The 60-plus athletes who turned out for Morpeth Harriers in the second round North East Youth Development Division 1 League fixture at Hexham’s Wentworth Sports Complex last Saturday certainly did themselves and their club proud.
The heavy overnight rain and constant drizzle failed to dampen Morpeth spirits as they comfortably won the match by one of the biggest winning margins achieved in the league since its inaugural year.
The respective efforts across the Morpeth squad, where throwers were willingly tackling some sprint events, and sprinters and some distance specialists were also willing to tackle Jumps or Throws, clearly reflected a strong team spirit.
The U17 Women enjoyed a grand total of twelve event wins plus a 4 x100m Relay.
Jessica Gardiner was once again to the fore, setting a new league record in the Women’s Hammer with a massive 44.21m to very comfortably win the Under 17 competition. Gardiner’s current run of form, spurred the previous week by her Gold Medal victory in the North Eastern Track and Field Championships, also saw her produce a new lifetime best in the Discus competition, which she also won with a best throw of 32.94m. Showing a keen appetite for on the day work, she later threw 20.46m in the Javelin to finish second.
Jess received excellent club support in the corresponding B String events, where Amy Lott won the Hammer with a best throw of 26.76m.
Club newcomer Charlotte Earl marked her debut by winning both the A String Long Jump (4.59m), and Triple Jump (9.97m).
Amy Lott added to her Hammer B String victory, by winning the 80m Hurdles in 12.21s, and she also finished second in the A String 300m Hurdles in 48.97s.
The club’s Under 17 Men, who had a total of twelve athletes in action for them, managed to pull off nine wins, four from the A String and five from their B String.
Distance specialists Ben Waterfield and Dylan Gooding were both A String winners in the 800m and 1500m respectively.
Throwing the heavier Javelin for the first time, Daniel Dowd comfortably won the A String with a best effort of 42.15m.
In the 100m, debutant Jack Kyte clocked 12.49s to take the A race, whilst Morpeth’s other Under 15 Boy A String winner on the track was Sam Parker who won the 80m Hurdles, posting a time of 16.37s.
Equally there was some excellent scoring by the Morpeth Under 15 Boys Field Eventers, their successes including no less than three double victories.
By producing a new personal best throw of 28.72m, Harry Brown won the A String Javelin. Dan Waddington njoyed success by winning the A String Hammer,
Partnering Waddington for Morpeth in the Hammer and Shot Putt events was sprinter Nat Arkle, who also achieved two respective wins. Arkle produced a personal best of 11.53m to comfortably win the A String Shot Putt by around 3.50m.
Morpeth’s small band of eight U15 Girls managed to pull off a total of five wins on the day.
Two Morpeth boys were dominant in the U13 age group events, where a total of sixteen wins were achieved plus the club’s other 4 x 100m Relay win.
In the Under 13 Boys events, Owen Omoigui had three wins. He achieved a new personal best of 13.46s in the A String 100m, and went on to further personal best achievements and victories in the A String Long Jump, with a best effort of 4.41m, then cleared 1.27m to win the A String High Jump, again a personal best performance.
Outstanding in the Under 13 Girls events was Georgia Turner, who for the second meeting in a row secured a hat-trick of A String victories and personal best performances. She threw 16.00m to win the Javelin, putted 6.66m to win the Shot, and completed a super day in the field by throwing 15.27m in the Discus.
Other wins in the U13 girls came from sprinter and hurdler Kaitlyn Waddell, who turned her hand to the High Jump, winning the A String with a new personal best of 1.32m.
The Under 13 Girls triumphed in their 4 x 100m Relay for the second meeting in succession, posting a time of 58.01s.
In contrast, the club’s Senior Men and Women’s Track and Field squad made a disappointing start to their 2019 Northern League Division 2E campaign when they finished fifth of six competing teams in their opening fixture at the re-arranged location of Beckett University in Leeds.
Under 20 Man Matt Waterfield was fastest performer in the Blue Riband 100m and 200m events. In the 100m, Waterfield was selected to run the B Race, which he very clearly won, posting a time of 11.22s. Morpeth were very close to a double victory here, but club colleague Sean O’Hara was just edged out in the A race, where he posted a time of 11.55s.
In the later run 200m, Waterfield competed in the A Race, where his sheer speed excelled to edge out Gateshead’s Josh Errington, posting a personal best of 22.55s, in his first outing in the distance for two seasons. In the B Race, O’Hara was again just edged out for victory, as he finished second in 23.57s.
In terms of workload, Mark Snowball can easily be singled out for special praise, tackling no less than four events, three on the track - two of them over obstacles - plus a field throwing event.