Cross Country action got well and truly underway for 2018/19 on Saturday 29th September 2018,
when near record fields took part in the first Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League of the season,
at a sunny Cardinal Hume School, at Wrekenton.
There was a strong wind however to encounter, but runners were not to be deterred
as they sprung into action in the ten-event programme.
With very little recent rain to speak of, there was no sign of the usual mud normally experienced,
instead, runners reported conditions being hard and dry underfoot,
the most serious problems being tufts of grass, that had been missed during a recent mowing.
Amongst the contingent were a large number of Morpeth Harriers,
who on the day managed to achieve two individual wins,
one team victory, and a number of good minor placings.
We begin with the individual wins, which were achieved in the Under 13 Boys single lap race, and the combined Under 17 and Under 20 two medium lap event, courtesy of Joe Dixon and Holly Peck respectively.
Joe also led the Morpeth Under 13 Boys home to what was the clubs solitary team victory on the day,
winning by a margin of twenty-six seconds from Tynedale Harrier Nathaniel Henderson,
by posting the event’s twelfth fastest overall of 83 finishers.
Dixon has made great strides in the summer, by mixing triathlon along with older brother Daniel,
and the younger Dixon now certainly seems to be progressing well in his sport, and this excellent
performance will give him utmost confidence throughout the forthcoming Cross-Country season.
He was joined in the Morpeth team success, with further counts coming from excellent performances by Sam Dent and William De Vere Owen, who finished in fourth and twelfth places respectively from the Slow Pack.
Dent just missed out on an on the day Harrier League medal by a mere second.
Morpeth’s other athletes in the Under 13 Boys event also performed with distinction.
Running from the Fast Pack and giving 100 seconds start to a good proportion of the field, Bertie Marr and Ryan Davies both worked their way through the masses to finish in eighteenth and twenty second places and being rewarded with the second and third fastest times respectively, behind fastest competitor Tom Slane of Blackhill, who finished in ninth place from the Fast Pack.
Morpeth’s other on the day winner Holly Peck, not only won by a clear margin of forty-two seconds
from the Slow Pack, she was also rewarded with clocking the fastest time,
and also received an on the day Harrier League medal for her achievement.
Peck has a truly remarkable record on the Wrekenton course, having won and clocked fastest times in both the Under 13 and Under 15 age groups previously, and this win, achieved in a mixed race against some girls who are close to being four years older is a superb achievement in itself.
She led the Morpeth combined Under 17/Under 20 Women’s team home to second team place,
losing out to close rivals Houghton by twelve points, with further on the day team support coming from Lily Heaton, who hopefully has now fully recovered from the illness which forced her to miss last weeks Northern Relay,
and Kay Errington, who finished in thirteenth and fifteenth places from the Slow Pack.
Just missing out on the team count was Under 20 athlete Gracie Hufton, who ran superbly from the Fast Pack, giving 150 seconds away to a good proportion of the field of 36 finishers to very skilfully work her way through to finish sixteenth, clocking the eighth fastest time of the day.
Gracie was also the fifth Under 20 finisher.
Morpeth’s other finisher in this event was Under 17 athlete Lauren Cummings,
who was also well up the field, finishing 21st from the Slow Pack.
It is anticipated that the competitive rivalry with Houghton in this age group,
will continue as the season progresses.
A near record field took part in the three laps approximately 9k Senior Men’s field,
who were led home by former North East, and Northern Champion Dan Garbutt,
making a welcome return to the North East Harrier League after a prolonged absence.
Morpeth Harriers had a superb turnout in this event, with a total of nineteen finishers getting around, in a finishing field of 594. In a very close Division One team race, Morpeth just lost out to Sunderland Harriers by a mere six points, being led home superbly by Sam Hancox, who was very easily the fastest overall on the course by a clear margin of just under one minute.
Hancox worked his way through from the Fast Pack, giving five minutes
to most of the field, to finish in an excellent tenth place.
Second Fastest on the day was his Morpeth club colleague Jordan Scott,
also running from the Fast Pack, who had an excellent run to finish in nineteenth place overall.
Third counter, and having an equally excellent run, was Sam Hancox’ s Over 50 Father Rob,
who maintained superb pace throughout to finish 27th from the Slow Pack.
