Morpeth Harriers’ young track-and-field squad made an excellent start to their North East Youth Development League Division One campaign on Sunday when they won their opening fixture, held at King Edward School VI, Morpeth, writes George Patterson.
Competing in temperatures sometimes akin to winter cross-country, laced with two separate hail storms, and intermittent sunshine, they battled their way through the six hours of competition to record a 60.5 point victory over their closest rivals, 2014 champions Blaydon Harriers, with newly-promoted Harrogate rewarding their long journey from Yorkshire, with third place and a further 20.5 points adrift.
Some of the better Morpeth Harriers, better performances came from their field event athletes, quite notably Ruaridh Lang.
The U15 Boy secured no less than two league record-breaking victories in the discus (36.58m) and shot (11.65m), which also meant two new personal bests for the Paul Reed-coached athlete.
Reed, himself a well-known Morpeth Harrier, who in his competitive era was a superb performer, not only for his club, but also in the international arena, winning several GB vests.
Afterwards, Reed was very vocal in his support for Lang, and predicts great things to come from his charge, that is providing he continues with the training programme he has set out for him, adding that his shot result was phenomenal, having added nearly two metres to his previous best.
Lang was well supported in the discus by Alex Cunningham’s 11.39m, which placed him second in the B-string competition.
In the U17 Men’s long jump, David Thomas and Jake Jardine teamed up for an excellent double victory for Morpeth, with respective bests of 5.62m and 5.10m. Thomas also finished second in the triple jump with 11.78m.
Jamie Warburton of Morpeth cleared 1.79m for second place in the U17 Men’s high jump.
Charlie Chisholm was another good performer for Morpeth in the U17 Men’s section, recording a victory in the shot with 8.08m, and he finished second in the discus, with his best of 31.08m.
Morpeth’s best track performers in the U17 Men’s events were Kieran Hedley and Adam Shewry, who secured a double victory in the 1500m, Hedley taking the A-race in 4m30.1s, and Shewry finishing third overall in 4m43.0s took the B-race.
In the U17 Men’s 100m, Morpeth’s Jake Jardine just lost out in a sprint finish to Harrogate’s Jack Colmer, both being given the same time of 11.8s. Declan Stoker ran superbly to take the B-race in 12.2s.
Jacob Hopkins of Morpeth secured two third places in the 400m (60.4s) and 800m (2m20.4s) and Jamie Duguid certainly showed his overall improvement level by taking the 800m B-race in 2m21.7s.
Jardine also just missed out in the 200m, when finishing second in 24.3s.
Completing a good set of individual results for Morpeth Harriers in the U17 Men’s events was Adam Shewry, who marked his debut in the age group by getting points for second place in the javelin with a best of 5.15m.
Joe Dowd was a superb track performer for Morpeth Harriers in the U15 Boys’ events. He won the 300m in an excellent 41.7s, backed up well by newcomer Elliot Cowie, who took the B-race in 42.2s.
Dowd went on to finish an excellent second in a very fast 800m in a time of 2m14.9s.
In the U15 Boys’ 1500m, Matthew Waterfield finished an excellent second in the A-race in 4m56.1s and Alex Cunningham once again proved himself to be a superb supporting B-race runner, when he won in 5m11.3s.
Joe Dowd rounded off an excellent individual day’s work by winning the B-event of the javelin with 15.07m, supporting Luke Haxell’s A-string effort of 16.40m, which saw him place fourth.
In the U15 Boys’ sprints, Jack Bambro finished third in the 100m A-race in 12.9s, and second in the 200m in 26.0s.
He was backed up in the 100m by Patrick Darroch, who was third B in 14,4s, and Reuben Wilkinson in the 200m, who finished fourth in 29.6s.
Wilkinson and Darroch, joined Robert Eadington and Jake Lloyd in forming a very useful Morpeth U15 Boys’ 4x100m relay squad, who were second in 52.5s.
Lloyd cleared 1.39m for fourth in the high jump.
Thomas Cunningham’s excellent sprint finish win in the 800m was the highlight of Morpeth’s U13 Boys’ performances. He clocked 2m34.8s, and was well backed up by Ben Waterfield’s B-race performance, which was also marked by an impressive competitive debut time of 2m51.6s, which saw him finish second in the B-race.
Waterfield also finished second in the high jump with his clearance of 1.20m.
He was well backed up by Matthew Ash, who also made a clearance of 1.20m, for second in the B-string. Ash also won the B-string 100m in 14.5s, backing up Matthew Heslop’s14.8s, which saw him finish fourth in the A-race.
In the 200m, Heslop finished third in the A-race in 29.4s, and Bobby Stone backed him up well by his third in the B-race in 32.1s.
In the U13 Boys’ 1500m, Morpeth’s Dylan Gooding finished fourth in the A-race in 5m48.1s, and Reece Garrett was third in the B-string in 6m28.8s.
Daniel Dowd, younger brother of Joe, threw an excellent 20.61m to finish third in the U13 Boys A-string javelin, and Thomas Cunningham finished fourth in the B-string, with a best throw of 12.71m.
Many of the Morpeth Harriers U13 Boys’ squad had never competed at this level before, and they certainly delighted team manager Paddy Paulsen, when they rounded off their days work splendidly, by producing a 4x100m relay win in 60.3s, courtesy of Bobby Stone, Matthew Heslop, Matthew Ash, and Nathan Hume.
