The English Schools Cross Country Cup competition has certainly proved this year to be a very happy hunting ground for the Intermediate Boys team from KEVI School in Morpeth, composed entirely of Under 15 athletes from the ranks of Morpeth Harriers.
Having won both earlier rounds, they completed an excellent hat-trick at Woodbridge School in Suffolk on Saturday 24th November 2018, when they won the Championship title ahead of Tomlinscote School of Camberley by a narrow margin of three points, with the host school finishing in third place, a further thirteen points adrift.
Whilst the individual winner was pre-race favourite Alex Thompson of Ermysted School in Yorkshire, who also competes for Bingley Harriers, it was the excellent packing of the four KEVI counters who caught the eye in winning the overall team race out of 28 scoring teams, to secure the Gold Medals.
KEVI were led home by Ben Waterfield, the Under 15 Boys North East 800m Track Champion,
who certainly proved to be no slouch on the softer surfaces, by finishing fourteenth,
and only forty-four seconds adrift of winner Thompson,
and twenty-six seconds adrift of an individual podium place.
Whilst Waterfield led the squad home, the other three counters were only a few seconds adrift,
with only a mere twelve seconds dividing the four of them.
The other scorers were Euan Duffin, the newly elected Reeves,
Morpeth Harriers Athlete of the Month for October 2018,
who was twentieth, Dylan Gooding (22nd), and Dylan Davies (24th).
Other KEVI athletes in action were Ben Walker (54th), and Sam Tate (105th).
Morpeth athletes were prominent finishers at the British Athletics Cross Challenge meeting, held at Sefton Park in Liverpool on Saturday 24th November 2018, an event which also included the UK Trials for competitors with budding ambitions to compete in the forthcoming European Cross-Country Championships, being held in Tilburg,
in the Netherlands next month.
In the Under 17 Men’s event, Daniel Dixon produced an excellent run, finishing eleventh,
only thirty-one seconds adrift of race winner Hamish Armitt of Giffnock North, in Scotland.
Dixon’s Morpeth colleague Daniel Melling also produced an excellent run
to finish 23rd, a further seventeen seconds adrift.
In the Senior Women’s event Mhairi MacLennan of Morpeth finished ninth,
only thirty-nine seconds adrift of Cardiff winner Charlotte Arter.
James Young of Morpeth, competed for Lancaster University in the Senior Men’s event, finishing in 109th place.
Unfortunately, Morpeth’s leading Under 20 Man Rory Leonard could not finish his event,
due to nasty chest infection that he had been suffering from in the week leading up
to proceedings and retired feeling the loss of a possible and hoped for place on the GB team in Tilburg.
He will now need to take time out to recover, and hopefully pick up things in time
for tackling major competitions in the early part of 2019.
Almost 100 Members and friends gathered at Gianni’s Italian Restaurant in Morpeth on the evening
of Sunday 18th November 2018, to honour recipients of awards for the years’ achievements,
at Morpeth Harriers & AC’s annual Fundraising and Presentation event.
Guest of honour was Nigel Reeves, owner of Reeves, the Pension Specialist,
who are the clubs sponsor for the forthcoming three years.
Nigel, who was on hand to carry out the awards ceremony, was introduced to those present,
by Club Secretary, and MC for the evening Mike Bateman.
Bateman described how he had been a prolific performer for the club in the 1980’s,
particularly the Steeplechase, where he had also been an English Schools winner in his time,
and he had also been a member of Morpeth’s British League squad.
The presentation covered the clubs 2018 Road Championships, which incorporated Under 11, Under 13,
Under 15, Under 17 and Senior athletes of both Male and Female genders,
with trophies and respective Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals going to successful athletes.
Awards for performance and club service were also presented.
Ben Waterfield received the Sporting Morpethian Trophy for the Best Performance by an Under 15/13 Boy,
on him winning the 800m Championship at the North East Track and Field Championships.
Rory Leonard received the Boutflower Cup for the Best Performance by an Under20/17 Man, for not only winning the Under 17 Inter Counties Cross Country title, but in addition, both the North East and Northern titles, he had only missed out on a fourth title in the National when he had taken a tumble resulting in a hospital visit after being knocked out in the process.
Bobbie Griffiths received the GRE Plate Shield for producing the best
performance in Track and Field by a Female athlete.
For their contribution to the clubs Young Athletes squad, Tom Balsdon (Under 17 Men), Ben Waterfield (Under 15/13 Boys), Holly Peck (Under 17 Women), and Jessica Gardiner (Under 15/13 Girls), each respectively received the Woolworths Trophy, Des Slowey Trophy, YAL U17 Trophy, and YAL Under 15/13 Girls Trophy.
