It was certainly an excellent start to the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League season
for Morpeth Harriers & AC, when they achieved no less than four team victories,
one individual win, plus three fastest times of the day, at the first fixture,
held at Wrekenton on Saturday 30th September 2017.
The clubs Senior Men got a good start to their Division 1 campaign,
taking victory ahead of Durham City on countback,
with both clubs achieving the same total points, with last season’s champions
Tyne Bridge Harriers, finishing third, a further fifteen points adrift.
Andrew Lawrence, running from the Slow Pack, was Morpeth’s leading finisher,
taking second place behind Ashington Hirst’s Kurt Heron.
Further scoring support in this event came from Thomas Innes, who ran excellently
throughout from the Slow Pack, to finish thirteenth overall in the near record 583 strong field.
Next home for Morpeth was Richard Castledine, having his first Harrier League
in his new club vest, having previously been on the books of Heaton Harriers.
Castledine finished 25th from the Slow Pack.
Fourth counter for the club was Chris Smith, who finished 42nd
from the Fast Pack, posting the days fifth equal fastest time.
Two places behind Smith was his Morpeth club colleague Mark Snowball, who ran from the Medium Pack.
Completing the Morpeth scoring six was Dean Lonsdale, who,
running his first Harrier League, finished 67th from the Slow Pack.
Other club performers in the Senior Men’s event were Paul Waterston (74th) (Slow Pack),
Phil Walker (76th) (Slow Pack), Steve Haswell (106th) (Slow Pack), Tim Miley (163rd) (Medium Pack),
Neil McAnany (172nd) (Slow Pack), Mark Cockburn (190th) (Medium Pack),
Gavin Bayne (228th) (Slow Pack), and Paul Brown (305th) (Slow Pack).
An excellent individual victory by Emma Holt, paved the way for an
equally excellent Morpeth team victory in the Senior Women’s event.
Running from the Fast Pack, she finished a mere four seconds ahead of club colleague Jane Hodgson.
Further winning team support came courtesy of two superb runs
by Alison Brown (4th) (Slow Pack), and Lorna MacDonald (9th) (Medium Pack).
Other Morpeth performances in the Senior Women’s event, came from Gemma Floyd (21st) (Fast Pack),
who was eighth fastest overall in a 462-strong field of finishers, Jane Briggs (38th) (Slow Pack),
Lindsay Turnbull (52nd) (Slow Pack), Jane Kirby (110th) (Slow Pack),
Sue Smith (223rd) (Slow Pack), Carol Parry (262nd) (Slow Pack),
and Margaret MacDonald (340th) (Slow Pack).
This was an excellent start to the season by the Senior Women, who are now competing in Division 1.
Morpeth’s Under 17 Men are certainly having an excellent Autumn, in that two weeks ago,
they won the Northern Road Relay Championship in Manchester.
On Saturday, they also proved themselves to be masters, achieving a very clear victory ahead of Blaydon,
courtesy of Daniel Melling (2nd) (Slow Pack), Matthew Briggs (3rd) (Slow Pack),
and Taylor Glover (8th) (Fast Pack), the latter achieving the days fastest time.
Other excellent Under 17 Men performers for Morpeth were Matthew Waterfield,
who was not far away from the leaders when finishing fourteenth from the Fast Pack,
posting the sixth fastest overall time, and Alex Cunningham, who finished twenty first from the Fast Pack,
with the tenth fastest overall time.
Tom Berry was Morpeth’s other Under 17 Man finisher,
finishing thirty fourth from the Slow Pack on his competitive debut.
Morpeth’s Under 15 Boys achieved a superb team victory ahead of Durham City,
courtesy of Dylan Davies (3rd) (Slow Pack), Ben Walker (4th) (Slow Pack), and Jonny Kidd (6th) (Slow Pack).
Davies’s performance, earned him an individual Harrier League medal.
Other excellent Morpeth Under 15 Boy performances came from Ben Waterfield (9th) (Slow Pack),
Thomas Coulson (11th) (Slow Pack), William Donaldson (14th) (Slow Pack),
Thomas Cunningham (39th) (Fast Pack), Andrew Hudspith (46th) (Fast Pack),
and Jack Findlayson (51st) (Slow Pack).
Cunningham was twelfth equal fastest in the 57-strong field of finishers.
Another Harrier League medal went to Morpeth Under 17 Woman Gracie Hufton,
who finished third from the Medium Pack in the combined race with Under 20 athletes.
She was an excellent fourth fastest overall in the field of 35 and also this was Hufton’s first ever Harrier League medal, after holding off the closing threat of the formidable Rhian Purves of Gosforth Harriers.
Also making a very sound performance in the Under 17 Women’s event on her competitive
debut was Kay Errington of Morpeth, who finished 22nd from the Slow Pack.
Wrekenton has always proved to be an excellent venue for Holly Peck, and Saturday proved to be no exception,
as she worked her way through to thirteenth place in the Under 15 Girls event,
clocking the fastest time of the day from the Fast Pack, after giving 90 seconds to most of the field.
Morpeth’s other runner in the Under 15 Girls event was Lily Heaton,
who finished 31st from the Fast Pack, and was thirteenth fastest overall.
Led home by Joseph Hudspith (9th) (Slow Pack), Morpeth’s Under 13 Boys squad
finished as fourth team in their one small lap event, with further scoring support
coming from new acquisition Bertie Marr, formerly with Alnwick Harriers,
who finished 20th from the Slow Pack, and James Tilley (31st) (Slow Pack).
There was much encouragement to be found in the performances of the
three Morpeth Harriers who took part in the two non-scoring Under 11 events.
Especially in Keira Peck, younger sister of Holly, who finished an excellent third in the Girls race,
only a mere ten seconds adrift of winner Ella Jones of Chester Le Street, truly an excellent run.
Sam Dent in the Boys event also impressed, when he finished eighth, on his debut.
The other good performer was Ashton Glover, younger brother of Taylor,
who has transferred from Blyth. He finished 65th in the record field of 80.
The club now look forward to the second fixture, which is being held next
Sunday 8th October at Druridge Bay Country Park.