Despite having a much-weakened team at their disposal, with a good deal of athletes, some of them new,
and very unaccustomed to team competition, having to fill gaps in relatively unfamiliar events,
Morpeth Harriers & AC Team Managers, Mark Brown (Male), and Dave Thomas (Female),
can feel justifiably proud of their young charges, who with no less than nineteen A string,
and eighteen B string wins, pulled off an excellent team victory, by a thirty five point margin,
over current leaders Harrogate, in their second round NEYDL Division 1 match,
held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium on Sunday 21st May.
Seven league records in all were broken during the match, four of them by athletes from Morpeth Harriers & AC, namely Alice Geoghegan (Under 13 Girls Javelin), Matthew Waterfield (Under 17 Men’s 400m),
Andrew Knight (Under 17 Men’s Shot Putt), and Bobby Griffiths (Under 17 Women’s Hammer),
in addition Taylor Glover equalled his own league record that he recorded
in the first match last month at Middlesbrough.
No less than 45 new personal best performances were recorded by the clubs’ athletes
throughout the course of the day’s action, and others also performed exceptionally
on their debuts, which brought about a truly outstanding result for a hard day’s labour.
Particularly outstanding was Andrew Knight, who the A string Shot Putt and Hammer events in the Under 17 Men’s section, in addition to the B string Discus, which backed up a sound A string victory by club colleague Ruaridh Lang, who had an on the day best of 44.48m.
Knight’s 15.10m in the Shot Putt, bettered his previous by a whole 62cm,
which also gave him the league record, and pushed him up to No2 in the
UK rankings for the age group in the discipline.
It was clearly a landmark achievement, which spurred him to his truly superb 33.91m in the B string Discus,
his previous being 29.99m, a performance which lifts him to just outside the top fifty in the UK,
and maintains his third place regionally.
Knight’s Hammer win with a best of 26.50m was also a most welcome addition to the clubs tally of points,
a performance that ranks him 73rd nationally, and maintains his first place regionally.
Another outstanding Under 17 Man performer was Matthew Waterfield,
the newly crowned North Eastern Counties 400m Champion,
who not only bettered his personal best over the distance to 50.8s,
it also bettered the previous league record of 52.3s, set by his club colleague Sean O’Hara in 2016,
and also pushed him into the top 20 in the UK rankings, and made him firmly No 1 regionally.
Owen Priest made it a double victory for Morpeth , when he won the B race, posting a new personal best of 54.4s.
Other excellent 400m performers in the Morpeth colours were Rory Leonard and Brad Brown,
who each recorded personal bests of 55.6s and 60.7s respectively.
The 400m double victory was in fact one of three Under 17 Men’s track double wins on the day.
Joe Ramshaw (2m00.4s), and Rory Leonard (2m02.3s), were dominant forces in the 800m,
with the former achieving a new personal best, and a good additional performer was Brad Brown,
who produced new figures of 2m22.2s.
Taylor Glover, equalled his own league record of 4m10.5s,
when winning the A race of the 1500m, and Daniel Melling produced new figures of 4m33.1s,
when securing a B race victory.
Morpeth Harriers had new sprint specialists Robbie Anderson and Daniel Johnson in action in the 100m and 200m, and both performed well for their club on their respective debuts,
and under the ever watchful guidance of their coach, Eddie Hedley, they each respectively have bright futures.
In very competitive A races, Anderson finished fourth and fifth in 12.5s, and 25.8s, each respectable times for the youngster, whilst training partner and club colleague Johnson won both B races, clocking 12.7s and 26.0s respectively.
Anderson also finished second in the Long Jump B string with a best of 4.59m,
whilst Daniel Melling made a debut Long Jump by finishing third in the A string with 4.73m,
to add more valuable points to their clubs mounting tally.
It was good to see Luke Haxell in action for Morpeth following a number of injury problems,
which have hindered his competition opportunities in recent times.
Haxell finished third in the Under 17 Men’s Javelin, with a close to personal best 25.43m.
He also performed well as additional thrower to Lang and Knight in the Discus,
achieving an on the day best of 24.85m.
Morpeth Harriers achieved their only 4 x 100m Relay win of the day, courtesy of their Under 17 Men,
who posted an excellent winning time of 49.9s, just getting the verdict over New Marske in the judges’ room,
by a very short nose.
Five times North Eastern Counties Under 17 Women’s Champion Bobbie Griffiths continues her excellent form by winning no less than three events, including a record breaking throw in the Hammer of 37.59m,
which was well backed up by fellow Morpeth Harrier club colleague Megan Winter,
taking the B string, by producing a personal best performance of 24.80m.
In her favoured event, the Javelin, Griffiths had an on the day best of 35.87m,
to win by nearly nine metres from her closest rival, and again Winter backed her up,
finishing second in the B string with 18.97m.
Griffiths completed her excellent hat-trick of wins in the Discus, with a best of 28.31m.
