The athletes from Morpeth Harriers were once again amongst the headline performers, at the fourth Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League fixture of the 2018/19 campaign, held at Aykley Heads, close to Durham City, on Saturday 17th November 2018.
Team wins by their Senior Men, Senior Women, Under 17 Men, and Under 13 Boys, along with two individual victories, plus three fastest times, very clearly indicated the club’s dominance in the programme of ten events.
In his first Harrier League outing for the Senior Men, Under 20 athlete Taylor Glover, running from the Slow Pack, quickly got away from the rest, and was never caught as he cut a lonely force throughout the three long laps,
to eventually win untroubled by a comfortable 112 second margin from his closest rival Graham Crammond of North Shields Poly, who also ran from the Slow Pack.
Glover, who eventually emerged as the third fastest overall performer in the 570 strong finishing field, led Morpeth Harriers Senior Men to an emphatic team victory from Durham City, with further club support coming from excellent performances by Thomas Straughan (4th) (Medium Pack), Kieran Hedley (6th) (Fast Pack), Jordan Scott (7th) (Fast Pack), Andrew Lawrence (15th) (Fast Pack), and Andrew Hebden (28th) (Medium Pack).
Hedley and Scott were the fastest and second fastest on course, Lawrence was seventh fastest,
and Straughan was fifteenth fastest, such was the dominance of the overall Morpeth Senior Men’s performance, which now sees them leading the Division One table by a clear six points over fierce rivals Tyne Bridge Harriers, who on Saturday could only finish in fourth team place.
Other Morpeth Senior Men in action at Aykley were,
Lee Bennett (174th) (Fast Pack), Andrew Leeson (387th) (Slow Pack), and John Clark (469th) (Slow Pack).
With two fixtures remaining in the league at Thornley in February, and Alnwick in March, a fairly reasonable turnout from the club in those, should see Morpeth Harriers Senior Men achieve Championship status in Division 1, which Team Manager’s Peter Scaife and David Swinburne are most hopeful of.
An excellent turnout of eleven athletes, who all finished in the top half of the 416 finishers in the two full lap Senior Women’s event, saw Morpeth Harriers finish as on the day winners in Division 1 by two league points ahead of second placed Heaton Harriers.
As a result of this, cumulatively they now rise one place to fifth at the exclusion of Sunderland Harriers,
who could only finish sixth on the day.
Morpeth Harriers were led home by Emma Holt, who finished an excellent sixth from the Fast Pack,
and was well clear as second fastest overall behind Wallsend’s Danielle Hodgkinson,
who finished second behind Gateshead Harrier Brigid Dennehy by a fifty-six seconds margin.
Second home for Morpeth in eighth place was Catriona MacDonald,
who was also running from the Fast Pack, and was third fastest in the field.
Next home for the club was Veteran Woman Gemma Floyd,
who worked her way through from the Fast Pack, to finish 30th overall.
Completing the Morpeth Harriers scoring four was Rachelle Falloon,
currently leading the Senior Women’s Grand Prix,
who finished in 42nd place overall, again from the Fast Pack.
Other Morpeth Harriers Senior Women’s finishers were,
Lorna MacDonald (70th) (Fast Pack), Claire Calverley (110th) (Medium Pack),
Sue Smith (153rd) (Slow Pack), Jill Bennett (175th) (Medium Pack),
Jane Kirby (185th) (Slow Pack), Lesley Chapman (205th) (Slow Pack).
Morpeth Harriers Senior Women may well struggle to retain their Harrier League
Division One title this year, however on this showing, they are not failing without a fight.
By being on the day winners in their two medium lap event, Morpeth Harriers slightly
extended their lead at the top of the Under 17 Men’s league table.
They were led home by a very much in form and very determined Ross Charlton,
who produced an excellent on the day performance in finishing second overall from the Fast Pack
and boasting the fastest time of the day in a finishing field of 31 runners.
He very nearly won the race outright, finishing a mere five seconds adrift
of Blaydon’s Tom Rutherford, who was competing from the Slow Pack.
