The second round North East Youth Development Division One fixture, held at Gateshead International Stadium on Sunday, May 17, saw Morpeth Harriers claim their second win in this season’s competition, writes George Patterson.
It puts them well in line for regaining their hold on the title that they first won two years ago, the league’s inauguration year.
In the act of their victory, five league records were broken, two of them by the same athlete, Ruaridh Lang, who won both the discus and shot in the U15 Boys’ age group events.
He produced personal bests of 39.04m and 11.74m respectively, which now places him most highly in the national rankings.
In the U17 Men’s 1500m, Morpeth Harrier Scott Beattie clocked an impressive 4m11.3s, which although just outside his best, nevertheless broke the league record.
Kieran Hedley set new figures of 4m20.3s, when easily taking the B-race, to mark one of several point winning double victories on the day for the club.
Not to be outdone, Morpeth Harriers could also be well pleased to see two of the five league records being achieved by their female side of the squad.
In the U13 Girls’ section, Holly Peck had an excellent day, capped by her superb 1500m win, which saw her clock 5m18.7s, a league record. This was well backed up by Rhiannon Hedley’s B-race win in 5m36.4s.
Morpeth Harriers were most rampant in their U15 Girls’ field performances, which yielded no less than four double victories in the throw events, among them a league record set by Bobbie Griffiths in the javelin with her excellent best of 35.17m. Griffiths also enjoyed two other A-string victories in the discus (27.56m) and hammer (21.42m).
Supporting Griffiths in the javelin double victory was Ellie Burt, who, as a relative newcomer, achieved an excellent best of 23.89m.
Burt also supported Griffiths in a superb double victory in the hammer, achieving a distance of 20.81m.
She also had her own moment of individual glory, when she won the U15 Girls’ A-string shot, with a best effort of 9.04m, and was well backed up for another Morpeth double victory by yet another newcomer Lottie Hume, who produced a best of 8.38m. Hume had also achieved a B-string win in the discus, in support of the aforementioned Griffiths with her best of 18.43m.
The U15 Girls’ high jump saw respective clearances of 1.40m and 1.30m, achieve second places for Jessica Young-Rogers and Harriet Priest of Morpeth Harriers.
Young-Rogers also enjoyed life on the track, where she won the U15 Girls’ 200m in 28.3s, and finished second in the 100m in 13.4s.
She was well backed up in the 200m by Nadine Arkle, who confirmed yet another Morpeth double victory, by winning the B-race in 29.4s.
It was refreshing to see Arkle back in somewhere near her better form, after experiencing some early season fitness problems, that she now appears to be putting behind her.
In the 100m, Hannah Brown provided the B-race support by finishing second in 13.9s. Brown also finished second in the A-string 75m hurdles in 12.0s, just being pipped on the line by New Marske’s Amy Carter.
Harriet Priest superbly won the B-race for Morpeth, clocking a time of 12.7s, and achieving her first ever race win into the bargain. Priest also finished fourth in the 800m in 2m47.7s.
In the U15 Girls’ 1500m, Ellie Coxon finished fifth in the A-race in 5m48.1s, and Gracie Hufton finished fourth in the B-race in 5m56.2s. Ailsa Jones finished fourth in the U15 Girls’ 300m in 48.3s.
An excellent Morpeth U13 Girls’ result came in the shot, where Elena Sanders won the A-string with her best putt of 7.17m and Emma Lawson won the B-string with 5.89m.
On the track, excellent runs by Lily Heaton and Nicole Teasdale saw them finish fourth respectively in the A and B events of the U13 Girls’ 800m, in 2m43.5s and 2m57.9s.
In the U13 Girls’ 100m, distance specialist Holly Peck furthered her sprinting talents by finishing fifth in the A-race in a new best 15.0s, and she was truly well backed up by Amy Lott’s B-race performance of 15.1s, which gave her third place.
In the U13 Girls’ long jump, Kirsty Davison produced a best of 3.67m, to take third place in the A-string.
Breeanne Moody’s 2.81m in the B-string gave her third place.
Naomi Arkle and Shannon Docherty proved to be a formidable pairing in the U17 Women’s sprint events.
While Docherty won both the 100m and 200m B-races, with impressive clockings of 14.2s and 30.5s respectively, Arkle managed two second places in 13.7s and 28.6s.
Abby Sheldon was a good second in the 1500m in 5m38.6s, to the very strong Elli Barnbrook of New Marske.
Georgia Priest completed a good day for her family by finishing second in the shot with 8.45m.
Morpeth Harrier Sean O’Hara, repeated his performance from the previous Wednesday at Jarrow, when he won the U17 Men’s 100m A-race, equalling his pb of 11.6s.
