Late withdrawals, and general no shows, let down the Morpeth Harriers Senior Track and Field squad,
i.e. those who did turn out, and their respective hard-working Team Managers David Swinburne (Men),
and Vina Desai (Women), at their second round Northern Athletics League Division 2E Match,
held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium on Sunday 3rd June.
Because of this, the squad will now continue to face an uphill struggle in the latter half of the season in efforts to preserve their current league status, after finishing fifth of six clubs, headed by a very strong Gateshead Harriers.
Only North Yorkshire outfit Richmond and Zetland finished below Morpeth on the day,
and only a mere 41 match points adrift.
Morpeth’s best Male performance of the day came in the 5000m, where Lewis Timmins and Karl Taylor secured a double win in the A and B races in 15m36.9s, and 15m56.5s respectively.
Best points haul in the Women’s events, came from the Field,
courtesy of Under 20 athlete Bobbie Griffiths and seasoned Veteran Claire Reid.
Griffiths won the A string Javelin, with an on the day best of 34.78m,
whilst Reid finished as second B string with 15.76m.
Although Morpeth men did not manage any further A string wins,
Taylor’s 5000m B string success was one of four on the day.
Another came again from Taylor himself, who won the B 3000m Steeplechase in 10m43s,
backing up Mark Snowball’s A string second place, where he clocked 10m42.4s.
This is despite Snowball taking a rather nasty looking heavy tumble on his final lap, when negotiating a barrier.
Other Morpeth B String victories came in the 800m and 1500m, courtesy of Alistair Douglass (1m58.7s),
and Rowan Bennett (4m11.6s), taking a good ten seconds off his best for the distance,
on this his Northern League debut for the club.
Morpeth A string performers in these events were Phillip Winkler, who finished fourth in the 800m in 1m57.4s,
and Tom Inness, who was fourth in the 1500m in 4m09.8s, taking eight seconds off his previous figures.
Matthew Waterfield very narrowly lost out for victory in the Men’s 400m A race,
clocking a brand new personal best of 49.9s.
A very hard-working Mark Snowball finished fifth in the B race in 70.5s.
Snowball completed his track commitments by finishing fifth in the A race of the 400m Hurdles in 75.8s.
In some very close 100m and 200m finishes in the Men’s events,
Morpeth’s Phil Pitt finished third in the 100m A string in 11.7s,
with David Storey finishing third in the B race in11.8s.
Sean O’Hara finished second in the A string 200m in 23.2s,
whilst Kenny Harrison finished second in the B race in 24.5s.
Harrison, Phil Pitt, Sean O’Hara, and David Storey secured
second place for Morpeth in the Men’s 4 x100m in 46.1s.
Unfortunately, Morpeth were very much lacking firepower in the specialist throws events,
and their only regular athlete in this discipline was Ruaridh Lang,
who finished third in the A string Discus, producing an on the day best of 36.85m.
Alistair Douglass finished fifth in the B string, with a best of 18.56m.
He also did well in the B string Shot Putt, producing an on the day best of 7.43m, to finish third.
Other Morpeth Men who committed to helping in the Field events in the quest for points,
were Karl Taylor and Phil Pitt in the Javelin,
Pitt and Douglass also took on the Shot Putt competition, and Taylor and
Snowball further worked their socks off in the Long and Triple Jump competitions.
Men’s Team Manager Swinburne, whilst heaping due praise on all those who turned up
for him on the day, nevertheless remained bitterly disappointed by those who had not
even returned his calls for help under the circumstances he was facing in selection issues.
He hoped however, that by the time the next fixture is reached in July,
he may have a stronger squad at his disposal.
Morpeth Women’s Team Manager Vina Desai faced similar issues, having around only a dozen athletes
at her disposal, including herself having to don her own competitive vest for two of the events.
One of those events was the Hammer, where she was a very effective B string
assistance to Claire Reid in the A string.
Whilst Reid finished second in the A string with a best of 31.58m,
which was only a few centimetres adrift of her lifetime best, Desai produced 15.59m,
to edge home third in the B string.
In addition to that excellent Javelin result alongside Bobbie Griffiths, the pair also lined up in the Discus,
where Reid produced an on the day seasons best of 29.49m to finish third in the A string,
with Griffiths finishing as second B string with an on the day best of 23.49m.
Reid teamed up again with Desai in the Shot Putt, finishing third
in the A string with 9.37m, whilst the latter finished sixth in the B string with 2.76m.
Under 17 youngster Kayleigh Wenn competed well amongst older rivals in the
Long and Triple Jumps, finishing fourth and third with respective efforts of 3.74m and 8.30m.
In the Women’s track events, it was a unique blend of Youth and
Veteran status that searched for valuable points for Morpeth.
The best result came in the 800m, where Holly Peck finished third in the A race in 2m25.0s,
and Helen King also finished third in the B race, posting a new personal best of 2m34.0s,
taking three seconds off her previous figures.
Lynsey Cunningham took on the unexpected role of A string sprinter,
finishing fourth in the 100m, and sixth in the 200m.
In the corresponding B races, Helen King tackled 100m for the first time in her life, finishing fourth in 15.6s,
and youngster Holly Peck an excellent second in 29.2s, a lifetime personal best.
Helen King showed her team spirit thoroughly by also finishing fourth in the A string 400m,
posting a time of 70.9s, only a second adrift of her lifetime best.
Sue Smith finished fifth in the B string, posting a time of 86.8s.
n the longer Women’s events, the 1500m and 3000m, Morpeth had four athletes at their disposal, one Under 17, One Senior, and two Veterans. The youngest of the quartet Lauren Cummings,
finished fourth in the A string 1500m, posting a time of 5m48.4s.
Jane Kirby backed her up well, by finishing third in the B string in 6m11.2s,
this being her first attempt at the distance.
In the 3000m A race, Lorna MacDonald finished third in 10m59.4s,
which for her was a new lifetime best of some magnitude.
Tackling a 3000m track event for the first time Carol Parry finished as fourth B string,
to add more much needed points to the Morpeth tally, which would have proved
much better had some of the clubs’ stronger athletes rallied to their Team Managers calls.
MATCH SCORE (Subject to further scrutiny)
1st Gateshead Harriers 399pts,
2nd Middlesbrough AC 340pts,
3rd Wallsend/Blyth 318pts,
4th Tynedale Harriers 290pts,
5th Morpeth Harriers 277pts,
6th Richmond & Zetland 236pts.