Further Morpeth scoring counts came from Shaun Land, in his first Harrier League for the club following his Summer transfer from Alnwick, who finished 41st from the Slow Pack, Andrew Lawrence (47th) (Fast Pack),
and Kris White, another Harrier League debutant, who finished 54th from the Slow Pack.
Two places adrift of the sixth scoring place was Paul Waterston, who also ran from the Slow Pack.
Other Morpeth Senior Men’s performances were as follows
Tim Miley (89th) (Slow Pack), Andrew Hebden (97th) (Medium Pack),
Dean Lonsdale (153rd) ( Medium Pack),
Lee Bennett in his first Harrier League following his transfer
from Elswick Harriers, who finished 181st from the Fast Pack,
Thomas Innes (190th) (Fast Pack), Phil Walker (207th) (Medium Pack),
Fergus Bates (225th) (Fast Pack), Paul Bellingham (229th) (Slow Pack),
Steve Haswell (245th) (Medium Pack), Jim Alder (277th) (Slow Pack),
Will Clark (347th) (Fast Pack), and Steven Major (369th) (Slow Pack).
Morpeth Harriers Senior Women certainly made a promising start to this year’s Division One Harrier League campaign, by finishing third on the day behind winners Tynedale Harriers and second placed North Shields Poly.
The club were led home by Vicky Gibbs, making a competitive comeback following a period of injury.
Running from the Slow Pack, Gibbs finished eleventh overall.
Six places behind Vicky, was her Morpeth club colleague Emma Holt,
who is also recovering from injury, after missing most of the summer competition.
Running from the Fast Pack and giving five minutes to a good proportion of the 450 strong field,
Holt posted the fastest time of the day, although afterwards was strong enough to admit that
she had been running scared, with second fastest Georgia Campbell of Jarrow and Hebburn
only a mere four places and around ten seconds adrift of her.
Morpeth’s excellent scoring count was completed by newcomer Rachel Falloon,
who finished 30th from the Medium Pack, and posting the sixth fastest time,
and Gwenda Cavill, who finished 61st from the Slow Pack.
In addition to the scoring four, Morpeth Women were also well
supported by a further six who faced the starter.
Results were as follows
Sue Smith (116th) (Slow Pack),
Jilly Bell (131st) (Slow Pack),
Jane Briggs (135th) (Medium Pack),
Lorna MacDonald (146th), Jill Bennett,
making her Harrier League debut for Morpeth
by finishing 151st, from the Medium Pack,
Lesley Chapman (174th) (Slow Pack).
Although they just lost out in the team race to Houghton,
Morpeth Harriers Under 17 Men performed superbly in their two medium lap affair,
by providing the event with its third, fourth, and fifth fastest finishers in the field of 31.
The clubs first finisher, and third fastest, Tom Balsdon very nearly won the event,
just losing out to Houghton’s Will Bellamy by a mere second in a closely fought encounter from the Slow Pack.
Not far behind Bellamy and Balsdon in third place was Morpeth’s Rowan Bennett,
making his Harrier League debut for the club following his summer transfer from Elswick.
Completing the Morpeth Under 17 Men’s scoring count was Daniel Melling,
who posted a fifth fastest time from the Fast Pack, to finish twelfth overall.
Morpeth’s other finisher in this event Sam Bradley, finished 21st from the Slow Pack.
Very much in superb form at the moment is Morpeth’s Under 15 Boy Euan Duffin,
and he certainly kept up this form, by easily posting the fastest time in their one lap race.
Giving 100 seconds away to a good proportion of the 62 strong finishing field,
Duffin worked his way through to finish thirteenth overall from the Fast Pack,
leading his club to second team place behind a strong Tynedale Harriers squad.
Approaching the finish line, Duffin just managed to outsprint his Morpeth
club colleague Matthew Walton, who had a Slow Pack start.
Completing the Morpeth scoring count was Callum Rowell, who placed 25th from the Slow Pack.
Although just a few places and seconds outside the scoring three,
Dylan Davies can feel well pleased with his seventh equal fastest clocking,
having run from the Fast Pack to finish 33rd.
Alex Porteous finished 55th from the Fast Pack, having not competed for some time.
Morpeth’s Under 15 Girls just lost out by one point in their attempt
to win a top three placing in their single lap event.
They were led home by Abby Leiper in her first Harrier League for the club.
