The 2018-19 Cross Country season opened on Saturday 1st September 2018,
with Sunderland Harriers hosting their annual event at Farringdon School,
and for the first time they were held in honour of their former coach Ken Jefferson,
who sadly passed away earlier this year.
Morpeth’s Sam Hancox clocked the fastest time of the day over the 1.8mile
course of 8m44s, to help his club to the retention of the Senior Men’s Team title.
They were in second place, courtesy of Thomas Straughan’s first leg clocking of 9m05s.
But after an excellent second leg of 8m55s by Jordan Scott, they never looked back
after grabbing the lead from the Morpeth B team, who were incomplete after
Taylor Glover’s excellent opening leg of 8m53s, which eventually emerged
as the second fastest time of the day behind Hancox.
The squad went from strength to strength as they increased their lead over
second placed hosts Sunderland Harriers to 106 seconds,
courtesy of Hancox, and final leg runner James Young (9m27s).
In the Veteran Men’s Relay, also run over four legs of 1.8mile, Morpeth finished in second place
to Sunderland Harriers by a margin of 2m50s, after finishing third on the opening leg.
They were represented by Lee Bennett (10m00s), Fergus Bates (10m08s),
Rob Hancox (10m29s), and Phil Walker (10m31s).
The clubs Veteran Men’s B team finished in an excellent fourth team place,
with performances coming from Paul Waterston (10m40s), Graeme Thorpe (10m18s),
Paul Bellingham (11m38s), and David Swinburne (10m21s).
They had progressed from eighth on the first leg.
Morpeth Harriers Senior Women performed superbly in their 3 x 1.8mile Relay,
finishing second to Sunderland Harriers, only losing out by a mere nine seconds.
They held second place all throughout, courtesy of Robyn Bennett (10m52s),
Alison Brown (12m10s), and Gracie Hufton (11m32s).
Bennett and Hufton were the second and fifth fastest overall in the event,
and both are still competing in the Under 20 age group.
Euan Duffin of Morpeth had an excellent win in the Under 15 Boys event,
posting a time of 9m16s over the 1.8mile circuit.
He won with ten seconds to spare over Birtley’s Chris Perkins,
with Morpeth’s Dylan Davies finishing an excellent third in 9m59s.
Another Morpeth performer in the Under 15 Boys event was Ben Walker, who finished ninth in 11m01s.
The Under 17 Men’s event run over the same distance, saw Morpeth’s Ross Charlton
produce one of the clubs runs of the day, as he finished a very close second to Blyth’s Josh Fiddaman,
only losing out for victory by a mere five seconds with his excellent 8m59s,
and beating North East representative Will Bellamy of Houghton Harriers, who finished third in 9m02s.
In the Under 13 Boys 1.8mile event, Morpeth’s Ryan Davies, younger brother of Dylan,
finished second in 10m47s, with his Morpeth club colleague Joseph Hudspith finishing third in 10m59s.
In her first cross country outing in a Morpeth vest following her summer transfer from Elswick Harriers, Abby Leiper certainly looked the part, as she finished fifth in the Under 15 Girls event in 11m24s.
Another on the day debutant for Morpeth, was Molly Baker, who finished 13th
in the Under 13 Girls event, posting a finishing time of 13m42s.