Jake Jardine was a very close second in a tight finish in the B-race, in a time of 11.8s. Jardine was also second in the later run 200m in 24.6s, where he was well supported by Mitch Green’s superb B-race victory in 24.8s.
Green, the younger brother of Ryan, had a great day also in the field for Morpeth Harriers, when he won both the U17 Men’s javelin and pole vault events with a throw of 25.39m, and a clearance of 2.50m.
In his first ever run over 400m, Morpeth Harrier Jamie Duguid clocked 63.3s, to finish fourth in the A-race. Clubmate Adam Shewry took the B-race in 65.6s.
Shewry and Duguid also teamed up in the 800m, with the former finishing third in the A-race in 2m20.9s and the latter taking the B-race in 2m22.2s.
David Thomas finished second for Morpeth in the long jump with 5.76m, with Jake Jardine taking the B-event with his best effort of 5.35m. Thomas also finished second in the triple jump with 10.65m.
In the U17 men’s discus and shot events, Morpeth’s Charlie Chisholm finished second and first respectively, with bests of 28.10m and 7.70m.
The best result for Morpeth Harriers U15 Boys’ came from the track, when Joe Dowd won the 800m A-race in 2m18.0s, and Ross Charlton set new figures of 2m26.3s when taking the B-race.
There was also a good result for the club in the 1500m, when Taylor Glover finished second in the A-race in 4m29.7s and Alex Cunningham did likewise in the B-race in 5m06.8s.
Joe Dowd finished third in the A-string 300m in 40.7s, and Elliot Cowie performed well to take the B-race in 41.5s.
Cowie had earlier finished fourth in the 100m A-race in 12.8s, backed up by Patrick Darroch’s B-race effort of 14.0s, which saw him finish fourth.
In the U15 Boys’ long jump, Morpeth’s Elliot Cowie finished third in the A-string with his best effort of 4.76m, and he was well backed up by the B-string performance of Sam Yates, whose 4.74m gave him a win.
Jake Lloyd was an excellent third in the discus B-string with his best effort of 13.69m, backing up Ruaridh Lang’s league record throw in the A-string. Lloyd also cleared 1.25m for fourth in the high jump.
In the U13 Boys’ events, the best result for Morpeth Harriers on the track came in the 1500m, where Andrew Hudspith finished second in the A-race in 5m20.7s and Dylan Davies won the B-race in 5m24.7s.
The pairing of Thomas Cunningham and Findlay Deakin in the 800m was also successful, with Cunningham finishing a close fourth in the A-race in 2m38.3s and Deakin winning the B-race in an excellent 2m41.5s.
In the U13 Boys’ sprints, Matthew Ash finished fourth in the 100m A-race in 14.3s, with good B-race support coming from Nathan Hume, who was second in 14.2s.
Bobby Stone finished sixth in the 200m A-race in 31.9s, and Matthew Hume won the B-race in 30.4s.
In the field events, Bobby Stone proved himself worthy, when he finished second in the A-string long jump with 4.09m, with Daniel Lloyd backing him up in the B-string, finishing fourth with 3.52m.
There was an excellent double victory for Morpeth Harriers in the high jump, courtesy of Ben Waterfield, who cleared 1.20m in the A-string, and Matthew Ash, who cleared 1.15m in the B-string.
In the javelin A-string, Daniel Dowd, younger brother of Joe, threw 20.38m for third spot, and Reece Garrett’s 12.21m, got him second in the A-string.
Findlay Deakin putted an excellent 6.64m to finish second in the A-string shot, and Daniel Dowd achieved a best of 5.09m for second in the B-string.
Morpeth Harriers achieved 4x100m relay wins in the U15 Girls’ (54.6s) and U17 Men’s sections (48.4s), and were third in both the U13 Boys’ (59.6s), and U15 Boys’ (52.7s) and their U13 Girls’ finished fifth in 62.9s.
In addition to the scoring competitors, Morpeth Harriers had a superb turnout of athletes who took part in non-scoring events, with some notable performers among them, who may also be drafted into the main squad in the remaining two fixtures.
Thanks are due to acting Morpeth Harriers team managers Hans Paulsen and Steve Garrett (Boys) and Janet Peck (Girls), for stepping in for Paddy Paulsen and Mark Brown respectively, who were unable to be in attendance, to ensure that the day went smoothly for their hard-working squads.
Final match results (subject to further scrutiny): 1 Morpeth Harriers 711.5pts; 2 Blaydon Harriers 679; 3 New Marske 578.5; 4 Tynedale Harriers 534.5; 5 Gateshead Harriers 514.5; 6 Harrogate Harriers 513.
A very personal regional battle for supremacy, proved to be a major highlight for club athletics enthusiasts who were in attendance at the annual British Masters Road Relays, held on Saturday, May 16, at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham.
That battle was between top North East clubs Morpeth Harriers and Sunderland Harriers in the Over 35, six-stage event.
