Harriers off to a flier in opener

The winners with their trophies at Morpeth Harriers' Grand Prix Presentation night in the Joiners Arms. Picture by Hudson Stoker.
The winners with their trophies at Morpeth Harriers' Grand Prix Presentation night in the Joiners Arms. Picture by Hudson Stoker.
Share this article

Some excellent individual performances from both their male and female athletes gave Morpeth Harriers an encouraging start to their Northern League Division Three E campaign as they took victory in their opening match at Eastbourne Sports Complex, Darlington, on Sunday, writes George Patterson.

Despite a slight headwind, the club’s male sprint specialists, Jack Hepple and David Storey both clocked personal best times when winning their respective A and B races of the 100m and 200m.

Hepple took the 100m A race in a superb 10.8s, and Storey won the B race in an equally excellent 11.5s.

Both returned to the action a little later in the 200m, where respective bests of 22.5s and 24.4s, also sealed a double victory for the club.

With early season performances such as these, the pairing is going to be a force to be reckoned with as the season progresses, a factor which more than pleases their coach and mentor Eddie Hedley, who was on hand to witness their worthy achievements.

Other Morpeth Harriers double wins on the track came in the 5000m and 3000m, the latter of which was meant to be run as a Steeplechase event, however, officials decided to run it as a flat race because of a defective barrier situation that would have rendered the event unsafe.

Carl Avery won the A-race of the 5000m in an excellent 15m51.8s and Thomas Straughan ran confidently throughout, to take the B-race in 16m02.2s.

In the 3000m, Ade Whitwam won in 8m52.3s and Phillip Caldwell won the B-race in 10m03.5s.

With the exception of the two hurdle events, Morpeth Harriers won all of the B-races in addition to those already mentioned.

In the 400m A-race, Joe Elder finished third in 54.9s, and Henrik Paulsen took the B-race in 58.3s.

Elder produced another winning performance in the 800m B-race when clocking 2m11.6s, to Michael Dawson’s A-string effort of 2m14.7s, which saw him finish fifth.

Dawson did however have his own B-race glory, when he won the 1500m B in 4m28.0s, to support Elliot Kelly’s A-race effort of 4m25.4s, which saw him finish third.

The Appleby brothers Paul and Stephen, were the club’s usual workhorses in the Field events.

Their best result came in the discus when they secured a Morpeth Harriers double win.

Paul won the A-string with his best effort of 31.46m and Stephen took the B-string with 28.48m.

In addition to the aforementioned discus, Stephen also took B-string victories in the hammer (21.66m) and shot (8.40m).

Paul also finished third in the A-events of the hammer (24.96m), javelin (35.04m) and shot (9.97m).

Morpeth Harriers other industrious field-eventer was John Thompson, who finished third in the long jump A, with a best of 4.97m, fourth in the triple jump A and second in the javelin B-event with 32.47m.

The Morpeth Men’s 4x100m squad courtesy of Jack Hepple, David Storey, John Thompson and Joe Elder finished third in 47.9s and their 4x400m squad finished fourth in 3m57.6s, courtesy of Carl Avery, Elliot Kelly, Henrik Paulsen and Joe Elder.

Morpeth Harriers’ overall result also received a superb contribution from their young female squad, consisting of mainly U17 and U20 athletes, with only one Senior featuring.

That Senior was Field athlete Claire Reid, who achieved no less than three individual victories, and a second place for her tremendous efforts.

The Scotland-based Veteran International won the discus with a best of 34.17m, the javelin with 19.13m, and the shot with 20.04m, and her second place came in the hammer, where she threw 30.57m.

Her best Morpeth Harriers B-event support came in the javelin, with Abby Sheldon throwing 15.87m.

Support in the discus and shot came from twin sisters Molly and Rosie McDonald with respective efforts of 11.77m and 3.54m gaining them fourth and sixth places.

Morpeth Harriers Women’s effort was well supported by sprint duo Beth Laidler and the younger Megan Deakin.

Laidler finished second in the 100m and 200m setting new figures of 13.3s and 28.2 respectively.

Deakin also set new figures in her B-event support, finishing second in the 100m in 13.5s, and winning the 200m in an excellent 27.8s.

In the Women’s 400m, Rosie McDonald finished second in the the A-race in 67.2s and sister Molly did likewise in the B-race in 71.6s.

The Women’s 800m saw Abby Sheldon clock 2m39.0s for second place, with Molly McDonald backing her up well by taking the B-race in 2m41.6s.

Morpeth Harriers’ best Women’s track result of the day came in the 1500m, with Hannah Sheerin taking the A-race in 5m22.1s and Abby Sheldon securing victory in the B-race in 5m27.7s.

Hannah Rank won the 3000m in 12.00.8s.

Louise Brett performed well by gaining two seconds and a third in the Women’s 400m hurdles, long-jump and triple-jump events.

In the hurdles, she clocked 78.9s and had bests of 4.35m and 9.22m in the respective jump events.

Morpeth Harriers 4x100m and 4x400m Women’s relay squads finished second and first respectively.

