Morpeth Harriers return to cross country action

After over a year and a half out, cross country action resumed at the North East Harrier League fixture at Wrekenton on Saturday afternoon with well over 1300 runners taking part across the age ranges.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 12:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 12:40 pm
Liam Roarty on his way to victory in the men's race at Wreckenton.

Morpeth’s sole representative in the U11 race was Euan Line who, in his first Harrier League outing, was sadly misdirected when well placed and so ended up well down the field. Nicholas Surtees-Brown of Elswick recorded an impressive 6 minutes 15 seconds for the boys and Nell Graham of Birtley an even more impressive 6m 13s for the girls.

While it was disappointing post lockdown to see no U13 Boys in action for the club, the U13 girls built on their decent team performance at the Northern Road Relays last week to place as third team, behind North Shields Polytechnic Harriers and Durham City.

First home for Morpeth was Emma Tomlinson, 8th in 11:04 behind race winner Katy Otterson of NSP in 9:52. Molly Roche was 12th in 11:21 and Charlotte Marshall completed the scoring count, 14th in 11:38.

There were impressive individual and team performances in the following U/15 and U/17 boys races. Improving on team medals at Redcar last week, both age groups saw Morpeth take team wins and there were a number of individual medals won also.

A keenly contested U/15 race saw NSP’s Ben Broats win in a time of 8:43 over the two mile distance with Morpeth’s Joe Close 2nd some nine seconds behind and colleague Olly Calvert 3rd only one second behind. Emma’s brother Olly finished the scoring count, 5th in 9:01. The three to count team took a narrow victory over NSP by two points.

It was a more emphatic victory in the U/17 boys race where Bertie Marr raced to victory in 17:16 with team mates Ryan Davies 2nd in 17:24, Matt Walton 4th in 17:36, Liam Roche 5th in 18:02 and James Tilley 7th in 18:23. The margin of team victory to the next placed club, Durham City, was a resounding 29 points.

The combined U/17 girls and U/20 women’s race was won by Holly Waugh of NSP in 19:25 with Millie Breese not far behind for the club in 20:06. Kate Gaffing was 10th in 23:01.

Morpeth’s Cat Macdonald produced the fastest women’s time of the day, an impressive 28:49, when coming home in 16th from Fast Pack with a five minute handicap, and veteran Jane Hodgson, no stranger to the course, ran the day’s 2nd fastest time of 29:11 in 21st, again from Fast. The team count of four was made up by Gwenda Cavill, 76th in 31:26 and Robyn Bennett, in her first competitive outing for over two years, 116th in 32:45.

The Men took individual and team wins, Liam Roarty taking the tape in 32:57 with Houghton AC’s Chris Coulson 2nd I in 33:40 and South Shields Harrier Mark Hodgson 3rd, both also from Slow. Second for Morpeth was Ali Douglas, 12th from Medium in 35:53, and O50 vet Lee Bennett ensured his promotion once again from Slow Pack with 20th in 36:57 as third counter.

The team’s final scoring count was 65 points, well ahead of rivals Sunderland 108 and Tyne Bridge 119.