She finished in seventh place from the Slow Pack and was twelfth fastest overall.
Supporting her in the Morpeth team count was Rebecca Bradley (10th) (Slow Pack),
and Rhiannon Hedley, making a welcome return to Cross Country action, finishing thirteenth from the Slow Pack.
Other Morpeth Harriers finishers in the Under 15 Girls event were Laura Melling and Faye Archbold,
who finished 29th and 30th respectively from the Slow Pack, and two seconds apart.
Morpeth Harriers had two athletes competing in the Under 11’s Two Small Lap “Try it Cross Country”
non-scoring events that preceded the main eight event programme.
Oliver Tomlinson ran superbly to finish a close fourth in the Boys race,
and Keira Peck, younger sister of Holly finished seventh in the Girls race.
The Wrekenton venue will next be called to use for the annual North Eastern
Counties Cross Country Championships, scheduled to be held early in December.
North Eastern Harrier League action will continue next Sunday, with the holding of the second fixture
at Druridge Bay, where there will be an adjusted timetable, see the league website on www.harrierleague.com
An excellent start to the Cross-Country season for Morpeth Harriers, no doubt, more to come.
Morpeth Harriers held the final events in their 2018 Young Athletes Club Road Championships,
sponsored by Reeves, The Pensions Specialist, on the evening of Monday 24th September 2018.
On this occasion it was the turn of their Under 11 age group,
and only eight contestants faced the starter on the 1.30mile circuit of Lancaster Park.
There were six in the Boys line-up, with only two contesting the Girls event.
On a dry night, the Boys were led home by Oliver Tomlinson, who won the Gold Medal in an excellent 9m27s.
Second place, and a Silver Medal went to Hamish Tweedie, who posted a finishing time of 10m07s.
The Bronze Medal for third place went to Finn Tillmouth, who crossed the finish line in 10m14s.
As in 2017, Keira Peck, younger sister of Under 17 Girl Champion Holly,
took the Under 11 Girls Championship, getting around the circuit in 10m26s,
which was about 59 seconds adrift of her previous winning performance.
The Silver Medal in the Girls Championship went to Tamara Bowen,
who finished in 10m49s.
Other performers in the Boys event were as follows
Ashton Glover (4th) 10m58s,
Frank Roberts (5th) 11m07s,
Gregor Chandler (6th) 11m11s.
Many thanks to all helpers on the night, and over the three-week series of events.
Medals and trophies for all events will be presented at a
special presentation night on Sunday 18th November 2018,
to be held at Gianni’s Italian Restaurant in Morpeth,
admission will be by ticket only, watch this website for further details.
A quiet corner of Manchester certainly became very much alive
at approximately 12.50pm on Sunday 23rd September 2018,
when the diminutive frame of Dylan Davies brought Morpeth Harriers Under 15 Boys home
to an excellent set of Gold Team medals in their 3 x 3.1k Relay, in the annual
Northern Athletics Autumn Road Relay Championships, held at Sport City,
next to the Etihad Stadium, home of Premiership Champions Manchester City.
An excellent first leg clocking of 11m33s by Ben Waterfield, saw him sitting in eighth spot,
however he was only a mere ten seconds adrift of a medal placing,
and only eighteen seconds adrift of early leaders, and local North Eastern rivals
North Shields Poly, courtesy of Josh Blevins, who clocked what was eventually
to emerge as the second fastest time of the day.
This mattered nothing to Morpeth’s second leg runner Euan Duffin however,
as he quickly set about clawing back any deficits, to eventually grab an
eleven second margin of lead, over newly second placed Wirral,
with a fastest of the leg clocking of 11m19s, which was eventually
to emerge as third fastest overall on the day.
Duffin, who is his clubs’ newly crowned Under 15 Boys Road Champion,
handed over to final leg runner Davies, who managed to fend off
a new threat from Horwich and Salford, as Wirral slipped back
to fourth, by clocking a sixth fastest leg time of 11m42s,
to take a very satisfying victory by a margin of seven seconds.