Dylan Davies received the Bill Woods Shield, on being judged as the Most Improved Young Athlete of 2018.
Club Service Awards went to YAL Female Team Manager and Coach Dave Thomas
and George Patterson, Press Officer, and Hudson Stoker, Webmaster,
(Millennium Trophy) for Raising the Clubs profile in the Community.
The final presentation of the night saw the re-introduction of the Morpeth Harriers Athlete of the Month Award,
newly sponsored by Reeves.
It will again see athletes of Under 17 and below being presented with a monthly certificate of achievement,
which will also see them being considered for a higher award at the end of a full year of competition.
The first recipient of the award for October 2018, was Under 15 Boy athlete Euan Duffin,
who is pictured above receiving his certificate from Nigel Reeves.
Duffin, who has not only improved his own competitive abilities over recent months, however is now very much a leading player in a successful club squad, which was clearly demonstrated by him taking his club up by a mammoth twenty three places during the English National Road Relays at Sutton Coldfield, posting that legs fastest time, and also leading Morpeth Harriers home in the recent Harrier Leagues held at Druridge Bay and Gosforth Park.
Photos courtesy of Mark Davies
Many thanks from all those who attended, go to Morpeth Harriers Social Organiser Paddy Paulsen, for once again arranging a superb function, and in turn, Paddy herself, would like to say Thank you very much to all the following local businesses who supported the club by donating gifts for the raffle.
John Gerrard Hair Design, Garrards Home Bakers’, Youngs Butchers, Image Hair Design,
Rutherford's Department Store, Riverside Lodge, Mulan, Weatherspoons, Morpeth Leisure Centre,
Black & Grey Pub Restaurant, Manzil Indian Restaurant, Gianni’s Italian Restaurant, Urban Spa,
Morrison’s, Marks and Spencer’s, T&G Allen, The Vault Cafe, Faydani Beauty, Ashington Leisure Spa,
White Stuff, Osborn Jewellers, Costa Coffee, & Ephesus Restaurant.
Posting a finishing time of 3hrs25mins48secs, Morpeth Harrier Gavin Bayne finished fifteenth
in the Newcastle Town Moor Marathon on Sunday 18th November 2018.
Although this placed him second in his Over 60 Men’s age group behind Bury’s Peter Bates,
who finished thirteenth in 3hrs22mins, he was first in the North East Masters Championship,
which was incorporated into the event.
This now means that Bayne has held his age group titles in all of Master’s distance events
An excellent turnout saw Morpeth Harriers field 7 teams in the
Norman Woodcock Relays promoted by Elswick Harriers at Gosforth Park on Saturday 24th November.
Fortunately, the Prosecco marquee was shut this year so our athletes were totally focussed on getting round the 1.7mile leg as quickly as possible to get back to Parklands Golf Club for nothing stronger than a cup of tea and a rock bun !
Each team of 3 must include "at least one female athlete" so the format is quite unusual and team selection can require a bit of jiggery pokery to ensure that everyone gets a run - so, apologies to Claire Calverley and Steve Major who found themselves dropping down to the Senior race to partner Lorna MacDonald - they finished in 38th place out of a total of 109 teams, so a very creditable performance by all of them !
We were chasing prizes across all age groups and our senior A team of Alistair Douglass (8.05, 2nd fastest of the day), Rachelle Falloon (9.32), and Tom Straughan (7.58) came home first with Tom picking up the prize for fastest time on the day. Rachelle on the other hand was left by the guys to pick up the trophy which was nearly as big as her !
She was very impressed when she saw the name of the first recipient -
a certain Brendan Foster from many years ago !
Our V40 team of Jamie Johnson, Helen King and Dave Swinburne finished 4th, and our V50 A team of Phil Walker, Jane Briggs and Paul Waterston finished 2nd in a close race with NSP,
and our V50 B team of Paul Bellingham, Sue Smith, and Neil McAnany finished 4th.
Our V60 A team, Les Cavill, Pam Woodcock and Gavin Bayne finished 3rd closely followed by our B team of Mike Steven, Cath Young and Lesley Chapman. Cath told me beforehand that she was "finished with racing" blaming Pam for dragging her out of retirement.
Well Cath you certainly looked like you were racing !!!
Elswick Harriers put on a great event. At the front end the racing is really fast and furious but the format means it is also a bit unpredictable ! It was really well organised both from an admin and course management point of view.
Just to say thanks to all who ran and in particular Helen and Sue who did a lot pulling this together.
It was a great team effort and you all made my job very easy !
Report by Kevin Bray