Morpeth Harriers & AC’s Senior Men’s and Women’s Track and Field squad began their Northern League Division 2E domestic campaign in earnest, at a very cold and windy South Leeds Stadium, on Saturday 6th May 2017,
when they finished an equal fourth in their opening fixture, along
with North East rivals Gateshead Harriers, (subject to further scrutiny).
Unfortunately, Morpeth were very short in strength in both the Men’s and Women’s events, however team spirit of a high order was clearly shown, as athletes tackled events, which were in some cases,
very much outside their specialist zone.,
The club had a total of seventeen athletes to call upon for the match,
with eleven featuring for the Men’s events, and only a mere six tackling the Women’s events,
factors which did not draw much pleasure for much beleaguered Team Managers
David Swinburne (Men), and Mike Bateman (Women).
Nevertheless, Messrs Swinburne and Bateman could only heap praise upon
those who turned out to ensure a reasonable end result, however,
both would readily accept that there is very much an uphill fight
for the remaining three matches, to preserve current league status.
The match did have its strong points, quite notably in the Men’s track events,
where the best result came in the double victory in the 1500m, with a very much
in form Under 20 athlete James Young, fresh from his excellent performances
at the University Championships the week previous, winning the A race,
by producing a brand new personal best of 4m02.0s, which saw him take
nearly a whole seven seconds off his previous figures, and pushed him into the Top 40 in the UK.
Jordan Scott won the B race in 4m10.95s, which was a couple of seconds adrift of his best.
Morpeth had a second A string track winner in Sean O’Hara,
who won the 200m in 22.9s, and Phil Pitt on his Northern League debut,
finished second in the B race in 24.4s.
This pairing also lined up in the 100m, with O’Hara finishing
third in the A race in 11.4s, and Pitt finishing third in the B race in 11.7s.
Phil Winkler and Alistair Douglass lined up for Morpeth in the 800m.
Winkler finished second in the A race in 2m01.17s,
which was a mere second outside his personal best,
whilst Douglass ran an excellent B race, winning in 2m01.89s.
Matthew Waterfield was delighted with his excellent new personal best of 51.0s in the 400m A race,
whilst Phil Winkler supported him well by finishing third in the B race in 53.8s, which was equal to his personal best.
Jake Masterman performed well to finish a good second in the 3000m Steeplechase in 10m42.76s,
and Mark Snowball supported well, by taking the B race in 10m52.32s.
This pairing also lined up in the 400m Hurdles, where Masterman finished third in the A race in 67.0s,
and Snowball also finished third in the B race, where he clocked 69.2s.
In the Men’s longest race, the 5000m, Karl Taylor finished second in the A race in 16m12.22s,
and Mark Snowball was once again sprung into action in the B race, where he finished second in 16m54.61s,
this being his first ever 5000m track race.
The Men’s Field events unfortunately were mainly covered by non-specialists,
with notable absentees being their most Senior throwers, due to injury and general unavailability.
This meant track specialists having to compete in unfamiliar competitions.
However Karl Taylor, Alistair Douglass, Sean O’Hara and Phil Pitt thankfully
rose to the challenge in search of valuable points.
Taylor and Douglass undoubtedly produced the best of these results,
when they finished third respectively in the A and B string Javelin competitions,
with throws of 29.07m and 28.28m.
In the Discus, Taylor produced a best of 15.74, to finish as sixth A string,
whilst Douglass threw 15.07m, for fourth in the B string competition.
O’Hara and Pitt filled the gaps in the Shot Putt, finishing sixth and fifth respectively with bests of 7.90m and 7.77m.
The only regular Morpeth Male Field event specialist in action
was Under 20 athlete David Thomas, who did the Jumps.
He finished fourth in the Long Jump with 5.47m, fourth in the Triple Jump
with 11.86m, and cleared 1.50m, to finish fifth in the High Jump.
Thomas also supported Kenny Harrison, Sean O’Hara and Phil Pitt
in a Morpeth Men’s 4 x 100m Relay squad, who finished second in 46.2s.
Morpeth Men also finished second in the 4 x 400m in 3m42.69s,
just missing out by a fraction of a second, courtesy of a superb final leg by Matthew Waterfield,
who was very ably supported by the combined efforts of Karl Taylor, Alistair Douglass and Phillip Winkler.
On to the Women’s contribution to the squad’s efforts, where by contrast the best results came from the Field, where throws specialists Bobbie Griffiths and Claire Reid were in sparkling form.
Under 17 athlete Griffiths was certainly no slouch in her favoured event, the Javelin,
where she managed to throw 37.67m, a brand new personal best with the heavier Senior implement,
which gave her an improvement of almost three metres.
Reid backed her up in the Javelin by finishing fourth in the B competition with 15.54m.
The best result by the pairing however came in the Discus, where Reid won the A competition with 31.61m, and Griffiths took the B competition with 27.87m, which was marginally just adrift of her best.
In the A string Hammer, Griffiths hurled 30.77m, a new personal best with the heavier implement by almost eight metres, which saw her finish second, and Reid took the B string with 27.91m.
Reid also competed in the Shot Putt, finishing third in the A string with 9.19m,
and Under 20 athlete Naomi Arkle finished fourth in the B string with 6.22m.
In the Long Jump, Under 17 athlete Jessica Young-Rogers finished fourth in the A string with a best of 4.41m,
and Under 20 athlete Becky Foster finished fifth in the B string with 3.25m.
On to the Women’s track events, where Morpeth had three of their six operating athletes in action.
Jessica Young-Rogers finished second in both A races of the 100m and 200m,
posting respective times of 12.6s and 25.8s, the latter being equal to her personal best.
In the 100m, Naomi Arkle backed up Young-Rogers’s efforts up well,
by finishing second in the B race, which was not far adrift of her best.
Arkle also finished third in the 400m A race in 66.4s, which was a new personal best,
which was backed up by Gracie Hufton’s third in the B race in 89.8s, her first ever attempt at the distance.
Hufton also showed her willing in the quest for points, by finishing third in both the 1500m and 3000m A races, posting times of 5m39.73s, and 11m45.67s, the latter, a new personal best by the margin of twelve seconds.
Unfortunately, during the Women’s Long Jump reported earlier in this report, Morpeth’s Becky Foster sustained an injury during the event, rendering he unable to compete any further, and weakened the club in the sprints, and meant that they could not form either a 4 x 100 or 400m Relay squad, to add to an already trying day.
As aforementioned, Team Managers Swinburne (Men) and Bateman (Women),
were left feeling respectively disappointed by the club’s turnout,
and both hope for better fortunes as the season progresses,
but both paid tribute to the efforts put in by those who turned out to bring a valuable points tally.
MATCH RESULT (Subject to further scrutiny)
1st Leeds City 381pts,
2nd Skyrac AC 343.5pts,
3rd Middlesbrough AC 338pts,
4th= Gateshead Harriers 285pts,
4th= Morpeth Harriers 285pts,
6th Tynedale 224pts.