Morpeth could also take much pleasure from seeing their Under 15 Boys B team finish 25th of 43 teams
that started the race, posting a total time of 39m00s, four minutes and twenty six seconds adrift
of their winning A team colleagues, courtesy of an excellent first leg run by Dylan Gooding (11m57s),
and very competent performances by Jonny Kidd (13m45s), and Ben Walker (13m18s),
both who are recovering from recent injury problems, who bravely turned out nevertheless
in the cause of their club. In addition to the medal winning performance,
the club enjoyed no fewer than four further top ten performances on the day.
The next best came from their Under 13 Boys squad, who finished fifth, and only a mere thirty-seven seconds adrift of winners City of Sheffield & Dearne, who were retaining the title they won in 2017.
They were actually closer to the Bronze medals, as only a mere six seconds separated them from Sale Harriers.
Joseph Hudspith began a strong Morpeth three-man effort, when coming home
in eleventh place, posting a time of 13m08s.
Second leg runner Ryan Davies, younger brother of Under 15 medallist Dylan,
got them up to fourth with his second leg clocking of 12m18s,
which was seventh fastest on the day, and Bertie Marr clocked
an eighth fastest of the day 12m19s on the final leg, only just
losing out to fellow North East rivals Darlington Harriers in the final strides.
In 2017, Morpeth Harriers Under 17 Men’s squad had won the Gold Medals at the Championships.
On Sunday, with only Daniel Melling remaining from the successful trio this time round,
they finished seventh, missing out on medals by just around a minute.
Melling ran the first leg, posting a time of 12m10s, as he came home in eleventh place.
Second leg runner Rowan Bennett, enjoying his first Northern Championship for Morpeth,
following his early summer transfer from Elswick Harriers, very skilfully moved the squad
up a further two places on leg two, producing the legs sixth fastest time of 12m23s.
Unfortunately, the faster finishers at the head of the field in the final third leg prove
just a little too far ahead for Morpeth’s Tom Balsdon, who himself had managed
to shake off a worrying leg injury to take his place in the squad.
Balsdon’s efforts however, saw him take the squad up to a final placing of seventh,
and only a minute adrift of the minor medals, with his eighth fastest clocking
of the leg of 11m57s, making him his squads fastest performer.
This particular squad may prove to be stronger as the winter progresses,
should older leading lights Daniel Dixon and Ross Charlton, first and second
respectively in their recent club championships, be able to join their colleagues
in the quest for success and medals.
Unfortunately for the club, the pair were away taking part in other athletic competitions on this occasion.
A selection headache for their Team Manager Mike Bateman may be most welcome for once.
Although they are going through some rebuilding processes at the moment,
Morpeth Harriers Senior Men’s squad still managed to produce some excellent
performances in their 6 Stage Relay, with each leg being a distance of approximately 6.4k.
Their A team finished an excellent seventh of the 140 teams who faced the starter,
and their B team were 25th, which means that both teams effectively finished
amongst the qualifiers for the English National Relays, due to be held on the
usual course at Sutton Coldfield in two weeks’ time.
Whether the club decide two send two teams remains to be decided,
and Team Manager David Swinburne will make his decision based upon
the likely strengths of squads likely to be at his disposal.
On Sunday things went well, especially after a very good first leg by the A team’s
fastest performer Sam Hancox, who posted an individual time of 19m46s,
which saw him finish fourth, and only a mere sixteen seconds adrift of eventual
Bronze medallists, and early leaders Liverpool Harriers, boosted by the day’s
fastest performer, former English National Cross-Country Champion Charlie Hulson, formerly with Sale Harriers.
Hancox, showed in his performance that he is more than a match for some
of the North’s best athletes, and has a great future in the sport.
Meanwhile Morpeth Harriers Senior Men’s B team were led off well by Ross Floyd,
who had his club in 28th place overall with his clocking of 21m11s,
and as third amongst a large number of B teams.
The excellent start, although saw the Morpeth A team slip back to seventh on the
second leg courtesy of Taylor Glover’s 21m20s, still saw them not far adrift of the medals.
Jake Masterman’s excellent 21m19s on the second leg for the Morpeth B team
saw the squad rise to an equally excellent nineteenth, and now second amongst the B teams.
Third leg saw Alex Brown making his Northern Championship debut for Morpeth,
having recently joined from Houghton Harriers.
Brown certainly maintained his club’s interests, as he held seventh place,
and still only a minute outside the medals with his individual clocking of 20m40s,
making him his new clubs’ second fastest performer on the day behind Hancox.
