Young Harriers show their class

From left, Morpeth Harriers Terry Wall; Alan Shepherd; Ian Hudspith; Paul Waterston; Phil Walker; George Hall; Chris Waugh and Neil Wilkinson with their Bronze medals after Saturday's British Masters Relays.
From left, Morpeth Harriers Terry Wall; Alan Shepherd; Ian Hudspith; Paul Waterston; Phil Walker; George Hall; Chris Waugh and Neil Wilkinson with their Bronze medals after Saturday's British Masters Relays.

ANOTHER excellent across-the-board effort by their athletes and respective team managers saw Morpeth Harriers pull off a superb victory in their second round Northern Young Athletes Division One match, writes George Patterson.

In a high-scoring match at Monkton Stadium in Jarrow on Sunday, they once again scored over 400 points on the day and, after two matches, are certainly among the contenders for promotion at the end of the season.

The determined squad produced 29 event winners on the day and that included six of the nine relay events on offer on top of some excellent track and field efforts.

In the Under 13 age groups, Carrie Collins got matters off to a superb start by taking victory in the Girls’ 70m hurdles in 15.5s, and she was well backed up by newcomer Tegan-Jade Dryden, who finished second in 17.4s.

Collins also went on to claim a victory in the high jump (1.15m), in addition to finishing second in the 150m in 25.2s, and was part of a Morpeth Under 13 Girls’ 4x100m squad that finished second in 67.8s.

Another excellent Under 13 Girls’ result came in the 800m, where Olivia Priest secured a superb victory in 3m10.2s. Harriet Grace backed her up well when coming home second in 3m21.0s.

Added to this Lizzie Rank was a good second in the shot with 4.74m.

In the Under 13 Boys’ events, Jacob Hopkins continued his excellent improvement when winning the 800m in 2m37.1s.

He added an excellent second in the 200m (33.4s), and was part of a Morpeth 4x100m victory in 64.6s.

Other wins in the Under 13 Boys’ events came from Philip Kirby in the 1500m (5m47.0s) and Matthew Hogan (5.28m) in the shot.

Daniel Bell and Ewan Jones also performed well in the 75m hurdles when finishing second in the A and B sections in 15.8s, and 17.3s, and the pair went on to finish second and third respectively in the 100m – with 15.3s being recorded to both of them by the judges.

Morpeth Harriers had some superb results from their Under 15 athletes, with Chelsea Morrison once again well to the fore with victories in the discus (15.0m) and shot (8.22m), plus a second in the javelin (10.34m) to her winning clubmate Beth Wooley, who threw 11.58m to secure victory.

Wooley also secured victory in the long jump with 3.41m and clubmate Lucy Pargeter played her part to an excellent Morpeth result by finishing third with 3.17m.

Another good Under 15 Girl performer was Kirsty Lang, who finished second in the 100m in 15.4s and second in the high jump with a clearance of 1.30m.

Molly McDonald also performed well to finish second to Birtley’s North East Champion Lydia Turner in the 800m in 2m51.2s.

There were some excellent efforts from Morpeth Harriers’ Under 15 Boys’ section.

This included two wins by Myles Foggon in the 400m (60.5s) and High Jump (1.55m).

Philip Winkler and Ryan Green clearly dominated the 800m by finishing first and second in respective times of 2m19.8s and 2m23.9s.

Joe Elder also secured a victory in the 1500m (4m57.7s), and added a second in the long jump (3.65m) to his tally for good measure.

Morpeth Harriers also enjoyed winning success in the two Under 15 Boys’ relays.

On to the Under 17 age group efforts, and in the Women’s events Morpeth Harriers’ best performer was Millie Davidson, who provided their only victory in the javelin with a best of 13.25m.

Clubmate Greta Deans finished second with 7.35m.

Davidson also placed third in both the long jump and shot events with best efforts of 3.26m and 5.00m respectively.

Deans provided Morpeth with their best Under 17 female track performance by finishing second in the 300m in 52.9s.

There was an excellent degree of commitment however by the Under 17 Men, who between them managed five track victories and three in the field events.

Two of the latter belonged to Ryan Simpson – who won both the Long and Triple Jumps with bests of 5.37m and 10.64m respectively.

Daniel Smith won the shot with 8.09m, and went on to get two second placings in the 400m hurdles (78.8s) and 100m hurdles in 21.3s.

Philip Caldwell supported his colleagues well to finish second in the high jump with 1.40m.

