Thanks to good all round teamwork, and some excellent performances by a squad of very willing athletes,
Morpeth Harriers & AC’s Senior Men and Women’s Track & Field outfit secured a well earned second place,
in their second round Division 2 E fixture, held at Gateshead Stadium on Sunday 5th June 2016.
Scoring a total of 401.5 points, they were just over 110 points
adrift of clear winners Gateshead Harriers, who were the event hosts.
They were however thirteen points ahead of round one winners City of York,
who managed to finish third, some fifty points clear of fellow Yorkshire club Skyrac,
with Wallsend/Blyth, and New Marske very much tailed off in fifth and sixth places.
All of this effectively means is that Morpeth have now slipped into third place cumulatively,
with Gateshead and City of York in a close battle for the top two places.
However another good result in their third round match,
on home territory at Morpeth on the 3rd of July,
should see Morpeth Harriers very much clear of any possible relegation worries,
and only Skyrac to worry about for holding on to third place.
Unfortunately for their part, Wallsend/Blyth and New Marske seem doomed to relegation.
The best of the Men’s track results for Morpeth came from
the 1500m, 3000m Steeplechase, 800m, and 5000m events.
In what was effectively a track comeback, Jonny Nisbet fended off the
constant close challenge from Gateshead’s Andrew Roen,
to win the 1500m in 4m10.45s, marginally a new personal best.
Excellent B race support came from Ian Harding, who clocked the third fastest overall
time in the race of 4m17.63s, to take the B race, ensuring very valuable maximum points.
Jake Masterman and Mark Snowball masterminded an excellent double win
in the 3000m Steeplechase, posting the two fastest times in the race.
Masterman took the A race in 10m42.23s, this being his first attempt at the event,
and Snowball was pleased to take the B race quite comfortably in 10m54.36s,
which was just over a second outside the time that he had clocked in the first match at York.
In the Men’s 800m, Adam Gibbs ran well in the A race,
and was very unfortunate not to pull off a victory,
only losing out to Skyrac’s Jordan Bransberg in the closing
stages by two seconds, posting an excellent 1m57.1s,
which although is around three seconds adrift of his best,
clearly shows that he is heading in the right direction,
following as torrid winter with injury problems.
James Young also produced a good performance to take
the B race in 2m02.6s, which was the fourth fastest overall.
In his first track event, or even a competitive race for some time,
Morpeth’s Ryan Stephenson finished second in the 5000m A race in 16m41.68s,
and Veteran Mick Thomsen finished second in the B race in 17m18.17s.
Another excellent Morpeth track performance came in the B race of the Men’s 400m,
where rising Under 17 athlete Matthew Waterfield provided his club with an excellent victory,
clocking a superb 53.1s, which proved to be the third fastest overall time over the two races,
which included the A race performance of 56.76s by club colleague Jacob Hopkins, which saw him finish fourth.
Waterfield’s clocking was a new personal best, fractionally faster than the time that
he had clocked in the final of the Under 17 Men’s 400m at the North Eastern
Counties Championships, where had won a Silver medal.
It was also a new personal best for Hopkins, knocking half a second
off his time achieved at Cleckheaton in the Northern League last season.
Waterfield also produced a bigger new personal best of 24.95s in the A race of the 200m,
where he finished fourth, being supported in the B event by Kenny Harrison, who finished fourth in 24.29s,
Harrison also gave good B string support in the 100m, finishing third in 11.76s,
whilst Sean O’Hara finished fourth in the A event in 11.47s,
unfortunately O’Hara picked up an injury, which forced him out of the rest of the day’s activities.
There were also some excellent results achieved by Morpeth Harriers very talented Men’s Field specialists,
who produced the clubs only Field win in the Hammer, courtesy of Craig Charlton,
who was making his first Northern League appearance, and throwing this implement in competition for the first time.
Charlton hurled a best of 28.49m, to win by around half a metre from Skyrac’s Ian Cotton, and took the A event.
Good B string support came courtesy of Steven Appleby, who threw 19m34, to claim second place.
The pairing also linked up in the Discus, this time Appleby being the A string contender,
and he finished third with his best throw of 29.34m, and Charlton with a slightly shorter
29.03m to finish second in the B string, this also being a first time with the implement.
However in his specialist event, the Shot Putt, Charlton was very unfortunate to come up
against a very much in form Craig Sturrock of Gateshead Harriers, who Putted 15.21m to his 14.28m,
which meant that he was forced to settle for second place in the A string.
Morpeth’s Elliot Moore finished third in the B string with a best of 9.72m.
Steven Appleby’s throw of 21.91m in the Javelin, proved to be a lifetime best,
which saw him place sixth in the A string, Elliot Moore’s 20.80m
in the B competition saw him finish fourth, which again was his first ever throw of the implement.
Jumper David Thomas had a very busy day, finishing fourth in the A string Long Jump (5.54m),
third in the A String Triple Jump (12.26m), and fourth in the A string High Jump (1.55m).
His Triple Jump was a lifetime best, which bettered his recent
North East Youth Development League performance at Darlington.
Good B string support in these events came from Kenny Harrison (Long Jump) (4.43m),
Mark Snowball (Triple Jump) (8.68m) (1st Timer),
and Ryan Stephenson (High Jump) (1.40m), who hadn’t tried this event since schooldays.
Morpeth Harriers Men’s 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m squads finished in
fourth and third places respectively in times of 50.12s, and 3m39.80s.