Their 4x400m squad won in 4m39.0s courtesy of Abby Sheldon, Hannah Sheerin, Hannah Rank and Louise Brett.

Beth Laidler, Megan Deakin, Rosie McDonald and Molly McDonald secured second place for the club’s Women’s 4x 00m squad in 56.0s, behind Chester-le-Street’s 55.6s.

Final match results: 1 Morpeth Harriers 377pts; 2 Houghton Harriers 325; 3 Wallsend & Blyth 322.5; 4 Heaton Harriers & Tyne Bridge 287; 5 Chester-le-Street 269; 6 North Shields Poly 263.5.

Ian Hudspith made up for his disappointment in missing out on retaining his winner’s title at the North Tyneside 10k, by emphatically taking a handsome victory in Sunday’s City of Sunderland 10k.

The event which was also held in conjunction with the half-marathon attracted a good quality field, and Hudspith was first across the finish line at the city’s Stadium of Light, posting a season’s best of 31m39s, putting him two minutes clear of his Morpeth Harriers clubmate Ross Floyd, who was nevertheless delighted to finish second, also posting a season’s best of 33m29s.

A little further down the field in the 10k, but posting a personal best of 53m31s, was Morpeth Harrier Clare Walker, who finished in 409th place.

Six Morpeth Harriers were finishers in the accompanying half-marathon.

First and most prominent of these was Matthew Boyle, who set new figures of 79m11s, when placing 11th.

Other Morpeth Harriers finishers were as follows: Mark Snowball (41st) 85m32s, Steve Haswell (58th) 86m40s, Paul Banks (101st) 91m06s, Andrew Stephenson (399th) 106m29s and Lorna MacDonald (937th) 132m11s.

Morpeth Harrier Lewis Timmins was a prominent finisher in the highly popular New Marske Spring 5k, held on Tuesday, April 30.

Timmins placed third in 15m29s, behind winner Gateshead Harrier Matthew Hynes (14m43s) and second-placed Andy Wiles of the host club (15m09s).

Morpeth Harriers other finishers were Team Wilkinson, husband and wife Sarah and Neil, who finished 33rd and 34th respectively in 17m45s, and 17m50s.

Sarah took individual honours as first lady home.

Five athletes from Morpeth Harriers took part in Park Runs at Chester-le-Street (Riverside), and Newcastle (Exhibition Park) on Saturday, April 3, and four emerged with brand new best performances over the respective 5k courses.

Following on from her excellent Ladies race win in the New Marske 5k four days earlier, Sarah Wilkinson took a second off her previous best at Chester-le-Street, set last December, when she came home in second place overall in 17m14s, and as first lady home.

Meanwhile, up in Newcastle, Michael Thomsen was setting new figures when he finished third overall in a large field of 535 participants.

It was Thomsen’s first run since his disappointing North Tyneside 10k, and he can take personal delight from the fact that he knocked seven seconds off his previous best set a year ago, when he clocked 17m18s.

Although not a new personal best, club colleague Paul Banks clocked 19m57s, when finishing 56th.

There were new pbs, however, for Morpeth Harriers Sue Smith and Claire Walker.

Smith finished 161st in 23m05s, knocking 11 seconds off her previous best set in March of this year, and Walker knocked a whole 22 seconds off her previous set last December, when she finished 218th in 24m20s.

Twenty to 30 athletes from Morpeth Harriers gathered at the Joiners Arms, Morpeth, on the evening of Sunday, April 27, for their annual Grand Prix Presentation evening.

Master of ceremonies for the evening was Phil Walker, who sponsors the competition under the banner of his Wealth Management Group, and having done so since 2012, when taking over from Pam and Tony Woodcock, announced that he was fully prepared to do so in the forthcoming year, and had been very pleased with the participation level within the club, in the year just past, and felt that the competition had brought a healthy response.

Thirty-five members in all had taken part, and 17 had completed the required six events for qualification of total scores.

There had been four leagues of competitive level fought for, and the successful athletes were as follows:-

League One: Winner was Chris Waugh, and official runner up was Phil Walker, however, as sponsor Phil declined his award, and went in favour of giving it to third placed Shuna Rank, who had shown great spirit in completing a required Park Run during Christmas Week in order to show her willingness for success in the Grand Prix.

League Two: Had seen a very close three way fight for supremacy between father and son, Rob and Sam Hancox, and Thomas Straughan.

In the end the older Hancox prevailed to take the title, with Sam edging out Thomas to claim family domination for the Hancox’s.

League Three: Went to Mike Winter, with runners up spot going to Peter Scaife.

League Four: Went to Lorna MacDonald.

The runners up spot went to Hermes Carlyon, who unfortunately was unable to be present to accept his award, with work commitments now having taken him on to pastures new.

Overall Grand Prix winners were Chris Waugh (Male), and Lorna Macdonald (Female).

Phil Walker closed proceedings by paying tribute to John Butters, who had indeed done a sterling job of collating the score tables throughout the season, and announced that he was giving a Special Award to him for his excellent services.

Thanks also go to the manager and staff of the Joiners Arms for the splendid buffet provided.