Brave few battle it out for glory

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MORPETH Harriers’ final Northern League match of the season at Huntingdon Stadium in York on Sunday saw some excellent individual performances.

But a disappointing turnout of athletes produced the inevitable disappointing result with the club finishing fourth of the five competing teams.

Elaine Telford achieved her usual sprint double win with times of 13.3 and 26.6 seconds and also extended her range with a close second place in the 400 metres (62.6 seconds).

Earlier, she had competed in the Long Jump (an unfamiliar event to her) and eventually sorted out her run-up to win with an excellent distance of 4.70 metres. Telford then rounded off a busy afternoon with second place in the B section of the Javelin.

Another busy athlete was Claire Reid who scored a comfortable victory in the Discus with a throw of 36.62 metres having earlier finished second in the Hammer, where her throw of 32.85 metres broke her own club record set last season.

Reid also placed second in the Shot with a putt of 10.41 metres as well as finishing fourth in the B section of the Long Jump.

The only member of the club’s much vaunted female middle and long distance squad to put in an appearance was Sarah Wilkinson, who front ran her way to a comfortable victory in the 3000 metres in a time of 10mins 05.6seconds.

Some of the absences in the Men’s team were for the more understandable reasons of injury and illness, with prolific points scorer Angus Wood out with a hamstring injury sustained at the last meeting and team manager John Thompson plus star sprinter Alan Selby both missing due to illness.

Jonnie Taylor led from the gun to easily win the 3,000 metres Steeplechase in 9mins 4seconds, lapping the entire field including clubmate John Woods, who finished second overall in 11mins 32.3seconds to win the B section of the event.

There was yet another fine front-running performance from a Morpeth athlete in the 5000 metres when Peter Newton clocked 14mins 31seconds to take over 10 seconds off his personal best.

Such was his dominance that he finished a massive 2mins 51seconds ahead and double lapped all of his opponents.

Young Joe Robertshaw bravely stepped up to fill the sprinting breach left by Alan Selby’s absence.

He had a comfortable win in his normal speciality, the 400 metres, in 52.4 seconds and also won the 200 metres (23.7 seconds) and finished a close second in the 100 metres (12.0 seconds).

Wayne Gedge returned to team action and picked up useful points in the B sections of the sprints, while acting team manager Dave Swinburne was also a busy athlete, covering gaps in the 400 metres B race plus the 800 and 1500 metres.

Yet again the Appleby brothers scored a big quota of points in the throws. Paul notched third places in the Hammer (32.75m) and Shot (9.36m) together with fourth in the Javelin (34.70m). Brother Steven was third in the B Hammer (21.50m) and second in the B Discus (31.56m) with Craig Pickup again proving a valuable addition to the squad with a win in the B section of the Javelin with a throw of 31.10m, and third places in the B Shot (8.99m) and the B High Jump (1.40m).

Paul Appleby also covered both the 110 and 400 metres Hurdles to pick up even more points while John Woods and Gedge also ensured a reasonable points return from the jumping events.

Had more athletes shown the same level of commitment as those who travelled down to York for the last two meetings, the club – leading after two matches – would have undoubtedly been promoted.

As it is Morpeth remain in Division Three for another season – hoping for an input of enthusiasm from the young athletes who will be old enough for the team next year and a better attitude from those who were already eligible.

• The final North Eastern Athletics League meeting of the season at Gateshead Stadium on Wednesday, August 10, once again saw a good turnout by Morpeth Harriers in the Under 15 Boys age group.

Phil Winkler added to his growing reputation with a win in the 800 metres in 2mins 08.11seconds, with Ryan Green improving his personal best to 2mins 12.57seconds in fifth place.

Elliot Kelly was sixth in 2mins 15.47seconds, with Jarod Lewis ninth in 2mins 17.52seconds (another PB) and Sam Foster-Beattie 12th with 2mins 27.04seconds.

Alex Nesbitt also did well, finishing fourth in the Long Jump (4.43m) and sixth overall in the 200 metres in a time of 26.34 seconds.

Jarod Lewis placed third in the 80 metres Hurdles with his time of 16.41 seconds.

Joe Robertshaw was a comfortable winner in the Under 17 section of the 400 metres in 52.12 seconds, while Jacob Hopkins set a new personal best time of 2mins 30.69seconds in placing fourth in the Under 13 Boys 800m.

In the Senior section, Craig Pickup won the Javelin with a throw of 29.96 metres and placed second in the Shot with a putt of 8.04 metres. Points gained in those events helped him earn third place in the season-long Grand Prix competition.

Mike Hegarty finished eighth overall (fourth senior) in the graded 3000 metres race in a time of 9mins 39.07seconds.

Melissa Turner placed 11th overall in the 3000 metres, her time of 9mins 53.64seconds giving her second place in the Senior Women’s section, while Alison Brown went close to her best in placing third in the Under 15 Girls 800 metres in a time of 2mins 34.77seconds.

The versatile Ria Fairnington was once again prominent in the Under 13 Girls events. She won both the 200 metres in 30.03 seconds and the High Jump with 1.30 metres, and went on to place 2nd in the Long Jump with a jump of 3.94 metres.

Ria finished third in the Grand Prix competition – a tremendous performance as the Wooler-based athlete only joined the Harriers midway through the season and therefore was only able to compete in three of the six league meetings.

Joe Robertshaw also finished third in the Under 17 Men’s Grand Prix, with Jacob Hopkins placing fifth overall in the Under 13 Boys section.

• Morpeth Harrier Maxine Czarnecka finished second for the second successive year at the Sherwoods Chevrolet Darlington 10km on Sunday.

Maxine, who clocked 36mins 24seconds in 32nd place overall, again followed home Durham’s Rosie Smith. Gateshead’s Alex Snook finished 3rd.

The main race was won by Newcastle-based Ethiopian Yred Hagos, who broke former Morpeth Harrier Martin Scaife’s nine-year-old course record by 15 seconds with a time of 30mins 6seconds. Hagos had recently won the Morpeth 10km.

• At the Newcastle Park Run on Saturday, Morpeth Harrier Marcus Cram took second place in a time of 17mins 11seconds behind Gosforth’s William Buswell. The Northumberland club’s Michael Thomsen finished 10th in 19mins 11seconds.

Morpeth’s Charlotte Wilson was the first lady, finishing 13th overall in a time of 19mins 22seconds, and Claire Bruce clocked 23mins 13seconds to cross the line in 73rd position. She was third lady home.

• The Morpeth Veterans Over 55 team won the inaugural Veterans AA North East Road Relay Championships in their age group at Whitley Bay. Gavin Bayne (7mins 33seconds), Richard Gill (8mins 36seconds) and Archie Jenkins (8mins 28seconds) were the winning trio.

• Morpeth’s Michael Dawson travelled down to Stretford for an open meeting at the popular Manchester track. He was rewarded by finishing fourth in the 3000 metres in 8mins 46.83seconds – a time just over four seconds outside his best.