MEMBERS of Morpeth Harriers gathered together at the town’s new athletics track to mark the presentation to the club of a seat to commemorate the contribution made to Morpeth sport by Tony Bray, who died last autumn.
The seat, presented by Tony’s widow Anne, will give spectators a view of the track which he played a big part in bringing to Morpeth.
After a sporting career which included football, where he was a team-mate of the great Johnny Haynes, and golf, Tony joined the Harriers and eventually was a medallist in the national marathon championships at veteran level.
He was a successful Chairman of the organising committee of the famous Morpeth to Newcastle Road Race and for many years was Secretary of the Castle Morpeth Sports Council, which included putting together its annual Sports Award presentation.
Introducing the occasion, Harriers Secretary Mike Bateman thanked Anne for the seat and said that Tony was a true man of sport who contributed hugely to the enjoyment of others.
It was fitting that he should be remembered in this way at such an attractive sporting venue.
• The first meeting of the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League 2012-13 got underway on Saturday, with the holding of the Sherman Cup (Men) and Davison Shield (Women) at Temple Park Leisure Centre, South Shields.
At the time, it was thought that Morpeth Harriers had been successful in both competitions and thus retained their hold on the Davison Shield.
The club did very well in the Men’s competition, with the first three to score in each of the five sections on offer.
Particularly strong were the Senior Men, who finished a very close second to their fiercest rivals Gateshead Harriers.
They were led home by Jonny Nisbet, who more than crowned his first Senior Harrier League outing by placing an excellent seventh in 31m58s and only a minute behind event winner Phil Hurst of Elswick Harriers.
Second home for Morpeth Harriers was Jordan Scott, tenth in 32m19s, who is now beginning to show signs that he is reaping the benefit of extra training.
This can also be said of third counter Thomas Straughan, who produced an outstanding run to finish 22nd in 33m38s.
Also competing well were Tom Brookes (25th) 33m49s, Alistair Douglass (39th) 34m23s, and Sam Hancox (64th) 35m22s.
Other Harriers Senior Mens results were: John Woods (87th) 36m19s, Tony Lewis (100th) 37m10s, and Ben Etterley (214th) 42m53s.
In the veterans, Morpeth Harriers finished well ahead of Gateshead Harriers in the Men’s section.
They were led home by Fergus Bates, who produced an excellent run to finish 33rd overall in 34m11s and was tenth veteran man to finish.
Second counter for Morpeth was evergreen Gordon Dixon, fresh from his previous week’s exploits in Dumfries. Dixon was 17th veteran finisher, when placing 69th in 35m28s.
Third counter was Rob Hancox, who worked his way round solidly to finish 91st overall and was 27th veteran Man to finish in 36m27s.
Morpeth’s other Male Veteran finisher was Jim Alder, who came home in 122nd place as 43rd in the category.
The club’s younger age Male athletes contributed greatly to the overall success.
Their Under 17 Men finished second to Gateshead Harriers, being led home by an excellent Elliot Kelly who finished ninth in 22m13s.
Only two seconds and one place behind him was clubmate Philip Winkler, who had spent most of the previous week fighting off a virus.
The Harriers tally was completed by Joe Elder, who finished 28th in 24m57s.
Next best performers for Morpeth were their Under 13 Boys, who finished second, narrowly missing out for victory to Chester-le-Street.
They were led home by Kieran Hedley, who finished fourth in 11m51s. Further excellent team support came from Philip Kirby (seventh) 12m24s, and Alex Cunningham (eighth) 12m31s.
There was also a further excellent run in this age group event from Joe Dowd, who finished in 14th place in 12m53s.
Other Harriers to finish in this event were: Adam Shewry (30th) 13m58s, Matthew Briggs (38th) 15m13s, Lewis James (40th) 16m17s, and Hamish Thomson (45th) 19m47s.
Jacob Hopkins led Morpeth Harriers Under 15 Boys home to third team place behind Gateshead Harriers and Tynedale. Hopkins finished tenth overall, one place and six seconds ahead of his clubmate Jarod Lewis in a time of 11m44s.
