It was certainly a superb weekend for athletes from Morpeth Harriers & AC competing at the by the annual North Eastern Counties Athletics Association Track and Field Championships, sponsored once again by Start Fitness, and held at Gateshead Stadium, over Saturday and Sunday 13th & 14th May 2017.
Over the two days of competition, the club managed a total of no less than 26 championship medals,
with an equal proportion of thirteen each being achieved in both track and field events.
Thirteen may be viewed as being an unlucky number, however this was exactly the number of Gold medals won by the club, with nine Silver, and four Bronze being added to the clubs’ total tally for good measure.
The opening BMC Standards Meeting held at Chester Le Street’s Riverside Track
on Monday 8th May 2017, saw seven Morpeth Harriers amongst those taking part in the 800m events.
Fastest from the club was Joe Armstrong, who although outside his personal best,
could feel well pleased despite the very cool conditions, when he clocked 1m56.11s,
which was only two seconds adrift, when he finished fourth to Middlesbrough Mandale’s Josh Allen.
Second fastest from Morpeth on the night,
was Under 17 athlete Rory Leonard,
who took a whole four seconds off his previous best,
posting a time of 2m00.91s,
in what was the fourth fastest race.
In the third fastest race, Morpeth Harriers had three
competitors locking horns with each other.
Under 17 athlete Joe Ramshaw was the fastest of these,
posting a time of 2m03.2s, finishing fractionally ahead
of club colleague Jordan Scott (2m04.31s),
with another Morpeth Harrier, Under 17 athlete Joe Dowd,
two places behind in 2m05.31s.
In the fifth fastest race, Morpeth Harrier Ross Floyd,
posted a time of 2m10.83,
and the club’s youngest competitor in action,
Under 15 Girl Rhiannon Hedley, posted a new
personal best time of 2m25.65s, bettering her
previous by four seconds, in the eleventh fastest race.
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.
Three specialist throwers from Morpeth Harriers & AC were in competitive action
at the Tynedale Open Athletics Meeting, held at Wentworth Athletics Track, Hexham, on Sunday 7th May 2017.
Ruaridh Lang, Craig Charlton, and Andrew Knight,
were using the event as a serious warm up prior to this weekend’s
North Eastern Counties Track and Field Championships,
and all of them showed excellent form, particularly Lang,
who during the course of his Discus competition,
managed to improve on his previous best on no less than three attempts.
Prior to the event, Lang had produced a best of 44.79m,
which at the time had him ranked as sixth in the UK.
Sunday’s performances, which included throws of 45.61m, 46.64m,
and a best of 47.24m,
now sees him clearly ranked as third in the Under 17 Men’s UK section,
behind Welshmen Jay Morse of Cardiff, and Joe Worrall of Carmarthen,
needless to say Lang was a winner of the competition on the day.
Meanwhile Charlton and Knight both engaged themselves in a very healthy Shot Putt competition.
Charlton, who was having his first outing since two bouts of surgery,
could feel well pleased with his set of performances,
which saw him end with a best of 13.25m,
which although was around a metre adrift of his lifetime best,
was an excellent achievement, considering the days cold biting wind.
He was a very clear winner of the Senior Men’s competition.
Knight’s series of Putt’s brought him a best of 14.25m,
which was agonisingly just a mere 23cm short of his best,
however was quite pleasing in respect of the fact that he was maintaining his excellent early season form.
Coach Paul Reed was certainly pleased with his athlete’s performances, as they head into those forthcoming championships.
Running his first 1500m in almost three years,
Morpeth Harrier Ryan Green,
currently based at St Mary’s University in London,
posted a new personal best of 3m55.86s in the B race
at the BMC Standards Meeting,
held at Watford on the evening of Wednesday 3rd May 2017.
Green, whose competitive progress has been hindered by
a succession of niggling injuries and study commitments
in recent seasons, now finds himself elevated
to eleventh place in the UK rankings
for his Under 20 Men’s age group, and No1 regionally.
He knocked a nearly seven seconds off his previous best,
set at Jarrow in the North East Grand Prix Meeting in April 2014.
Morpeth Harriers Young Athletes squad, under the brand new Team Management duo of Mark Brown (Male),
and Dave Thomas (Female), made a most encouraging start to their 2017 NEYDL Track and Field campaign,
by finishing an excellent second to a very strong Harrogate squad, in their opening Division 1 fixture,
held at Middlesbrough Sports Village on Sunday 30th April 2017.
They only lost out for victory by a mere 23 points (subject to further scrutiny), against a Harrogate squad,
who will prove hard to beat this season, as they are boosted by an injection of good Under 17 Athletes of both genders, because the Yorkshire squad have pulled out of the higher echelon Under 17/Under 20 league,
contained within the National competition.
Particularly outstanding on the day for Morpeth, were some of their already well established Under 17 athletes, along with a sprinkling of very competent Under 15 performances, and they were somewhat boosted by the early efforts of some of the novice Under 13 athletes, some of whom were gracing a Track and Field stage for the very first time, a factor which pleased Messrs Brown and Thomas, which will also serve to give the squad improvement over the next three fixtures, to be held later this month, at the end of June,
culminating in the final fixture in early July.
Back with Sunday’s match, and one athlete who proved to be in really outstanding form,
despite a stiff breeze, which seriously affected personal ambitions both on the Field, and on the Track,
was Morpeth Under 17 Woman Throws specialist Bobbie Griffiths.
She won all three of her competitions with consummate ease, winning her best event,
the Javelin, with her best throw of 38.60m, the Hammer with 37.15m, and the Discus with 27.88m,
all just short of her personal best, but nevertheless, considering the extremely windy conditions,
good early season pointers to further success, and considerable winning margins.
Griffiths and Morpeth were well backed up by good B string efforts by Megan Winter in the Javelin (17.28m),
and Hammer (23.01m), and Nadine Arkle, who is unable to sprint at present due to injury,
bravely stepping in to throw the Discus, producing a best of 13.06m, which won the B string competition.
Winter’s efforts meanwhile gained her second places in both instances.
Another outstanding performer in the Under 17 Women’s section was Jessica Young-Rogers,
who won the A string races of the 100m and 200m in 12.5s and 26.7s, both just outside her personal best.
Backing Jessica up for Morpeth with good B string efforts were Katie Hilton,
who won the 100m in 13.1s, and Natasha Hart, who finished second in the 200m in 32.1s.
MATCH RESULTS (Subject to further scrutiny)
1st Harrogate 724pts,
2nd Morpeth 701pts,
3rd Durham 620pts,
4th New Marske 582pts,
5th Blaydon 510pts,
6th Tynedale 440pts.