Celebrating a top year in Morpeth sports

Successful teams and individuals, along with dedicated volunteers, were honoured at this year’s Morpeth Sports Awards.

The event, which used to cover the former Castle Morpeth borough but fell by the wayside after the reorganisation of local government six years ago, made its return last year.

King Edward V1 School Trophy - Open Team award -MHACyoung athletes Track and Field Squad'Picture Keith Robertson

King Edward V1 School Trophy - Open Team award -MHACyoung athletes Track and Field Squad'Picture Keith Robertson

And members of the Morpeth Sports Council, which organised the awards, were pleased to see a good turnout for the ceremony at the town’s rugby club headquarters in Mitford Road.

Alan Old was the special guest for the evening. The former Morpeth Rugby Club player, who also played for Middlesbrough, Sheffield, Yorkshire, Northumberland and the Barbarians, was capped for England 16 times between 1972 and 1978.

As well as the town centre, people living in the parishes of Hepscott, Longhirst, Longhorsley, Mitford, Morpeth, Pegswood, Stannington, Ulgham and Whalton were eligible to be nominated, along with those who are members of sports clubs based in these areas.

After going through all the entries outlining achievements over the last 12 months and longer periods for a couple of the categories, the council selected the winners.

Secretary Derek Thompson read out information for each of them from the relevant nomination form.


Daniel Mattison is a member of the Ronin Judo Club. He has achieved the grade of 3rd Kyu ichi black (green belt with one black bar). He trains every week and is quick to learn.

His execution of techniques is almost perfect and his Randori (free practice) is particularly brilliant

He is always polite, respectful and attentive, he supports his fellow students and has gained a great deal of respect from them.


Amelie Newies award is a member of the Ronin Judo Club. She has trained with the club for the last five years and has reached the grade of 4th Kye (orange belt).

She is a very enthusiastic student, which runs in the family as her grandfather was a French champion.

She is a keen student and is now starting to learn her Kata (pre-arranged patterns of techniques practised with a partner) – her techniques are complimented by her being a student of dancing so she can bring her grace to movements.


The Morpeth Harriers U13 Boys Road and Cross Country squad’s progress was highlighted in the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League Series where they were the first placed team in three of the six fixtures then second, third and fourth in the remaining three, which saw them clinch the league title for their age group.

There were some outstanding performances by individual members of the team leading to a second place finish in the North Eastern Counties Cross Country Championships at South Shields in December.

The squad also finished second in the Sherman Cup competition.


Emma Holt of Morpeth Harriers is described as one of the fittest athletes in the club and is part of a very successful Senior Women’s squad.

She retained her senior women’s title in the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League of cross country events, where she was fastest overall for three of the six races and actually won one of the events.

The personal highlight of a very successful year has been her triathlon performances. She was placed third in the 2013 Toshiba British Triathlon (Elite Class) at Windsor with a time of 2hrs 12mins 12secs over the three events.

Emma then added an age group world triathlon title to her tally.


Nick Swinburn has certainly made a breakthrough in both road and cross country in terms of performance quality in recent months.

At Tanfield in September 2013 he led the club’s Senior Men to victory in the Sherman Cup with an outstanding individual front running performance. He has figured prominently in several road races and in October 2013 he finished 55th in the highly prestigious Frankfurt Marathon.

At the Northern and National Cross Country Championships in 2014, held at Merseyside and Nottingham respectively, he finished fourth on both occasions against very stiff opposition.

He also played a prominent part in his club’s recent silver medal in the National 12 Stage Road Relay.


Morpeth Harriers’ Male and Female Young Athletes Track and Field squad consists of boys and girls in the U13, U15 and U17 year groups.

They have had a superb season, winning three out of the four allotted fixtures in the newly formed North East Youth Development League where they took the very first Division One title.

The squad has three record holders in the under 15 boys section for 200m, pole vault and discus events. Male members of the squad hold records in the under 17s for 400m, 800m and 1500m.

