alistair MacDonald (90th) (Slow Pack), Tom Pattison (111th) (Slow Pack), Mick Skeldon (134th) (Slow Pack), Jim Alder (155th) (Slow Pack), Phil Walker (164th) (Slow Pack), Eric Adams (234th) (Slow Pack), Peter Scaife (244th) (Slow Pack), and Richard Kirby (335th) (Slow Pack).
Kieran Hedley had an absolutely outstanding run to win the Under 17 Men’s race from the Slow Pack, and won a Harrier League individual Gold medal.
Running steadily in the first half, he gradually made his way to the front, and at halfway he took the lead, which he maintained throughout the second lap, and came home clocking the fastest time of the day, posting a winning margin of thirty nine seconds over his closest rivals Cameron Stainsby and Cameron Allen, both of Durham City Harriers, who won the Under 17 Men’s team race ahead of second placed Morpeth.
Hedley was very ably supported in the clubs team efforts by Adam Shewry and Josh Burton, who both produced good runs to finish eighth and eleventh respectively from the Slow Pack.
Morpeth’s Ross Charlton certainly made his mark in his first Under 15 Boys Harrier League outing, by finishing second from the Slow Pack, and helped himself to an individual Silver medal.
He also led his club to a superb team victory on the day, with further good supporting runs coming from Jordan Hedgecock (6th) (Slow Pack), and Daniel Melling (10th) (Slow Pack).
Another outstanding run for Morpeth in the Under 15 Boys event came from Taylor Glover. Although not actually counting in the winning three, Glover nevertheless achieved his own moment of glory in clocking the second fastest time on the day, when finishing 14th from the Fast Pack.
Other Morpeth Harriers in action in the Under 15 Boys event were Joe Dowd (36th) (Fast Pack), Connor Marshall (37th) (Fast Pack), Sam Bradley (53rd) (Slow Pack), and Alex Cunningham (59th) (Fast Pack).
Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Boys finished second to Durham City in their team race. They were led home by Ben Walker, who finished a close second, only losing out for individual victory by a mere ten seconds. Running from the Slow Pack, Walker was ninth fastest in the race, and he collected an individual Silver medal for his efforts. Further excellent team support came from Dylan Davies, who finished fourth from the Slow Pack, and Jack Barrett, who in his first Harrier League outing finished 21st from the Slow Pack. Not far behind Jack was club colleague Thomas Cunningham, who ran well to finish in 24th place overall from the Fast Pack, with his time being the seventh equal fastest in the race.
Other Morpeth Harriers performances in the Under 13 Boys event came from Joshua Adams (43rd) (Slow Pack), Aaron Haldane (52nd) (Slow Pack), and Reece Garrett (61st) (Slow Pack).
Holly Peck and Lily Heaton both produced excellent runs for Morpeth in the Under 13 Girls event, which saw the club finish a very close second to Birtley AC, only losing out for team victory by a mere point.
Peck and Heaton, both running from the Fast Pack, clocked the fastest and second fastest times of the day, when finishing tenth and eleventh respectively. Completing the Morpeth scoring trio was Rhiannon Hedley, who finished 18th from the Fast Pack, clocking the seventh fastest time of the day.
Morpeth Harriers Under17/Under 20 Women’s squad finished as fourth team in their event. They were led home by Hannah Sheerin, who ran well from the Slow Pack to finish in ninth place overall, and was twelfth fastest in the race.
Second counter for Morpeth was Alison Brown, whose run from the Fast Pack saw her come through to finish 20th, and she clocked the eighth fastest time overall. Morpeth’s scoring count was completed by Abby Sheldon, who finished 28th from the Fast Pack, and was nineteenth fastest in the race.
The clubs two Under 15 Girls Ellie Coxon and Gracie Hufton both had good performances that saw them finish ninth and thirty second, running respectively from the Slow and Fast Packs. Unfortunately the squad need a third member to help their cause if they are to progress over the remainder of the season, and that appears to be proving difficult at present for some reason.
Morpeth Harriers had some excellent performers in the non scoring Under 11 events, for both Boys and Girls. In the Boys event which had a total of 78 finishers, the club had five from their ranks in action. First home from the club was James Tilley, who ran well to finish ninth.
Not far behind James was club colleague Callum Rowell, who finished in twelfth place. Other Morpeth finishers in this event were Daniel Dixon (the younger) (29th), Dylan Walker (45th), and Andrew Laidlaw (65th).
In the Girls event, Morpeth Harriers had two runners in the 75 strong field.Lauren Garrett finished 38th, and Sophia Cunningham finished 45th.
On a day of many highs for the club, unfortunately there had to be a low point. That low point was a complete no show by the clubs Senior Women, with no blue and white vest at all toeing the start line. Effectively this means that Morpeth will be playing catch up in this section for the remainder of the season.
388 finishers actually took part in the Senior Women’s event, and thirty two clubs completed as teams. Morpeth are in Division 2 of the league.
It is hoped that the club have some turn out for the forthcoming Sherman Cup/Davison Cup competition in two weeks time.
Many thanks go to the landowner at Tanfield Mr Swinburn, and his family for providing a splendid venue, and their collective preparation of a testing and competitive course, which made the event so much more enjoyable, and to Gateshead Harriers and friends for their on the day marshalling to ensure the event went well for all.