Joining Charlton in the Morpeth team success were Daniel Melling (Fast Pack),
who was equal second fastest with Will Bellamy of Houghton Harriers,
whom he just outsprinted to the finish line, and Tom Balsdon,
who finished fifth from the Fast Pack, and was fourth fastest overall.
Other Morpeth Harrier Under 17 Men in action were Rowan Bennett and Brad Brown.
Bennett had an excellent run to finish tenth from the Fast Pack, as sixth fastest overall,
as did Brown running from the Slow Pack to finish thirteenth.
Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Boys maintain a very healthy six-point lead at the head of their league table over Durham City following their excellent on the day victory on Saturday.
They were led home by Ryan Davies, who finished third overall in the field of 81 finishers,
just ahead of club colleague Bertie Marr, with four seconds dividing them.
Both ran from the Fast Pack, posting the fourth and fifth fastest times overall.
Completing the winning Morpeth trio was Joe Dixon, who is improving with every outing,
and on this occasion, he certainly looked the “Master Athlete,” as he finished an excellent
eighth from the Fast Pack and posting the eighth fastest time.
Other superb Morpeth Under 13 Boy performers were William De Vere – Owen (11th) (Fast Pack),
Joseph Hudspith (23rd) (Fast Pack), Adam Howliston (61st) (Fast Pack), and Sam Dent (67th) (Fast Pack).
In the individual Grand Prix, Marr and Davies are currently in second
and fourth place respectively, with two fixtures remaining.
By winning yet again individually, Morpeth Harrier Holly Peck maintained her lead in the combined
Under 17/Under 20 Women’s Harrier League Grand Prix rankings. and helped her club also to maintain
their lead in the team League table, albeit by three points over closest rivals Gosforth Harriers,
who only beat them on countback on the day, when finishing on an equal point count.
Running from the Fast Pack, Peck just managed to pass club colleague
Kay Errington in the final stages, as she won by a mere twenty-seven seconds.
Errington, meanwhile just managed to hold on for second place, ahead of Houghton’s Eva Hardie,
and the Morpeth count was completed by Lauren Cummings, just outsprinting club colleague
Lily Heaton to finish 21st from the Slow Pack.
Heaton was running from the Medium Pack, and her placing means
that she is currently in fourth place in the individual Grand Prix.
Morpeth’s other runner in the Under 17/Under 20 Women’s event,
Gracie Hufton, finished in 30th place from the Fast Pack.
Dylan Davies led Morpeth Harriers home in the Under 15 Boys one lap event,
where they finished second on the day to Tynedale Harriers.
Davies finished sixth, just one place and eight seconds ahead of
club colleague Euan Duffin, both running from the Fast Pack.
The Morpeth scoring count was completed by Ben Waterfield,
who finished thirteenth from the Fast Pack.
Despite finishing second, they remain in first place cumulatively by
five points ahead of Durham City Harriers, who could only finish sixth on the day.
Other Under 15 Boy finishers for Morpeth Harriers were
James Tilley (43rd) (Slow Pack), and Ben Walker (48th) (Fast Pack).
The Under 15 Girls single lap event saw Morpeth Harrier Abbi Leiper produce an excellent run from the Fast Pack to finish in eleventh place in a total field of fifty-six finishers, and she led Morpeth Harriers to seventh place on the day, with further scoring counts coming from Rebecca Bradley (29th) (Fast Pack),
and Rhiannon Hedley (33rd) (Fast Pack).
Unfortunately, their on the day placing sees them drop to fourth place cumulatively,
behind leaders North Shields Poly, and second and third placed Birtley AC, and Gateshead Harriers.
Morpeth’s other Under 15 Girl in action was Laura Melling,
who finished one place behind Hedley, running from the Slow Pack.
The club had one Under 13 Girl facing the starter in their single lap event.
Molly Baker finished 27th from the Slow Pack.
In the non-scoring Under 11 Boys event, Morpeth’s Oliver Tomlinson
continued his excellent competitive progress, by finishing fourth.
Daniel Reynolds on his competitive debut for the club, finished 21st.
In the Under 11 Girls event, Keira Peck, younger sister of Holly, finished 18th.