First timer Ellie Burt was certainly a star performer in the Morpeth Harriers U15 Girls’ field events.
She won the A-string javelin and hammer, with respective bests of 18.88m and 18.03m, and also won the B-string shot, with a best putt of 7.35m, which was just a fraction short of her A-string partner Lauren Goose, who won with a best of 7.92m.
Another Morpeth Harriers first timer Lottie Hume also looks a sound prospect, as she won the U15 Girls’ discus with her best effort of 19.67m.
Jessica Young-Rogers just lost out by a whisker in the U15 Girls’ 100m, recording a time of 13.4s, which was the same time as the winner Amy Carter of New Marske.
She was well supported in the B-race by Hannah Brown, who won in 14.1s. Brown also took victory in the 75m hurdles in 12.3s.
Harriet Priest gave excellent support in the B-race, finishing second in 12.8s. Young-Rogers finished fourth in the 200m A-race in 28.2s, however, Nadine Arkle took the supporting B-race in 28.6s.
Morpeth Harriers U15 Girls won their 4x100m relay in 54.0s.
In the U17 Women’s events Abby Sheldon was a star performer. She won both the 1500m and javelin events. In the 1500m she led most of the way, and crossed the finish line in 5m24.0s.
In the javelin she managed a best of 23.46m, which was nearly two metres ahead of her closest rival.
Naomi Arkle just lost out for victory to Gateshead’s Hannah Kelly in the 100m, with her clocking of 13.3s.
Arkle also finished second behind Gateshead’s Hannah Kelly in the 200m, clocking a time of 27.8s, being well supported by Lauren Eadington finishing second in the B-race in 29.9s.
Eadington also finished fourth in the 800m in 2m44.5s.
Lois Scott supported in the B-race, finishing third in 3m06.3s.
In the U17 Women’s long jump, Scott won the B-string with her best of 3.17m, giving good support to Georgia Priest’s 3.99m, which saw he finish second in the A-string. Priest also finished third in the shot, with her best of 7.98m.
Morpeth Harriers U17 Women’s 4x100m relay squad finished second to Gateshead in 56.7s.
Like their U13 Boy team mates, Morpeth Harriers U13 Girls’ squad had a few first timers competing for them.
Two in particular who impressed were Elena Sanders and Emma Lawson, who secured a superb double victory in the shot. Sanders putted 6.54m, and Lawson produced a best of 6.21m.
Grace Bathgate finished fourth in the 100m A-race in 15.0s, and Antje Hall finished third in the B-race in 16.5s.
Rhiannon Hedley finished third in the 1500m A-race in 5m51.9s, and Ailidh Dick gave good Brace support by finishing fourth in 6m25.7s.
Charlotte Bruce had two good B event performances for Morpeth. She finished second in the 70m hurdles in 16.1s, and third in the 800m in 3m09.0s.
Nicole Teasdale was an excellent fourth in the 800m A-race in 2m53.5s.
Morpeth Harriers U13 Girls’ 4x100m squad finished third in 61.3s.
The new Morpeth Harriers female team managers Mark Brown and Janet Peck were very pleased with their young squads contribution to a superb first match result, which was as follows:-
1 Morpeth Harriers 693.5pts; 2 Blaydon Harriers 633; 3 Harrogate Harriers 612.5; 4 Gateshead Harriers 590; 5 New Marske 551.5; 6 Tynedale 521pts.
Result subject to further scrutiny.
Seven Morpeth Harriers competed in the masses section of Sunday’s Virgin Money London Marathon.
First home was Andrew Lawrence, who clocked a personal best time of 2hrs29mins13s, when finishing an excellent 44th in the Men’s section.
Next home was Ian Harding, who finished as 68th man in 2hrs30mins 55secs.
Finishing in a time of 2hrs40mins52secs, Karl Taylor was third home from the club, finishing as 310th man.
Other Morpeth Harriers to finish were, Lorna MacDonald (148th lady) 3hrs05mins02secs, Mike Winter (4175th man) (687th Over 45) 3hrs22mins21secs, Craig Gair (4509th man) 3hrs24mins49secs, and Eric Adams (4666th) 3hrs26mins01secs.
Six Morpeth Harriers travelled to London to represent the North East in the Mini Marathons that accompanied the Virgin Money London Marathon.
The best of these was undoubtedly Holly Peck, who finished 12th in the U13 Girls event in 18m03s.
Other Morpeth Harriers competing were Ross Charlton who ran well to finish 39th in the U13 Boys event in 17m26s.
Also running in this age group was Daniel Dixon, who finished 64th in his age group in 18m57s.
In the U15 Boys event Taylor Glover finished 47th in 16m14s.
In the U17 Boys event, Morpeth Harriers Scott Beattie and Nathan Cox finished 24th and 44th respectively in 15m07s and 15m26s.
This Sunday, Morpeth Harriers host their first Northern Athletics Senior League fixture at King Edward School.
Action in the field events get underway at 11.30am, whilst track events commence at 1pm.
This season Morpeth compete in Division Two, where they will face opposition from City of York, Gateshead B, Middlesbrough (Mandale), North Shields Poly, and Skyrac of Yorkshire.
Taking a leaf out of their young athletes book, Morpeth Harriers Senior Men and Women are hoping to make a victorious start to the season.