Not to be outdone, the female members of the under 17s also hold records in the 300m, 800m and hammer events.


Andy Bell is a 2nd Dan judo coach at the Ronin Judo Club, where he has been a member for eight years. He is a very competent coach who can deliver instruction to students at all levels.

He has a brilliant working relationship with all the students and can make the study of a serious martial art informative and fun.

Unfortunately, Andy discovered he had type one diabetes, which is taking a long time to stabilise, but he has now returned to training.


Morpeth Rugby Club’s fourth team, known as The Stags, is made up of mature and teenage rugby players who use the team as the initial exposure to senior competition.

In the 2013/14 season, this team of diverse players achieved something rarely done as they won their league and cup competitions.

The excellent team spirit was particularly shown in one of their games, as they turned a 24-3 deficit at half time into a 26-24 win against Houghton Boars.

The icing on the cake was winning the County Cup No 4 competition against Gosforth Falcons to achieve the double.


Bob Marshall of Morpeth Harriers was a prolific road runner in the late 70s and 80s until work commitments intervened, as they took him away from the Morpeth area.

Club officials were delighted when he returned to them to become a first claim member.

He achieved an excellent victory in the Scottish Masters Cross Country Championships in February. He won the men’s 65 plus category after completing the 8k course in 30mins 23secs and he even beat the younger 60s category champion by three seconds.

In March, Bob won the British Masters over 65s Cross Country Championship at Glasgow. He was 37 seconds clear of his nearest rival in the 6k event.


Christine Oliver has for the last five years been the junior development officer at Morpeth Golf Club.

During this time, she has been instrumental in the progression of junior golf at the club, with around 40 girls and boys attending the sessions on a Thursday night.

Over the years, many juniors have progressed and now play for the main teams at the club, with some progressing to the Northumberland County Junior Squad. Girls are in high numbers at the club, which can only be attributed to the support, encouragement and quality of coaching she provides.

Christine is also an accomplished golfer in her own right, she is the Northumberland Ladies Vets County Champion.


Mairi Kitson has been a member of Morpeth Amateur Swimming Club since 1997, when she brought her two sons to the club.

She quickly established herself as an active member of the coaching staff and committee, volunteering to undertake important key posts to ensure the successful running of the club in addition to the coaching of swimmers.

During her time she has acted as team manager for a combined Diddy League team (the swimmers being aged from eight to 11) where she organised transport, team selection and moral support for the members. The team successfully gained promotion to higher leagues two years in succession.

She was appointed as a Welfare Officer for the club, a position she held for several years dealing with the registering and recording of all CRB checks of coaching staff and committee members as well as the welfare of all club members.


Daniel Dixon started his sporting career in swimming. He is a member of Morpeth Amateur Swimming Club where he is an important member of the team.

In the 2013 club championships he was placed first in the 50m Freestyle, 50m Backstroke, 50m Butterfly and 50m Breaststroke in his age group.

He gained qualification in six Northumberland and Durham Championship events, reaching two finals with a best finish of seventh in the 100m Backstroke.

In cricket, he is a member of Morpeth U11s team where he is an outstanding bowler and batsman – he has also played for the U13s team. Last season, he was awarded the U11’s Best Player of the Season award.

Daniel competes for Morpeth Harriers during the winter league and he finished first Morpeth Harrier at Wallington in a cross country race and was placed seventh overall. He is also a member of the U13s team that were convincing winners of the league title for 2013/14.

In triathlon, he competes for Ryton Tri in the Tristar 2 category for 11/12-year-olds. During 2013, he was only 10 years old in this age band when he competed in six local events, finishing in the top three in four of them and first in the other two.

As a result, he was selected for a team of three for the Inter Regional Championships for junior triathletes, this event includes competitors from England, Scotland and Wales.

He has started the 2014 season with an outstanding victory in his category of the Haltwhistle Aquathon (swimming and running).

The Chantry Middle School and Technology College pupil represents his school in many different sports including athletics, cross country and cricket.