Sterling teamwork by those who turned out on a warm day at Gateshead Stadium, saw Morpeth Harriers & AC Men’s and Women’s Track and Field squad, finish an excellent second to hosts Gateshead Harriers, in their opening Northern Athletics League Division 2E fixture, only losing out by approximately twenty points on the day.
In that light, their Men’s section felt very let down by the late withdrawal of their original selected 5000m specialists, an area where the club is usually strong, which resulted in a brave Mark Snowball rallying to his clubs call, by filling in as the clubs A runner in the event, after earlier tackling the rigours of the 400 Hurdles and 3000m Steeplechase events, for which Men’s Team Manager David Swinburne vocally praised afterwards, saying that if the originally selected athletes had turned out as expected, the final result may well have proved different.
Both Swinburne and Vina Desai (Women’s Team Manager), heaped praise on those who turned out to produce a better than expected early season performance, especially the younger members who took part,
and made a much-valued contribution.
Within those on the day performances, Morpeth managed a total of seven A string, and six B string wins,
four of the A string coming from the Men, and three from their Women.
The B string wins were shared as two from the Men, and four from the Women,
which certainly reflects a balanced overall performance.
Seven new personal bests were also achieved by Morpeth athletes,
despite rising temperatures, plus a drifting stiff breeze.
One of those personal bests belonged to Under 20 Man Rory Leonard,
who was making his Northern League debut.
He literally ran the legs off Gateshead Harrier Matthew Linsley, before going away at the bell, to record a fine 800m win in 1m56.93s, taking just over three seconds off his previous figures.
Morpeth’s Jordan Scott finished second in a closely fought B race, posting a time of 2m09.92s.
Another Morpeth Under 20 Man winner, was 2017 North Eastern Under 17 400m Champion Matthew Waterfield, who just pipped Gateshead’s Justin Cooper in a photo finish, posting 50.25s over the single lap event.
Dean Lonsdale of Morpeth finished third in the B race, posting a new personal best of 53.64s.
Mark Snowball won the 3000m Steeplechase in 10m49.30s, and Jake Masterman
took second place in the B race in 11m59.13s.
Snowball and Masterman teamed up again in the 400m Hurdles, where the former
finished third in the A race in 71.97s, whilst the latter was second in the B race in 74.00s.
It was no surprise that an exhausted Snowball could only manage fifth
in the A race of the 5000m in 18m07.60s, following his earlier exploits.
Another Under 20 Northern League debutant on the day for Morpeth was Taylor Glover,
who very much looked to be heading for victory in the Men’s 1500m, had he not been caught
by Wallsend/Blyth’s Sam Charlton with around 150m remaining.
Glover finished second in 4m09.57s, whilst Morpeth’s B string athlete Tom Innes
finished second, posting a new personal best of 4m17.97s.
In the Men’s 100m, Morpeth’s Phil Pitt finished second in the A race in 11.87s,
just being outsprinted by Middlesbrough AC’s Alex Nixon.
Morpeth did have success in the B race however, courtesy of Sean O’Hara’s victory in 11.98s.
In the later run 200m, the A race was dominated by Gateshead’s William Curtis,
however O’Hara just lost out for second place, to the aforementioned Nixon, posting a time of 23.50s.
Morpeth’s Kenny Harrison finished third in the B race in 24.36s.
In the 4 x 100m and 400m Relays, Morpeth finished second on both occasions,
with respective times of 46.23s, and 3m36.54s, to Tynedale, and Gateshead.
On his Northern League debut, Morpeth’s Ethan Stephenson certainly proved to be their star Field Event performer.
He produced two new personal bests of 12.87m, and 1.85m, when finishing first and second respectively in the Triple Jump and High Jump, and he was just adrift of his best in the Long Jump,
when he finished second with an on the day best of 5.76m.
Jake Masterman showed much versatility when finishing second in the B string Triple Jump, with an on the day best of 10.29m, and he cleared 1.60m to finish first equal in the B string High Jump.