Caldwell also enjoyed winning success in the 1500m steeplechase and 400m events with clockings of 5m02.3s, and 71.1s.

Joe Robertshaw secured an excellent win in the 200m in 24.9s and got decent support from Jack Hepple, who on returning to action from a second broken leg, finished third as first B competitor in 25.5s.

Clocking exactly the same time as the winner Christopher Lillico from Alnwick and Blyth, Robertshaw just missed out on the nod with his clocking of 12.2s in the 100m.

He was backed up well in this by Henrick Paulsen, who finished as first B competitor in 13.5s.

Sam Hancox added to his first ever track win in the first match by winning the 3000m in 11m12.7s.

Morpeth Harriers won the Under 17 Men’s 4x400m relay in 4m18.0s, and finished second in the 4x100m in 52.2s.

The squad face a very hard battle in their third round match, which is their home fixture, again at Monkton Stadium on Sunday June, 5. They will face stiff opposition from a very much in-form Blaydon and Elswick as well as Chester-le-Street.

l The 400-mile round trip that was made by Morpeth Harriers’ Veteran Men to Birmingham on Saturday was rewarded with a hard-won and richly-deserved bronze medal in the British Masters Relay Championships held in the grounds of Sutton Park, writes Peter Scaife.

Facing stiff competition against 81 other teams from all over the country in the most keenly contested eight leg, 35-45 category, Men’s Captain Paul Waterston got the team off to a solid start when he came home in 15th place on Leg One in a time of 16m08s (42nd fastest overall leg of the day).

Phil Walker (16m28s) moved the team up to eighth place and just over a minute off the early leaders Bath and Wells, but the Harriers’ challenge stalled when last minute replacement Chris Waugh, who was stepping down an age category, struggled with acute breathing difficulties and was at one point asked to leave the course by marshals.

Fortunately, he was able to tough it out and get going again, completing his leg in a time of 20m 27s.

With the team having slipped to 31st at this point, clearly something special was needed and it came in the shape of a stupendous run by Ian Hudspith.

In great shape after recent runs at Elswick and Manchester he took the race by the scruff of the neck, producing a record-breaking leg of 14m08s and by so doing gained a walloping 22 places to move the team back into contention in ninth.

On a breezy day, his run over the undulating course broke the record by three seconds and he was over a minute faster than any other runner.

George Hall kept the challenge on track on Leg Five with a very respectable 16m 47s, coming home in tenth place, and he was followed by another Harrier in fine form, Neil Wilkinson.

He quickly got the bit between his teeth and by running 15m42s (the 14th fastest time of the day), moved Morpeth up to fifth place.

With the team sensing that they were still within distance of a medal as many clubs appeared to frontload their runners, a seventh leg of 16m46s by Alan Shepherd – whose recent running had been entirely confined to a treadmill on an oil rig in the middle of the North Sea – confirmed their growing belief.

He moved the team up into third place and a medal position, with Highgate, Bath and Wells and past winners Herne Hill in very close attendance.

It was up to Terry Wall to keep in front of the chasing pack on the final leg, and despite having a shortage of recent races under his belt he delivered in fine style.

He came home to the acclaim of his colleagues in a time of 15m45s (19th fastest of the day) ahead of nearest chasers Highgate.

As sole North East representatives in the competition, the team’s success was made all the sweeter and Waterston’s hard work in assembling and keeping his squad together despite last minute withdrawals deserves special praise.

l Three Morpeth Harriers travelled to compete in events outside the region during the past week.

On Thursday, May 19, Ian Harding and Gary Jones took part in the Helensburgh 10k near Glasgow.

Harding finished fifth in 31m21s and Jones finished 13th in 34m03s.

Graeme Leathard journeyed to Doncaster on Wednesday, May 18, and finished 102nd in the Askern 10k, as well as 11th Over 45 Veteran Man, in a time of 41m51s.

l When finishing 11th in 52m45s, Morpeth Harrier Marie Drosdowicz was first Over 45 Women’s competitor in Sunday’s annual Pier to Pier race between South Shields and Sunderland.

Another good Morpeth performer was Mike Winter, who finished in 39th place and was tenth Over 40 Veteran Man in 47m57s.

Other Morpeth Harriers finishers were: Eric Adams (126th) 53m12s, Susan Smith (375th) 61m05s, Simon Lund (389th) 61m34s, Peter Winter (505th) 65m02s, and Jane Blackett (622nd) 69m47s.