The Wearsiders very soon had the upper hand and by some margin, as their first-leg runner Kevin Jeffress came home in ninth place in 15m 31s, while Morpeth’s first-leg runner Paul Waterston finished 28th in 16m 45s.
Neil Wilkinson on second leg for Morpeth improved the squad’s position by two places when he got round in 16m49s. However, Sunderland, courtesy of Steve McMahon, had improved their placing to fourth and had furthered their time margin over Morpeth to two minutes.
While Sunderland held fourth place leading to the halfway point at the end of leg three, courtesy of Ian Dixon, Morpeth did improve their placing by five to 21st, courtesy of Tony Lewis, who clocked 16m 59s. However, the Wearsiders’ lead over Morpeth had now increased to around 2mins 20secs.
That was all about to change, however, on fourth leg, courtesy of Ian Hudspith for Morpeth.
Ian not only clocked the fastest time of the day of 14m31s, he also destroyed Sunderland’s margin, when he came home two places ahead of their fourth-leg runner Noel Hitchcock, who had slipped from fourth to 10th.
Hudspith had climbed 13 places and now had a six second lead over the Wearsiders and was only 14 seconds adrift of bronze medals as he handed over to fifth leg runner Rob Hancox.
While Hancox did drop one place on the penultimate fifth leg, he still managed to hold off Sunderland, albeit only by 10 seconds, as he handed over to Morpeth Harriers final-leg runner Mick Thomsen, who was appropriately being chased and challenged by Sunderland Harriers Michael Thompson.
It was certainly a nail-biting run to the finish line for the North East pair and, although there would be no medals for either of them, it was very obvious that it was regional pride that was at stake.
Eventually, Morpeth Harrier Mick Thomsen made it to the finish line first in eighth place, and by the slender margin of nine seconds over Sunderland Harrier Michael Thompson, showing respective total timings of 1hr 39min 05secs and 1hr 39mins 14secs, both around four minutes adrift of silver medal place, which went to Scottish club Ron Hill Cambuslang. The Over 35 Men’s Championship went to Thames Hare and Hounds in 1hr 34mins 49secs.
Forty-three clubs had contested the Over 35 Men’s six-stage relay and Morpeth Harriers finished as third team from the northern region behind Preston and Salford, who finished third and fourth respectively.
Morpeth Harriers also had a team competing in the Over 45 Men’s four-stage relay, which finished 18th of 43 competing clubs in a time of 1hr 12mins 19secs, which was around seven minutes adrift of winners Aldershot.
Competing for Morpeth Harriers were Paul Brown (17m 57s), Phil Walker (17m 36s), Tim Miley (18m 06s) and Gavin Bayne (18m 40s).
Unfortunately, they lost out to Tyne Bridge for regional supremacy, who finished fifth overall, however, Morpeth Harriers were still third from the northern region.
Two athletes from Morpeth Harriers took part in the annual Highgate Harriers Night of 10k Track events, held at the Parliament Hill Athletics Track, on Hampstead Heath in London, on the evening of Saturday, May 16.
Peter Newton the North Eastern Counties 10,000metres champion finished third in the B-race, clocking a season’s best of 30m 20.04s, and Thomas Straughan, who was bronze medallist in the North Eastern Championships, finished 14th in the C-race in a time of 32m 22.78s, which was only a second adrift of his championships time.
In the Loughborough International meeting held on Saturday, May 16, Morpeth Harrier Jonny Taylor won the 3000m in 8m 03.87s.
Two Morpeth Harriers competed in the Inter Counties Mountain Championships, held at Bets-wy-Coed in Wales on Saturday, May 16.
Competing for the county of Herefordshire, Ady Whitwam finished 14th in a time of 49m 04s.
Carl Avery, representing the North East Counties alongside Blackhill’s Jordan Bell, and North Shields Poly’s Ian Twaddle, led the squad home to tenth team place, when finishing 21st in 50m26s.
Andy Wiles and Lewis Timmins competed in the talent-filled BMC Grand Prix meeting held at Stretford on the evening of Saturday, May 16.
Wiles finished sixth behind Cheltenham’s James Brewer (3m 46.25s) in a time of 3m 49.92s, in the 1500m B-race.
Meanwhile, Timmins finished ninth in the 5000m A-race, in a time of 14m 31.05s, behind Hallamshire’s Andy Heyes, who won in 14m 01.30s.
The annual North Eastern Counties Athletics Association Track and Field Championships were held over two days on Saturday and Sunday (May 23 and 24) at Gateshead International Stadium.
During the course of the competition, athletes from Morpeth Harriers collected a total of 27 medals in all. Nine of them were gold, nine were silver and nine were bronze.
A full, detailed report of these and other achievements will appear in next week’s Morpeth Herald.