The B team meanwhile slipped three places and were back to third B team courtesy of Phillip Winkler’s 21m52s.
Morpeth Men’s A team fourth leg runner Joe Armstrong clocked 22m04s, as he slipped back to ninth,
as B team runner Andrew Lawrence progressed again to 20th, still holding third place amongst the B teams.
Jordan Scott clocked a superb 20m54s to maintain ninth place on the penultimate leg five
for the Morpeth A team, and Mark Snowball climbed a further place to nineteenth
with his clocking of 22m08s for the Morpeth B team, also holding on to the third B team mantle.
Scott’s time had been the sixth fastest overall on the leg.
Thomas Straughan produced the clubs third fastest time of the day of 20m46s,
which was also the sixth and final legs sixth fastest time, to take the Morpeth A team back
up to very respectable seventh place, also dislodging fellow North East club Tyne Bridge,
who had been a threat to taking Morpeth’s chances of finishing as first from the region.
Meanwhile Morpeth B team final leg runner Graeme Thorpe, battled to finish
25th with a personal clocking of 23m56s, finishing as fourth B team.
The Men’s event was won by Lincoln Wellington, who had led over the final three legs,
with Leeds City finishing second, and Liverpool Harriers, who had never been out
of the top three following Hulson’s opening leg, taking the Bronze medal.
A superb effort also came from the Morpeth Women’s section, who managed to turn out three teams
under the Managership of Helen King, who also very dutifully ferried them, and others down to Manchester.
Their respective squads finished in very respectable 23rd, 53rd, and 82nd places,
out of the 108 squads who started their 4 x 5.4k leg Relay.
The Morpeth Women’s A team, who included new signings Robyn Bennett, and Rachel Falloon
on the opening and final legs progressed from 39th to 23rd over the four performances.
Bennett certainly gave her all as she got around in 23m40s, handing over to second leg runner Gracie Hufton,
who excellently clawed back eight places, with a superb clocking of 24m14s.
Lorna MacDonald moved the squad up a further six places, with a very sound 23m57s on the penultimate third leg, leaving Fallon to provide a very respectable finishing touch of 23rd place, with her clocking of 23m58s.
The Morpeth Women’s B team eventually worked their way through to finish 53rd, and as twelfth B team,
courtesy of Helen King (25m00s), Lindsay Turnbull (27m11s), Jill Bennett, mother of Robyn (27m32s),
and a returning Hannah Rank (25m35s).
Sue Smith (29m01s), an injured Pam Woodcock (31m09s), Cath Young,
making her debut after transferring from Blyth (30m26s), and Lesley Chapman (29m16),
gave their all in ensuring that Morpeth’s Women’s C team finished in a very respectable 82nd place,
and were tenth amongst the finishing C teams.
Currently the Morpeth Women’s squads are going through a rebuilding process,
and are certainly remaining competitive as they do so, and this particular result was indeed most welcome,
and was achieved with a great deal of supportive teamwork by all,
and all looks bright for their future competitive engagements over the forthcoming winter months.
Morpeth’s Under 17 Women, who were without Lily Heaton due to illness,
produced an excellent effort in their 3 x 3.7k contest, that saw them finish eighth,
courtesy of Holly Peck (13m39s), Ella Duffield (15m16s), and Kirsty Duffin,
elder sister of Under 15 Boy Euan (15m42s).
Peck’s time proved to be the eighth equal fastest of the day.
Morpeth’s relatively inexperienced Under 15 Girls squad produced an excellent
team performance to finish 25th of 52 starting teams in their 3 x 3.1k Relay.
Abigail Leaper, who was doubtful earlier in the week because of a troublesome leg injury,
did well in getting around in 13m47s, and Rebecca Bradley had an excellent second leg
when she climbed four places on her clocking of 13m42s.
Olivia Carruthers battled to the final placing as she clocked 15m18s.
The days performances by all certainly epitomised the character and dedication
within the Morpeth Harriers ranks, with Team Managers being very much buoyed
by the tremendous efforts being made by those who competed respectively for them and the club.
A bright future during the forthcoming winter competitions is definitely very much in prospect indeed.
It has come to our attention that this weeks Morpeth Herald report failed to contain any Female performances
from Manchester, even though they were included in the Press Officers sent report.
This unfortunately is down to their editing process, and beyond his, or our control.