Another Morpeth Northern League debutant in the Field Events was Ruaridh Lang,
who finished a very close third behind Middlesbrough’s David Dowson in the Discus,
with his best throw of 37.45m.
A big Morpeth bonus in this event, was seeing Steven Appleby take the B string
with 32.07m, which was better than two of the competitions A string athletes.
Appleby got through a tough afternoon’s work by also finishing fourth in the A string Hammer (20.09m),
sixth in the A string Javelin (20.11m), and third in the B string Shot Putt, with 8.54m.
Phil Pitt managed 5cm more, to take sixth place in the A string Shot Putt.
On to the Women’s event, where Morpeth enjoyed their sole double victory of the day.
It came courtesy of Under 20 athlete Robyn Bennett, making her track debut for her new club
following her recent transfer from Elswick, who took the 3000m A race in 10m38.08s.
Three weeks ago, Lorna MacDonald was pounding the streets of London in the Marathon,
on Saturday, she took to the track to win the B race in 11m15.69s, which was just five seconds
adrift of her lifetime best for the seven and a half lap event.
Another Northern League debutant was Holly Peck, who just missed
out on victory in the 800m A race, posting a time of 2m27.80s.
Running her first ever track 800m, Morpeth Veteran Woman Helen King did well to take the B race in 2m37.96s.
Later in the afternoon, King produced a new personal best of 69.81s, when finishing fourth in the 400m A race.
Sue Smith finished second in the B race, running the distance for the first time, posting a time of 82.73s.
Another young Northern League debutant for Morpeth was Under 17 athlete Lauren Cummings,
who finished fourth in the 1500m A race in 5m30.23s, which was a personal best for the distance.
Backing up Lauren’s efforts in the B race was Jill Bennett, mother of Robyn, who was also
making her track debut for Morpeth following her transfer from Elswick.
She finished second, posting a finishing time of 6m07.90s.
Jessica Young-Rogers showed excellent early season sprinting form when winning the A race
of the 100m in 12.86s, getting the verdict in a photo finish with Middlesbrough AC’s Emily Hulyer.
In the B race it was a Morpeth/Middlesbrough AC reversal, as Lynsey Cunningham finished second in 14.78s.
The 200m saw Young-Rogers finish third in the A race in 26.73s, whilst her Morpeth club colleague
Lauren Smith triumphed in the B race, posting brand new figures of 27.43s.
Morpeth finished second to Middlesbrough AC in the Women’s 4 x 100m
and 400m Relays, in respective times of 54.52s and 4m39.18s.
The Morpeth Women’s Field Events brought one A and one B string victory,
and both executed by Under 20 Woman Bobbie Griffiths.
She won her favoured Javelin A string by fractionally over 3metres from Middlesbrough AC’s Saada Juma, with her on the day best of 38.00m, and 24.90m, saw her take the Discus B string.
Seasoned Morpeth Veteran Claire Reid goth through her usual large workload, by finishing third in the A string Hammer (27.56m), second in the A string Discus (29.38m), second in the B string Javelin (17.29m),
and third in the A string Shot Putt (9.90m).
Morpeth’s other thrower was Women’s Team Manager Vina Desai, who donned her Morpeth vest after many years of absence, to finish third in the B string Hammer (16.52m), and sixth in the B string Shot Putt (4.08m).
In the Jumps, Jessica Young-Rogers finished fourth in the A string Long Jump (4.40m), being well backed
up by Under 17 debutant Kayleigh Wenn, who finished as second B string with her best jump of 4.20m.
Wenn also finished fourth in the A string Triple Jump, with her on the day best of 8.50m.
MATCH RESULT (After Scrutiny)
1st Gateshead Harriers 382pts,
2nd Morpeth Harriers 370pts,
3rd Wallsend/Blyth RC 322pts,
4th Tynedale Harriers 290pts,
5th Middlesbrough AC 254pts,
6th Richmond & Zetland 221pts.
PHOTOS FROM THE NORTHERN LEAGUE DIV 2E MATCH 1
(Courtesy of Dave Thomas)