Team and individual successes for Morpeth runners in league

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The athletes from Morpeth Harriers were once again among the headline performers at the fourth Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League fixture of the 2018/19 campaign, held at Aykley Heads, Durham City, on Saturday.

Team wins by their Senior Men, Senior Women, U17 Men, and U13 Boys, along with two individual victories, plus three fastest times, very clearly indicated the club’s dominance in the programme of 10 events.

In his first Harrier League outing for the Senior Men, U20 athlete Taylor Glover, running from the slow pack, quickly got away from the rest, and was never caught as he cut a lonely force throughout the three long laps, to eventually win untroubled by a comfortable 112-second margin from his closest rival Graham Crammond, of North Shields Poly.

Glover, who eventually emerged as the third fastest overall performer in the 570-strong finishing field, led Morpeth Harriers Senior Men to an emphatic team victory from Durham City, with further club support coming from excellent performances by Thomas Straughan (4th) (medium pack), Kieran Hedley (6th) (fast pack), Jordan Scott (7th) (fast pack), Andrew Lawrence (15th) (fast pack), and Andrew Hebden (28th) (medium pack).

With two fixtures remaining in the league at Thornley in February, and Alnwick in March, a fairly reasonable turnout from the club in those should see Morpeth Harriers Senior Men achieve Championship status in Division 1.

An excellent turnout of 11 athletes, who all finished in the top half of the 416 finishers in the two full-lap Senior Women’s event, saw Morpeth Harriers finish as on the day winners in Division 1 by two league points ahead of second placed Heaton Harriers.

As a result of this, cumulatively they now rise one place to fifth at the exclusion of Sunderland Harriers, who could only finish sixth on the day.

Morpeth Harriers were led home by Emma Holt, who finished an excellent sixth from the fast pack, and was well clear as second fastest overall behind Wallsend’s Danielle Hodgkinson, who finished second behind Gateshead Harrier Brigid Dennehy by a 56-second margin.

Second home for Morpeth in eighth place was Catriona MacDonald, followed by Veteran Woman Gemma Floyd, 30th overall.Completing the Morpeth scoring four was Rachelle Falloon, currently leading the Senior Women’s Grand Prix, who finished 42nd.

By being on-the-day winners in their two medium-lap event, Morpeth Harriers slightly extended their lead at the top of the U17 Men’s table.

They were led home by Ross Charlton, who produced an excellent performance in finishing second overall. He very nearly won the race outright, finishing a mere five seconds adrift of Blaydon’s Tom Rutherford.

Joining Charlton in the Morpeth team success were Daniel Melling (fast pack), who was equal second fastest with Will Bellamy, of Houghton Harriers, and Tom Balsdon, who finished fifth.

Morpeth U13 Boys maintain a very healthy six-point lead at the head of their league table over Durham City following their excellent victory on Saturday. They were led home by Ryan Davies, who finished third overall, just ahead of club colleague Bertie Marr, with four seconds dividing them. Completing the winning Morpeth trio was Joe Dixon, who finished an excellent eighth.

In the individual Grand Prix, Marr and Davies are currently in second and fourth place respectively.

By winning yet again individually, Morpeth Harrier Holly Peck maintained her lead in the combined U17/U20 Women’s Harrier League Grand Prix rankings and also helped her club to maintain their lead in the team League table, albeit by three points over closest rivals Gosforth Harriers, who only beat them on countback on the day, when finishing on an equal point count.

Running from the fast pack, Peck just managed to pass club colleague Kay Errington in the final stages, as she won by a mere 27 seconds.

Errington, meanwhile, just managed to hold on for second place, ahead of Houghton’s Eva Hardie, and the Morpeth count was completed by Lauren Cummings, just outsprinting club colleague Lily Heaton to finish 21st from the slow pack.

Dylan Davies led Morpeth Harriers home in the U15 Boys one-lap event, where they finished second on the day to Tynedale Harriers.

Davies finished sixth, just one place and eight seconds ahead of club colleague Euan Duffin, both running from the fast pack. The Morpeth scoring count was completed by Ben Waterfield, who finished 13th from the fast pack.

The U15 Girls single-lap event saw Morpeth Harrier Abbi Leiper produce an excellent run from the fast pack to finish in 11th place, and she led Morpeth Harriers to seventh place on the day, with further scoring counts coming from Rebecca Bradley (29th) (fast pack), and Rhiannon Hedley (33rd) (fast pack).

Unfortunately, their on-the-day placing sees them drop to fourth place cumulatively, behind leaders North Shields Poly and second and third-placed Birtley AC and Gateshead Harriers.

The club had one U13 Girl facing the starter in their single-lap event. Molly Baker finished 27th from the slow pack.

In the non-scoring U11 Boys event, Morpeth’s Oliver Tomlinson continued his excellent competitive progress, by finishing fourth.

Daniel Reynolds, on his competitive debut for the club, finished 21st.

In the U11 Girls event, Keira Peck, younger sister of Holly, finished 18th.

l Full results of this and other events featuring Morpeth Harriers can be found on the club’s official website.