When it came to their share of the total points haul for Morpeth Harriers,
their Women’s squad proved to be very much up to the challenge,
as at the end of the day they managed slightly better points haul to that won by the Men.
The distance wins of Emma Holt in both the 1500m (4m46.7s), and 3000m (10m13.8s),
were undoubtedly the big highlight of the Women’s performances,
the former being a new personal best by all of eleven seconds,
as she won the day in a very tense fought out battle at the front,
with Gateshead’s Mary Ferrier, another of the region’s leading performers.
Emma also had excellent B string backing, courtesy of Abby Sheldon,
who ran superbly to finish second in the 1500m, posting a time of 5m22.6s.
Morag Stead gave superb backing in the 3000m, taking the B race in 10m22.7s.
Sheldon had earlier claimed a B string victory in the 800m in 2m33.1s,
backing up Gemma Floyd’s second in the A race 2m27.5s,
which for her was a new personal best by three seconds.
Morpeth Harriers band of young girl sprinters also played
a big part in some of their club’s on the day successes.
The 100m saw talented Under 17 athlete Jessica Young-Rogers finish third in the A race,
posting a time of 12.90s, which was agonisingly just a small fraction adrift of her lifetime best.
Morpeth’s Under 17 athlete, Naomi Arkle took a very competitive B race in 13.30s,
which was equal to her season’s best.
The Women’s 200m saw Under 20 athlete Megan Deakin finish third in the A race,
just missing out for second place with her time of 26.71s, which was a new lifetime personal best.
Again it was Naomi Arkle fulfilling B race duty, finishing second in 27.42s,
which for her was also a seasons best.
The 400m A race, saw Morpeth’s Gemma Floyd finish third in 66.23s,
which was her second new lifetime best, which was an excellent achievement indeed,
considering that she had not attempted a 400m for all of four years.
In the B race, Under 17 athlete Hannah Brown finished fourth in 74.57s,
her first attempt at the flat distance, having earlier tackled the 400m Hurdles.
Brown had finished second in the B race of that event, posting a time of 73.63s, a brand new lifetime best.
This was backing a truly excellent A string performance by Harriet Priest,
whose time of 71.56s saw her finish second.
Priest also finished second in the 100m Hurdles in 17.3s, which was almost equal to her lifetime best.
The only regular Morpeth Harriers girl sprinter missing from the Track action was Katy Hilton,
who had confessed to feeling some shin soreness, however she compensated
by concentrating on some Field Jump action.
She did well to finish second in the Triple Jump to Gateshead’s
more Senior Hannah Pringle, who won the A string with her best effort of 11.45m.
Katie competed well to take second place on countback with her best effort of 9.92m,
which was very much equal to her Bronze medal winning effort
at last month’s North Eastern Counties Championships at the same venue.
Hilton did have her moment of glory on Sunday however,
when she won the B string Long Jump with her best effort of 4.46m.
This backed up well Jessica Young-Rogers second place in the A string, with her best effort of 4.89m.
In the Women’s High Jump, Harriet Priest cleared 1.30m for third place in the A string.
Jessica Young-Rogers finished third in the B string with her clearance of 1.25m.
The Women’s throwing events saw Morpeth’s Claire Reid well to the fore in the action.
She finished second in both the Discus and Shot A string events, with respective efforts of 33.59m and 9.70m.
In the Hammer, she threw a best of 27.25m for fourth in the A string,
and she finished third in the B string Javelin with 15.28m.
Making her Senior debut, Under 17 athlete Bobbie Griffiths performed well
to finish second in the A string Javelin, with her best effort reaching 29.43m.
Griffiths also performed well to finish second in the B string Discus, with a best of 19.56m.
Morpeth Harriers other thrower in action was another Under 17 product.
Ellie Burt finished third in the B string Shot, with a best effort of 7.73m,
and it also marked an excellent debut at Senior level.
The young band of Morpeth Girl sprinters certainly proved their worth,
when just missing out by a hairsbreadth for victory in the Women’s 4 x 100m Relay
to Gateshead, with Katie Hilton, Hannah Brown, Jessica Young Rogers, and Naomi Arkle
collectively posting a brand new best time of 50.98s, which again reinforces
their prowess as best running quartet in the region,
and around thirteenth in the country in their Under 17 age group.
Meanwhile Megan Deakin, Harriet Priest, Abby Sheldon, and Emma Holt,
who had already produced two excellent wins in earlier events,
combined to finish a good second behind a very strong Gateshead quartet
in the Women’s 4 x 400m Relay, posting a time of 4m27.39s,
which put them thirteen seconds adrift of the winners, five seconds ahead
of third placed City of York, with Skyrac another twenty seconds adrift,
and Wallsend/Blyth around fifty seconds adrift.
Team Manager Mike Bateman commented that the Morpeth squad of both Men and Women
had worked really hard to produce what he felt was probably the best result that the club
had achieved since the league combined athletes from both genders,
and the end result was very much deserved, and he had been pleased
with the response by athletes willing to attempt events that they were
unfamiliar with in the interest of the success of the club,
with valuable points being very much the important factor,
although the strength of Gateshead could not quite be matched,
the second place on the day was most welcome.
FINAL MATCH RESULT (Subject to Scrutiny)
1st Gateshead Harriers 512pts,
2nd Morpeth Harriers 401.5pts,
3rd City of York 388.5pts,
4th Skyrac AC 334pts,
5th Wallsend/Blyth 264pts,
6th New Marske 151pts.