Cracking start to track season

AN excellent start to the domestic track and field league season saw Morpeth Harriers’ two squads produce performances that earned them good placings in their opening matches on Saturday and Sunday, writes George Patterson.

The club’s senior men and women finished second in their home Northern League Division Three match at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow, and their young athletes, boosted by one of their best turnouts for several years, were very clear winners of their Northern League Division One match held at Clairville Stadium, Middlesbrough.

In the case of the Senior match it was indeed a mammoth effort. In the Men’s section they were well-covered by the appearance of 14 athletes, however their Women’s section could only muster a total of four, which clearly meant that there would be a surrendering of points in some events.

It was clearly decided by Team Managers John Thompson, David Swinburne and Gwenda Cavill to play to strengths and despite some weaknesses, good performances by all those who took part brought a very satisfactory result.

After nearly a five-year absence from action, mainly due to university studies, it was a very welcome comeback by sprinter Alan Selby, who helped himself to an excellent double victory in the 100m (11.5s) and 200m (23.5s).

He was very ably backed up respectively by John Thompson and Under 17 athlete Joe Robertshaw, who finished third in the B events in 12.7s and 24.3s, the latter being a new personal best.

Robertshaw was marginally just outside his best when he placed third in the 400m in 53.5s.

The Men’s 800m provided an excellent double win for Morpeth Harriers with Ross Floyd taking the A race in 2m05.0s and Jonny Nisbet won the B race in 2m10.2s.

For the first time in his life Jonny Taylor tackled the 3000m Steeplechase and he pulled off an excellent victory in 8m56.4s. Morpeth gained more excellent points with John Woods taking the B event in 11m10.1s.

Yet another Men’s double victory came in the 5000m, with Peter Newton taking the A race (14m44.5s) and Michael Dawson winning the B race in 15m13.0s.

In the Men’s field events, Angus Wood and John Thompson achieved wins respectively in the High Jump (1.55m), Triple Jump B (10.66m), Javelin B (20.53m), and Long Jump B (5.01m).

Wood added to his three victories with an excellent second in the Long Jump A.

Other good efforts in the field came from Steven Appleby in the Hammer (20.92m), Discus (31.41m), and Shot (8.94m), where he placed third on each occasion.

His enthusiasm was such that in the case of the Hammer, he encouraged his father Bob – a long serving Morpeth Harriers supporter, official, and former runner – to don his vest and throw 13.27m to finish third in the B section.

Perhaps encouraged by the excellent efforts of her training partner Alan Selby, Elaine Telford certainly established herself as the pick of the Morpeth Harriers women’s track performers when she also achieved a superb sprint double in the 100m (13.1s) and 200m (27.1s).

She was well backed up in the B events by Ailsa McGregor (14.7s), and Hannah Rank (31.3s), who both finished second respectively.

Claire Reid made her journey down from Scotland to claim two victories, a second and third in the Discus (34.46m), Shot (10.55m), Hammer (32.17m), and Javelin (16.70m).

Excellent work by respective team managers saw Morpeth Harriers’ Young Athletes produce a turn-out that had not been seen by the club for several years, which produced a superb victory in their opening fixture at Middlesbrough on Sunday.

There were some very good performances across the three age groups, which in turn gave the club a resounding victory.

In the Under 15 Boys 800m, Philip Winkler won in an excellent 2m16.4s and Sam Hancox achieved his first ever track win in the Under 17 Men’s 3000m in 11m01.5s.

The other Morpeth track winners were as follows: Jonnie Nisbet (Under 17 Men’s 800m in 2m09.5s), Patrick Smith (Under 13 Boys 800m in 2m59.2s), Ryan Simpson (Under 17 Men’s 100m in 14.0s), Daniel Bell (Under 13 Boys 100m in 16.2s), Beth Wooley (Under 15 Girls 75m Hurdles in 17.7s), Jacob Hopkins (Under 13 Boys 1500m in 5m32.5s), Alison Brown (Under 15 Girls 1500m in 5m38.9s), Myles Foggon (Under 15 Boys 400m in 61.8s).

In the field events, there were some good successes from Jacob Hopkins (Under 13 Boys Long Jump with 3.35m), Hans Paulsen (Under 15 Boys Javelin with 6.73m), Matthew Levison (Under 17 Men’s Javelin with 10.71m), Ryan Simpson (Under 17 Men’s Long Jump with 5.40m and Under 17 Men’s Triple Jump with 10.92m), Daniel Bell (Under 13 Boys Shot with 4.97m), Ryan Green (Under 15 Boys Long Jump with 4.00m) and Philip Winkler (Under 15 Boys Discus with 10.23m).

Added to this there were also some very good supporting efforts across the events.

• It was certainly a good trip out for the Wilkinsons, as Neil and Sarah of Morpeth Harriers were very much inspirators behind their club’s double team successes at the annual Gordon Smith Memorial Relays, held at Wallsend on Wednesday, May 4.

In the case of Sarah, she not only clocked the night’s fastest Women’s time of 10m35s, but also broke Dianne Henaghan’s previous Women’s course record by 12 seconds. Sarah’s first leg effort paved the way for Morpeth Harriers Women’s A team’s 26-second margin of victory over Elswick Harriers, with a non scoring Wallsend Harriers composite squad just a further second adrift in third place.

Kate Chapman (12m33s) and Charlotte Wilson (11m30s) were the other contributors to the Morpeth victory.

A Morpeth Harriers Women’s B team finished ninth, courtesy of Gemma Floyd (12m59s), Jane Briggs (13m48s) and Marie Drosdowicz (13m30s).

Neil Wilkinson clocked the Men’s fastest time of the night of 9m39s on Leg Two, and helped his club to team victory with help on Leg One by Paul Waterston (10m32s) and Dave Swinburne’s final leg of 10m07s.

• Clocking 8m44.25s, Morpeth Harrier Nick Swinburn finished 17th in a top quality 3000m A race at the prestigious Trafford Grand Prix on Tuesday, May 3.

New Marske’s Ricky Stevenson won the race in 8m09.43s.

• Father and daughter Alistair and Catriona MacDonald flew the Morpeth Harriers flag at the Tees Barrage 10k, held at Stockton on Tees on Monday, May 2.

Alistair was fourth Over 40 Veteran Man when he finished 18th in 38m15s. Catriona was 19th Lady in 258th place overall in 54m02s.