Sam Williams (25th) 13m21s, completed the Morpeth Harriers Under 15 Boys scoring tally.
On to the Women’s Davison Shield competition, where the main threat to Morpeth Harriers supremacy came from Gosforth Harriers, who scored likewise in four of the five sections on offer.
However, the difference margin of 140 points in the newly separately scored Veteran Women’s event gave Morpeth just the advantage that they needed for overall victory.
The club was inspirationally led home by their Team Manager Sarah Wilkinson, who ran exceptionally well to finish as first veteran in third place, and in a time of 23m18s that was only one minute and twenty seconds adrift of Senior race winner Rosie Smith of Durham City.
Second counter for Morpeth Harriers was Jane Briggs, who finished 28th overall in 28m08s and was 13th veteran. Completing the Morpeth Harriers winning scoring count was Claire Bruce, who was 53rd overall in 29m31s and was 29th veteran.
Disappointingly, Morpeth Harriers could only manage to muster one senior lady on the day. Kate Chapman finished an excellent 18th overall in 27m15s and was tenth senior.
Next best result in the Female section came from their Under 13 Girls who finished fourth behind Gosforth Harriers.
Morpeth Harriers’ Under 13 Girls were led home by Teegan Dryden, fifth overall in 6m11s. Second counter for Morpeth Harriers was Kate Seymour, having her first ever Harrier League outing. Kate finished in 13th place in 6m31s.
Completing the Harriers scoring count was Lois Scott, who finished 42nd in 7m29s.
Charlotte Jewell led the Under 15 Girls squad home to fifth team place when finishing 14th in 13m38s. Not far behind her in 15th place was Amber Cormack, who clocked 14m05s.
The scoring count was completed by Florence Thomson, 23rd in 15m47s. One place and ten seconds behind Florence was Harriet Grace.
Alison Brown finished eighth in 19m01s, and as fifth Under 17 athlete in the combined Under 17/Under 20 Women’s event.
Morpeth finished as fifth team in this age group, with further team support coming from Hannah Sheerin (16th and 11th Under 17) 20m32s, and Sarah Wilkes (21st and 12th Under 17) 22m04s.
The combined non-scoring Under 11 Boys and Girls race saw a total of 57 finishers face the starter, including four very promising young athletes from Morpeth Harriers.
First home from the club was Daniel Dixon, who was 24th overall in 3m51s for approximately 1200m, and he was 15th boy finisher. Not far behind him in 25th place and as 16th boy finisher was Adam Kirby, younger brother of Philip, who clocked 3m53s.
Next home from Morpeth was Rhiannon Hedley, younger sister of Kieran, who finished 33rd as 14th girl in a time of 4m01s.
Joshua Williams completed the Harriers quartet when he finished 37th in 4m09s. He was 20th boy finisher.
For the third week in a row, Morpeth Harrier Graeme Taylor broke the Gateshead Park Run course record on Saturday when he clocked 16m13s for the 5k Saltwell Park circuit.
Clubmate Andrew Lawrence finished 44th in a season’s best of 73m40s in Sunday’s Bristol Half Marathon.
Fourteen Under 11 athletes from Morpeth Harriers contested the second of this year’s Club Championship races in Lancaster Park on Monday evening.
Holly Peck won the gold, completing the 1.3mile event in 11m47s. Second place and a silver medal went to Hannah Dickson, in 13m13s.
Mark Booth took the boys’ winning honours in 9m30s.
Second place went to Joe Briddon in 9m46s, closely followed home in 9m48s by the bronze medal winner Ross Charlton. The medals will be presented at a special presentation night, to be held in November.
Further Under 11 Boys finishers were as follows: Tom Butler (4th) 10m03s, Sam Bradley (5th) 10m09s, Daniel Dixon (6th) 10m23s, Adam Kirby (7th) 10m46s, James Brady (8th) 10m51s, Jake Lloyd (9th) 11m43s, Harry Clark (10th) 13m11s, Joshua Williams (11th) 13m12s, Matthew Bell (12th) 13m19s.