Once again, only a narrow margin of points divided the leading four teams at the second round Northern League North East Premier match, held at Churchill Playing Fields, Whitley Bay, on Sunday 12 June.
Only 28 points divided match winners Gateshead Harriers and fourth-placed Morpeth Harriers at the end of a hard-working day for the respective squads.
Tom Innes, Mark Snowball, and George Patterson (Men), and Vina Desai (Women), had worked hard to get decent squads together, despite one or two last-minute withdrawals and key athletes competing elsewhere at major championships. However, the end result sees the club's Senior Men and Women still in a very respectable third team place cumulatively at the halfway point in the season.
On to the match itself, and the best result in the Men’s performances came in the 1500m where Alistair Douglass won the A Race in 4m09.5s, and Under 20 athlete, Joe Anderson, took the B Race in 4m16.7s.
The clubs main Men’s sprinters, both of them still Under 20, Evan Logan and Charlie Lane, were also in excellent form. In the 200m, Logan finished second in the A race, posting a time of 23.3s, and Lane finished second in the 200m B race in 23.8s. Lane also finished second in the 400m A race in 52.6s, and Birthday Boy Connor Marshall finished second in the B race in 58.8s. Logan, meanwhile, also finished second in the 100m A race in 11.4s, being supported in the B race by Alistair Douglass, who was third in 12.4s, a warmup no doubt for his forthcoming 1500m win, later in the day.
Marshall also got a good warmup for his later 400m in the 800m, finishing third in the A race in 2m07.2s.
The 800m B race, saw a much-awaited Richard Johnson comeback, and his return from a long-standing injury paid rich dividends for Morpeth, as he won in 2m13.4s. Johnson later went on to finish a good third in the 5000m A race in 16m12.0s, being supported in the B race by Mark Snowball, who was second in 16m38.2s.
Adam Pratt was assigned to the Morpeth hurdling duties for the day, finishing second in the A race of the 400m Hurdles in 66.7s, and getting round the seven and a half laps of the 3000m Steeplechase, to also finish second in the A race in 10m36.7s.
Giving B race support for Morpeth in both events, was a brave Neil McAnany, who finished second in the 400m Hurdles in 75.7s, and third in the Steeplechase in 14m15.6s, a brave effort for valuable points.
In the field events, it was particularly pleasing to see specialist thrower Hayden Richards back in a Morpeth vest. He was particularly very much at home in the Javelin, winning with his best throw of 41.80. Alistair Douglass finished third in the B string, with his best throw of 22.18m. Richards also performed well in the Hammer, finishing third with a best throw of 34.20m. He finished fifth in the A string Discus, with a best of 22.96m, and David Marshall finished as fourth B string with 15.84m.
In the Triple Jump, Charlie Lane secured valuable points when finishing third in the A string with 9.86m, and Mark Snowball was second in the B string with 7.66m.
Morpeth Harriers Men rounded off a good day, by winning the 4 x 400m Relay in 3m52.8s, courtesy of Evan Logan, Connor Marshall, Alistair Douglass. The same quartet also brought the baton home in third place in the earlier 4 x 100m in third place, posting a time of 49.4s.
On to the Women’s events, where unfortunately Morpeth were forced to reckon without the services of leading lights Nisha Desai and Claire Reid, who were competing at the British Masters Championships during the same weekend.
However, they welcomed back Tayla Murdy and Rachelle Falloon following a lengthy period of inactivity due to injuries.
Murdy began excellently, by winning the 800m A race in 2m44.9s, and later followed that up well by placing third in the 400m A race in 76.7s.
Morpeth had good support in the respective B races by Sarah Routledge. Routledge finished second in both B races, posting times of 87.4s and 3m10.5s.
It was also good to see Falloon make a winning return, when she took the 1500m A race in 5m09.3s, and she certainly came close to a second win in the 3000m, where she finished second in the A race in 10m49s.
Giving B race support for Morpeth in both the 1500m and 3000m was Julie Vermaas, who was second on both occasions, posting respective clockings of 5m52.5s and 12m11.0s. Under 20 athlete Mia Belton and Laura Kincaid tackled the Women’s sprints for Morpeth.
In the 100m A race Belton finished fourth in 12.7s, and in the 200m, she very nearly beat Gateshead’s Megan Costello in a close finish to the A race in 26.9s. Meanwhile, Kincaid finished fourth in the 100m B race in 14.3s, and she finished third in the 200m B race in 30.2s.
Morpeth Harriers best performance in the Women’s field events came from Under 20 athlete Charlotte Earl, who won the Triple Jump with her best effort of 11.00m
In the Long Jump, fellow Under 20 athlete Abbie Ross finished fourth with her best of 4.69m.
Morpeth Women’s Team Manager Vina Desai, Mia Belton, Julie Vermaas and Laura Kincaid shared duties in the Shot, Discus, Hammer, and Javelin events.
Desai did the lion's share, competing in all four of them. She finished fifth in the A strings of the Discus (13.96m), Hammer (13.34m), and Javelin (8.24m), and supported Mia Belton in the Shot Putt, by finishing fifth in the B string with 4.43m.
Belton finished fifth in the A string with a best of 5.94m.
In the B string Javelin, Laura Kincaid finished fifth, producing a best throw of 7.08m.
Sarah Routledge, Tayla Murdy, Laura Kincaid, and Mia Belton, combined to finish third in the Women’s 4 x 100m Relay, posting a time of 60.5s.
In the 4 x 400m Relay, Julie Vermaas, Rachelle Falloon, Laura Kincaid, and Mia Belton, combined to bring Morpeth home in second place, in a combined time of 4m56.4s.
1st Gateshead Harriers 350pts, 2nd New Marske Harriers 341pts, 3rd North Shields Poly 339pts, 4th Morpeth Harriers 328pts, 5th Wallsend/Blyth 309pts, 6th Middlesbrough AC (Mandale) 71pts.