Backing her up well in the B string was Nadine Arkle, who although is unable to sprint at the moment,
is prepared to commit to non-running activity, by competing for her club in throws events,
and shed did well by producing a personal best of 16.95m to win.
Arkle also did well when finishing second in the B string Shot Putt, with 6.89m,
backing up Winter’s 8.07m, which placed her second in the A string.
There was an excellent Morpeth double win in the Under 17 Women’s 800m, achieved by
debutants Ella Duffield and Kirsty Duffin, who posted respective times of 2m40.6s and 2m47.8s.
Duffield also finished third in the 300m A string in 47.9s, with club colleague Hannah Pountney
backing her up well by finishing second in the B string in 49.3s.
Pountney also finished second in the 1500m in 5m24.5s, only losing out by
a fraction of a second to New Marske’s Rebecca Tilley for victory.
Debutant Jumps specialist Katie Stafford did well in the A string Long Jump (3,43m), Triple Jump (7.32m),
and B string High Jump (1.15m), finishing fourth, third, and second respectively.
Also, joining Stafford in the Jumps events were Ella Duffield,
who was third in the B String Long Jump with a best of 2 .96m,
and Kirsty Duffin, who finished fourth in the A String High Jump, with her clearance of 1.20m.
Morpeth Harriers Under 17 Women’s 4 x 100m Relay squad finished third in 59.4s.
On to the Under 15 events, where the Boy’s managed a total of nine wins,
three A string, and six B string, and the Girls had four wins, two A string and two B string.
Best results in the Boys came from the Jumps, Long and High, whilst on the track, the 800m brought rich dividends.
Ethan Stephenson, Morpeth Harriers Linden Homes Athlete of the Month for February 2017 was in particularly excellent form, winning the A string Long Jump and High Jump competitions,
with a respective best of 5.38m, and a clearance of 1.70m.
Backing up Stephenson well with B string wins for Morpeth were Matthew Heslop (4.74m),
and Ben Waterfield (1.55m), both personal best performances.
Waterfield, younger brother of Matthew, had another personal best in the 800m,
which he won in 2m20.4s, and was well backed up by the B string performance of Bobby Stone,
who won in what for him, was also a new personal best of 2m23.2s.
The younger Waterfield also finished second in the A string 80m Hurdles in 14.2s, which he ran for the first time.
Backing him up well in the B race for Morpeth Harriers was Alfie Ward,
who before the event was presented by his Team Manager Mark Brown,
with his well-deserved Linden Homes Athlete of the Month Certificate for March 2017,
which was for his Bronze medal win in the North-Eastern Counties Indoor Pentathlon Championships.
Ward did his club proud on this occasion by winning the B race in a personal best time of 14.6s.
He had also been an additional performer in the Long Jump, producing a best of 4,39m,
alongside club colleague Jacob Clayton, who had a best jump of 3.96m.
Additional performances in the Under 15 Boys 800m for Morpeth came from Euan Duffin,
who produced a debut performance with 2m29.1s, and Dylan Gooding, who produced a personal best of 2m32.8s.
Earlier we referred to Ethan Stephenson having two victories in the Field events,
he also finished fourth in the 100m A race, producing a personal best of 12.2s,
being well backed up by Charlie Lane producing a personal best of 13.4s, when finishing second in the B race.
Additional Morpeth Harriers performances in the 100m, came from Josh Adams,
who clocked 13.5s in his first attempt at the distance, and Jacob Clayton, who produced a personal best of 13.9s.
Lane went on to produce another two personal bests, when finishing fourth
and second in the A races of the 200m (27.1s), and 300m events in 42.2s.
Morpeth were well backed up in the B races of the 200m and 300m, with personal bests
of 27.7s and 42.4s, being respectively achieved by Josh Adams and Matthew Heslop.
Additional Morpeth Harriers taking part in the 200m and 300m events were Jacob Clayton,
who produced a personal best of 29.0s, and debutant Euan Duffin, who clocked 46.3s.
Morpeth Harriers were strongly represented in the Under 15 Boys 1500m
by Thomas Cunningham and Ben Walker, who finished third in the A race,
and second in the B race, clocking respective personal best of 4m47.3s, and 4m54.6s.
In the Under 15 Boys 4 x 100m Relay, Morpeth finished fourth, posting a time of 54.5s, just missing out for third.
The best performance in the Under 15 Girls results for Morpeth came on the track,
with double North Eastern Champion Holly Peck winning the 800m in 2m24.6s,
with club colleague Lily Heaton, having a superb run, to come through to finish second overall,
and taking the B race in 2m28.4s, a brand new personal best.
Peck and Heaton also performed well respectively in the 200m and 300m events.
In the 200m, where Morpeth’s Amy Lott produced a new personal best of 29.0s to finish third in the A race,
Peck took the B race, also producing new figures of 29.8s.
