Morpeth Harriers Senior Men and Women’s Track and Field squad made an encouraging start to their 2022 league campaign when they finished a very close third in their opening Northern Athletics Premier League fixture held at Middlesbrough Sports Village, on Saturday 30 April.
The match was so close only a mere thirty-two points divided the top five teams, and Morpeth were only thirteen points adrift of match winners New Marske Harriers, with second placed Gateshead Harriers only eight points ahead.
Some of the results are still to be fully confirmed, however there is unlikely to be much change to the situation for the leading contenders.
Host club Middlesbrough unfortunately looks set for the drop, as they were well adrift in sixth place, over two hundred points behind fifth placed Wallsend/Blyth.
In fourth place just behind Morpeth were North Shields Poly, and as the season progresses, it is definitely on the cards to result in a dog fight to the finish over the remaining three fixtures.
Morpeth’s best results in the Men’s events came in the 5000m and 3000m Steeplechase.
In the 5000m, Tom Innes (who is part of the new Morpeth Men’s Team Management structure, along with fellow athlete Mark Snowball and long serving Club Official George Patterson) easily won the A Race, posting an excellent first time best of 15m45.60s, and Adam Pratt took the B Race in 16m15.50s to make it a double success.
Mark Snowball and Andrew Lawrence also achieved a double victory in the 3000m Steeplechase, with Snowball taking the A Race in 10m32.00s, and Lawrence the B Race in 11m11.60s, this being his first ever outing over obstacles.
Snowball and Lawrence also teamed up in the 400m Hurdles, where Snowball finished third in the A Race in 74.70s, and Lawrence finished as second B String in 79.00s.
Under 20 athlete Evan Logan finished second in the 100m A Race, posting a new personal best of 11.30s, and also finished second in the 200m A Race in 23.20s, which was also a pb.
Hard working Veteran Dave Marshall stepped up for the first time to finish sixth in both B Races, posting respective times of 14.90s, and 33.20s.
Logan also finished second in the A String Triple Jump, producing a best effort of 11.63m, just a few centimetres adrift of his personal best.
Mark Snowball finished fifth in the B String competition, producing a best on the day of 7.44m.
In the Men’s 1500m, Morpeth very nearly achieved another double win, however long-term leader George Rudman succumbed to the faster finishing pace of Wallsend/Blyth’s Josh Fiddaman in the closing stages, having been caught with only 200m remaining of the three- and three-quarter lap event.
Rudman’s finishing time was 3m59.50s, which was a new personal best, and the first time he had eclipsed the four-minute barrier.
Morpeth’s Connor Marshall gave excellent B Race support by winning in 4m13.30s,
In the 800m event, making his Northern League debut, Under 20 athlete Joe Anderson finished second in the A Race, producing a new personal best of 2m02.20s, taking over two seconds off his previous figures.
Morpeth newcomer Mark Banks marked his Northern League debut for the club by taking the B Race in 2m08.50s.
In the 400m, Charlie Lane produced new figures of 52.30s, when finishing third in the A Race, and Mark Banks posted a time of 58.80s, when placing third in the B Race.
On to the Men’s Field Events, where Evan Logan’s Triple Jump was clearly the most evident highlight. However, the club were dealt a heavy blow on the morning by the unexpected withdrawal of specialist thrower Hayden Richards, due to a positive Covid test.
So, it was left to specialist track athletes being able to step in to fill some required gaps.
Newcomer Mark Banks took on Long Jump and High Jump A String duties, his best result coming in the High Jump, where he cleared 1.45m, whilst having to return to track events during his competition, his clearance giving him fourth place.
Meanwhile, in the Long Jump, he produced a best of 4.36m, giving him sixth spot.
In the B String Long Jump, Mark Snowball finished fifth, with 4.04m.
Richards’s absence meant that Tom Innes and Mark Snowball had to step up to the plate.
Innes placed fifth in the A String Javelin with his best throw of 19.37m, whilst unfortunately Snowball couldn’t make a mark.
