It could all go down to the wire for survival in division two of the Northern Senior Track and Field League for Morpeth Harriers.
This follows their recent third round match at Princess Mary Stadium at Cleckheaton in Yorkshire.
In a tight contest where only around 50 points separated the third, fourth and fifth placed clubs, Morpeth were fifth, only two points adrift of fourth placed Middlesbrough Mandale who host the final fixture in August.
The on the day competition itself brought Morpeth Harriers four A string and four B string victories in the Men’s events, and two B string victories in the Women’s events.
Once again Ady Whitwam was very much a star performer in the Men’s track events, winning both the A race in the 3000m Steeplechase, and 5000m, with respective clockings of 9m52.6s and 15m42.0s.
Unfortunately Morpeth could not muster a B string steeplechaser on this occasion, however, in the 5000m Ady’s front running efforts were well supported by Robert Balmbra, who won the B race in 16m40.6s, just outpacing Skyrac’s Paul Fotherby.
Morpeth Harriers were dominant in the Men’s sprint events, with Jack Hepple winning the 100m A race in his first outing in a month following injury.
Although his winning time of 11.0s was a little slower than he would have wished, he can nevertheless be delighted with the victory after his layoff.
Daniel Moore can also be pleased with his B string win in 11.5s
Moore was further pleased when he won the 200m A race in 23.2s
David Storey, who was also making a competitive comeback following a spell of inactivity, was well pleased with his 200m B string victory in 23.8s.
In the Men’s 1500m event, Morpeth Harriers Chris Smith and Thomas Straughan brought more valuable points to the club’s tally by finishing third and first in the respective A and B strings.
Smith clocked 4m09.5s, and Straughan posted a time of 4m18.6s.
Youngsters James Young and Jacob Hopkins competed in the A and B string 400m and 800m for Morpeth Harriers.
Young finished fourth in the A string 400m in 54.6s, and he was an excellent second in the A string 800m in 2m01.6s.
Hopkins performed well to finish third in the B string 400m and he was an excellent second in the B string 800m in 2m15.5s.
In the Men’s 4x100m Relay, Jack Hepple, Daniel Moore, Thomas Straughan and David Thomas combined well to bring Morpeth Harriers home in second place in 46.0s, only losing out by half a second to Middlesbrough Mandale.
Kirsty Lang, who two days beforehand had been giving support to younger brother Ruaridh as he won a Bronze medal in the Junior Boys’ Discus at the English Schools Track and Field Championships, was one of the best performers in Morpeth’s Women’s efforts towards their points tally.
Running in her first ever 400m Hurdles event, she clocked a time of 74.5s, which earned her an excellent second place.
Also in her very first 100m Hurdles she finished third in 18.1s.
Showing plenty of competitive appetite, she set new figures of 18.91m when finishing fourth in the B string Discus, and in one of her specialist events, the High Jump, she cleared 1.40m for second place.
Another hard-working Morpeth Harriers competitor in the Women’s events was Vicky Gibbs, who finished third in her first ever 1500m in the A race in 5m28.1s, and second in the 3000m A race in 11m04.2s.
Respective winning B race efforts came from Charlotte Jewell (5m34.2s), and Alison Brown (12m25.7s).
Megan Deakin and Naomi Arkle, one of Morpeth Harriers’ youngest ever senior sprints pairing, both performed well against older opposition.
Deakin finished fifth in the A string 100m in 13.3s and equalled her personal best of 27.2s in the 200m A race slightly later.
Meanwhile Arkle, in only her second ever outing in the Senior league, did well to finish third respectively in the B string events in 13.3s and 27.3s.
Again in the Women’s 400m and 800m events it was younger athletes Amber Cormack and Lauren Eadington who flew the Morpeth Harriers flag.
In the 400m A race Amber clocked 64.0s for sixth place, and Lauren in her first ever 400m event clocked 71.2s in the B race for fifth place.
The pairing clocked 2m27.5s and 2m42.3s in the 800m, respectively finishing fifth and third.
In the throws, Claire Reid finished second in the A string Discus (28.42m), fifth in the A string Javelin (19.29m), and sixth in the A string Hammer (27.75m).
Naomi Arkle gained a personal best of 7.04m for fourth place in the Shot.
The Women’s 4 x 400m Relay saw Morpeth Harriers finish a close third in 4m27.1s, courtesy of Amber Cormack, Lauren Eadington, Alison Brown an Megan Deakin.
In the Women’s 4 x 100m, Morpeth finished fourth in 56.2s, courtesy of Megan Deakin, Kirsty Lang, Lauren Eadington, and Amber Cormack.
On reflection the result for Morpeth Harriers was well achieved by the athletes who competed on the day, however there was some disappointment in the non show by some of the clubs athletes, after the promised commitment to travel.
A good committed club turn out at all costs in the final match at Middlesbrough in August is now certainly required if current league status is to be preserved.
Result (subject to further scrutiny): 1st City of York 393pts, 2nd Gateshead Harriers 363pts, 3rd Skyrac 338pts, 4th Middlesbrough Mandale 289pts, 5th Morpeth Harriers 287pts, 6th North Shields Poly 211pts.