Meanwhile Heaton really showed her excellent turn of form by finishing second in the A race of the 300m,
posting a personal best of 46.3s, just fractionally faster than her club colleague Rhiannon Hedley,
who was second in the B race in 46.4s, also a personal best.
Hedley also finished second in the 1500m in 5m04.1s.
In her specialised event Amy Lott finished second in the 75m Hurdles,
shaving a fraction of her best with 12.3s, just losing out by a whisker to Harrogate’s Jessica Salkeld.
Morpeth’s new Under 15 Girls throws specialist Jessica Gardiner did well on her debut
by finishing third in the A string Javelin (16.88m), superbly winning the A string Discus with 20.02m,
and finished second in the B string Hammer with a best throw of 14.71m.
Lily Heaton completed what was definitely an excellent day,
by producing a personal best of 10.52m, to finish fourth in the B Discus.
After finishing fourth in the A string 100m in 13.8s, Morpeth’s Rosie Winter clearly showed her versatile talents,
by finishing second in the A String Shot Putt, with a personal best performance of 7.43m,
being well backed up by Amy Lott finishing third with a personal best of 6.38m in the B string,
and finishing third in the A String Hammer with 17.99m.
An excellent performance saw Morpeth Harriers Under 15 Girls 4 x 100m squad
finish a well-deserved second in 55.1s.
Morpeth Harriers small band of Under 13 athletes certainly worked hard for their
set of results to add to the clubs’ substantial tally.
They managed between the two genders to achieve a total of five individual wins,
with three coming from the girl’s events.
One girl achieved two of those wins, and that was Alice Geoghegan,
whose contribution was particularly outstanding, in that she broke the league record
in the Javelin by throwing a best of 26.84m, which effectively lifted her into the top 20 in the UK
from 55th, and to the top from second regionally.
Alice also won the 100m, equalling her personal best of 14.5s,
proving to be a very able deputy for Morpeth’s leading Under 13 specialist Ellie Longstaff,
who is currently side-lined with injury.
Morpeth’s other A string winner in the Under 13 Girls events, was Mia Belton,
who won the 200m, by producing a new personal best time of 29.8s.
Belton also ran well in the 800m, again setting new figures of 2m38.9s, when finishing second.
Back with Alice Geoghegan, she also set new figures of 12.7s, when finishing second in the 70m Hurdles.
Laura Melling set new figures of 6m05.2s, when placing third in the Under 13 Girls 1500m.
Olivia Gent provided good Morpeth B string support in the 100m and 70m Hurdles,
finishing second and third respectively in 15.8s and 15.0s.
The latter was an event that Olivia was attempting for the first time,
as was the Long Jump A string, where she achieved 3.27m.
Mia Belton gave B string support in this, achieving 2.55m, which gave her fourth place.
Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Girls 4 x 100m Relay squad finished third in 62.0s.
In the Under 13 Boys events, Koffi Avornyo cleared 1.38m in the High Jump,
to give Morpeth their sole A string victory.
Backing up Avornyo well in the B String High Jump
was Adam Howliston, who cleared 1.20m for second place.
Koffi also equalled his personal best of 14.7s, when finishing third in the A string 100m.
Harry Jackson finished third for Morpeth in the B race, clocking 15.5s.
Jackson also ran well in the B string 800m, finishing second in 2m46.7s.
Joseph Hudspith finished fourth in the A string 800m in 2m45.7s.
Morpeth’s sole B string victory came courtesy of Fintan Ward,
younger brother of Alfie, who clocked 17.1s in the 75m Hurdles,
backing up Sam Parker’s third in the A race (16.8s).
Ward also did well in the A String Long Jump, achieving a new personal best of 3.53m, to finish third.
Giving excellent B string support was Oliver Geoghegan, who finished fourth with 3.33m.
In the Under 13 Boys Shot Putt, Ben O’Connor finished third in the A string with 5.41m,
and Fintan Ward finished second in the B string with 4.74m.
There was also some strength in some of the Morpeth Under 13 Boys additional performances.
These included William Owen’s 15.9s in the 100m, Ethan McBride’s 2m48.9s in the 800m,
Ryan Davies’s 2m50.7s in the 800m, and Dylan Walker’s 5m49.9s in the 1500m.
Morpeth’s Under 13 Boys 4 x 100m Relay squad finished fourth, posting a collective time of 61.6s.
1st Morpeth Harriers 733pts,
2nd Harrogate 696pts,
3rd New Marske 619pts,
4th Blaydon Harriers 617pts,
5th Durham City 555pts,
6th Tynedale 431pts.
This result gives Morpeth Harriers a slender lead at the top of the league table,
going into the next match which will be at home at KEVI High School in Morpeth on Sunday 25th June.
A win in the third-round match, would certainly put the squad in a very good position
for regaining the title that they lost to Blaydon Harriers last year, in what should
be a fiercely competitive fourth and final match at Hexham in July.
We shall wait and see.