In the Shot Putt, Father and Son David and Connor Marshall teamed up, and David finished fifth in the A String with 5.79m, whilst Connor putted 4.69m, to finish as fourth B String.
The Discus event saw Innes finish fifth in the A String with 13.52m, and a hardworking David Marshall weighed in with 12.92m, to finish fourth in the B String.
Unfortunately, a dropped baton resulted in Morpeth’s 4 x 100m failing to complete their circuit, however in the 4 x 400m, Morpeth’s quartet of Joe Anderson, Mark Banks, Connor Marshall, and Adam Pratt, managed to get the baton home in 3m44.80s, for second place.
Morpeth Harriers Women’s squad, again under the Team Managership of Vina Desai, also played a major part in the clubs’ overall success on the day.
Major contributors to the effort were Nisha Desai, daughter of the Manager, who managed no less than three A String victories, and Veteran Throws specialist Claire Reid who competed in four field events, achieving one A String victory, one second place, and two fourth places, and the Morpeth Team Manager herself, also gave B String support in four Field Events.
On the Track, Nisha won the A String 400m in 59.50s, and Under 20 athlete Mia Belton, making her Northern League debut, won the B Race in 63.90s, to give maximum points to her club.
Desai also won the 400m Hurdles (63.30s), and Triple Jump with a best effort of 10.26m, which was made much sweeter when Under 17 athlete Olivia Gent, produced a best of 8.16m, to win the B String,
Nisha also finished a very close second in the 200m to Gateshead’s Megan Costello, producing a time of 26.50s.
Laura Kincaid of Morpeth finished third in the B Race in 29.70s.
Not long after she had achieved victory in the 400m Hurdles, Desai also finished second in the A String 800m, posting a time of 2m24.80s.
Sarah Routledge, making her debut in the Northern League, finished second in the B race in 3m17.30s.
Morpeth Harriers Women had a good result in the 1500m, where Lizzie Rank took the A Race in5m17.40s, which was a new personal best, taking six seconds off her previous figures, and Routledge once again rose to the challenge, by finishing second in the B Race in 6m26.70s.
In the 100m, Mia Belton finished second in the A Race in 13.0s, and Laura Kincaid finished fourth in the B Race in 14.1s.
Under 20 athlete Abbie Ross finished third in the A String Long Jump, with a best of 4.96m, which was a new personal best, and Olivia Gent finished third in the B String, with 4.01m.
On to the women’s throws events, where Claire Reid and Vina Desai competed in the Morpeth colours.
Claire very clearly won the Discus A String with an on the day best of 30.80m, and Desai finished fourth in the B String with 14.16m, which was a new personal best.
In the Shot Putt, Reid finished second in the A String with 9.60m, and Desai finished fifth in the B String with 4.51m, and another new personal best.
Reid finished fourth in the A String Hammer with 26.69m, and Desai finished as fourth B String with 15.24m.
Completing the days throws events, Reid finished fourth in the A String Javelin, by throwing a best of 15.45m, and Desai produced her third personal best of the day, with 9.72m, getting her fourth B String placing.
The Morpeth quartet comprising of Sarah Routledge, Nisha Desai, Lizzie Rank, and Mia Belton, competed to finish third for Morpeth Harriers in both the 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m Relays, posting respective times of 57.90s and 4m38.70s.
A special word of praise for Morpeth Harriers club effort must go to the Marshall family, where Connor and Father Dave both competed, Mum Denise officiated on the Field, and youngest daughter even Charlotte assisted the Track Judges. Many thanks to you all!
MATCH RESULT (Subject to Further Scrutiny)
1st New Marske Harriers 301pts, 2nd Gateshead Harriers 296pts, 3rd Morpeth Harriers 288pts, 4th North Shields Poly 276pts, 5th Wallsend/Blyth 269pts, 6th Middlesbrough AC (Mandale) 60pts