Three Morpeth Harriers took part in the North East Masters 10k and 5k Track Championships
held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium on Saturday 22nd September 2018.
David Nicholson was a winner in the Over 60 10k, posting an excellent 39m50.56s,
which places him very much high in the National Rankings for his age group.
Paul Bellingham finished second in the Over 55 contest, posting a time of 41m23.37s.
In the Over 70 Men’s 5k, Paul Bentley finished second in 24m42m07s.
A total of forty competitors took part in the second night of the 2018 Morpeth Harriers Young Athletes Club Road Championships, sponsored by Reeves, the Pension Specialists,
held on the 1.30mile circuit of Lancaster Park, on the evening of Monday 17th September 2018.
The events incorporated the Under 15 and Under 17 age groups of both genders,
with a total of 24 contesting the former, and 16 the latter.
Fifteen athletes faced the starter in the Under 15 Boys event, and were led home by Euan Duffin,
who won the Gold Medal in a time of 7m09s, taking twenty-five seconds off his 2017 time,
when he had finished second.
Duffin won by a clear twenty-four seconds from Ben Waterfield,
who took the Silver Medal by five seconds from Dylan Davies,
who had to be content with Bronze for the second year in succession,
however with an improvement of nine seconds on his 2017 clocking, a
s he crossed the finish line in 7m38s.
In the Under 15 Girls Championship. Rebecca Bradley took the Gold Medal in 8m44s,
leading a nine strong field home.
For Bradley, it was a forty-three second improvement on her 2017 figures,
when she had finished third to Holly Peck.
Second place and Silver Medal went to Rhiannon Hedley,
who posted a finishing time of 9m11s, just holding off a fast finishing Abby Leiper,
who took the Bronze in 9m17s.
Eleven athletes took part in the Under 17 Men’s Championship,
and were led home by Daniel Dixon, who posted a superb 6m41s,
just taking the Gold Medal from Ross Charlton by one second,
who had obviously run close to his coat tails throughout the one lap affair.
For Dixon and Charlton, it also gave them improvements
of six and fourteen seconds on their 2017 times respectively,
when they had finished in third and fourth places.
The Bronze medal on this occasion went to Daniel Melling, who posted a time of 7m03s.
Earlier we had mentioned Holly Peck winning the Under 15 Girls Championship in 2017,
on this occasion, Peck went one better, and won the Under 17 Women’s Championship,
adding this to her previous victories in the Under 11, Under 13, and Under 15,
a unique record indeed, having won her club championship in all the age groups she has competed in.
Peck posted a winning time of 8m14s, which gave her the Gold Medal
by a margin of twenty-five seconds ahead of Ella Duffield, with Kirsty Duffin,
older sister of Under 15 Boys winner Euan,
finishing third, and securing the Bronze medal in 9m12s.
Other results were as follows
UNDER 15 BOYS
Dylan Gooding (4th) 7m46s,
Sam Tate (5th) 8m12s,
Matthew Walton (6th) 8m15s,
Callum Rowell (7th) 8m47s,
Christian Graham (8th) 9m08s,
Ciaran Leahy (9th) 9m09s,
Steven Speirs (10th) 9m19s,
James Tilley (11th) 9m35s,
Noah Ions (12th) 9m46s,
Joe Oliver (13th) 10m07s,
Andrew Laidlaw (14th) 10m14s,
Euan Eaton (15th) 10m16s.
UNDER 15 GIRLS
Olivia Carruthers (4th) 9m34s,
Laura Melling (5th) 9m48s,
Faye Archbold (6th) 10m11s,
Sophie Coaker (7th) 10m14s,
Erin Power (8th) 10m19s,
Molly Ions (9th) 10m54s.
UNDER 17 MEN
Rowan Bennett (4th) 7m21s,
James Gilholme (5th) 7m59s,
Lewis Eke (6th) 8m01s,
Brad Brown (7th) 8m09s,
William Donaldson (8th) 8m31s,
Tom Berry (9th) 9m10s,
Harry Stoner (10th) 9m29s,
Ben Graham (11th) 9m59s.
UNDER 17 WOMEN
Lauren Cummings (4th) 9m31s,
Tilly Ball (5th) 10m22s.
Many thanks to all who helped on the night to ensure that all got around the course safely.