HONOURS GO TO HARROGATE IN OPENING NEYDL FIXTURE
THE belated start to the NEYDL season didn’t deter Harrogate Harriers coming out on top in the Division One contest at Middlesbrough Sports Village.
The Yorkshire outfit brought an extremely-strong squad to Teesside and it was no surprise at the end of the day they were victorious after totalling 805.5 points, over 100 points clear of second-placed North Shields Poly with the combined Darlington/Alerton team holding off Gateshead by two points for third place.
Despite lack of competition for all of the athletes due to Covid it came as a huge surprise the standard of competition from the six-teams taking part with many competitors setting new life-time bests in their events.
One of the eye-catching athletes on show was Harrogate’s William Reid who earned maximum points in the 100 metres hurdles, long jump and triple jump, setting new pbs in all three. He won the hurdles in 14.4secs, the long jump with 6:25 metres and triple jump with 12:31m, the two vertical jumps slotting him into fifth place in the Po10 rankings.
Another Harrogate athlete at the top of her game was Eleanor Colburn who won both the under-17 300m and 800m in new league record times of 40.2s and 2:07.6 respectively, times which sees her lead the way in the country this year.
Other notable under-17 performances included Gateshead’s Grace McDonald who won the hammer competition with a pb throw of 45:32m which sees her ranked sixth in Po10 and she also claimed victory with a throw of 28:05m in the discus.
The under-17 women’s 300m hurdles was won by Harrogate’s Therese Tolan in 48.8s with team-mate Minnie Axon winning the B-string contest in 49.4s. An exciting under-17 men’s 200m resulted in a win for Harrogate’s Jacob Hockin in 23.5s with Liam Townson (Gateshead) finishing runner-up in 23.9s and Morpeth’s Evan Logan finishing in third place in 24.0s. The B race went to Gateshead’s Joshua Hickson in 24.0s, all four athletes setting new pbs.
The outstanding performance among the under-15 competition came in the boys hammer event where Gateshead’s Joseph Perkins, in his first outing of the season, produced a throw of 42:62m, a distance which places him second in the Po10 rankings, Joseph also claimed victory in the shot with a put of 10:04m. In the girls hammer contest North Shields Poly’s Kaitlyn Waddell posted a good pb with a winning throw of 37:87m, a distance which moves her into sixth place in the rankings.
Another field event performance of note came in the javelin with Gateshead’s Phoebe Hall producing a throw of 31:24m.
On the track there were good successes for Harry Lyons (Darl/Aller) who won the 1,500m in 4:31.2; Sadie Parker (Blyth/Alnwick) who triumphed in the 300m in 44.1s; Zara Jones (Darl/Aller) recorded 2:26.5 to win the 800m – Lauren Creaby (Blyth/Alnwick) was second in 2:27.4 – and Hannah Lott (North Shields Poly) who won the 75m hurdles in 12.2s.
Amongst the under-13 competitions, Morpeth’s Daniel Scott won the 1,500m in his first venture over the distance and posted a superb 4:45.0 which sees him in fourth place in the current rankings. North Shields Poly’s Martha French won the 200m in 29.3s while Gateshead’s Skye Marshall produced a discus/javelin winning double with throws of 16:59m and 23:35m respectively.
MATCH RESULT: 1 Harrogate 805.5pts; 2 North Shields Poly 693; 3 Darlington/Allerton 532; 4 Gateshead 530; 5 Morpeth 522; 6 Blyth/Alnwick 318.5.
PERKINS SHOWS HE IS NO SLOUCH
ENGLISH National Cross-Country bronze medallist Chris Perkins stepped down in distance to help his team to victory in the NEYDL Division Two North fixture at the recently revamped Churchill Playing Fields.
Competing for the combined Birtley/Tyne Bridge squad Perkins, after taking maximum points in the 800m where he posted another sub 2 performance, he lined up in the 400m later in the day where, in his first-ever outing over the distance, he stopped the clock at an impressive 52.9secs, a time which places him in the top 20 rankings.
Perkins’ wasn’t the only under-17 to claim a pb with team-mate Rowan Mason winning the long jump with 5:55m while Tynedale’s Billy Murphy winged the javelin out to 39:15m. There was a sprint double for Murphy’s club-mate Ben Brunton who won the 100m and 200m in 12.5s and 24.8s respectively. Amongst the under-17 women there were impressive performances from the Jarrow/Phoenix duo Lexi Brown and Niamh Kemp Lexi winning the long jump (4:63m) and the high jump (1:49m) while Niamh came out on top in the javelin (24:57m).
In the under-15 section Tynedale’s Will Ainsley was impressive in winning the 80m hurdles (13.6s) while there was a double success for Luke Foster (Jarrow/Phoenix), winning the 300m in 43.3s and the long jump with a leap of 4:23m.
Amongst the girls Gosforth’s Hannah Wightman won both the 200m (29.1s) and the 800m (2:23.0). There was also a double for Grace Arthur (Jarrow/Phoenix) in winning the long jump (4:27m) and high jump (1:46m). Another athlete winning two events was Blaydon’s Sky Lewis who won the
hammer (19:47m) and discus (21:44m), her discus result moving her into the Po10 top 20.
In the under-13 age group sprint honours were shared with Blaydon’s Ellie Morley (14.4s) relegating Jarrow/Phoenix’s April McAuley-Zechner (14.9s) into second place. However, the placings were reversed in the 200m with April winning (30.2s) and Ellie finishing runner-up in 30.6s.
Amongst the field events there was a double for Phoebe Kirtley (South Shields/Elswick), Phoebe winning the javelin (16:33m) and the discus (10:54m).
MATCH RESULT: 1 Birtley/Tyne Bridge 557pts; 2 Blaydon 517; 3 Jarrow/Phoenix 481; 4 South Shields/Elswick 456; 5 Gosforth 258; 6 Tynedale 180.
OFOR IMPRESSES WITH LEADING PERFORMANCE
MIDDLESBROUGH AC Mandale’s Whitney Ofor turned in an impressive 100 metres to help her club take the honours in the NEYDL Division Two South fixture at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium.
The Teessider, with only one 100m outing to her name, a wind-assisted 13.85s at Darlington last month, beat off the opposition in fine style to record a sensational 13.2s to set Middlesbrough on the road to victory.
In the same age group, Taylor Jet-Miller (Chester-le-St/Durham) produced a huge pb of 21:35m to win the javelin while team-mate William Jardine continued his good run of form to win the 800m in 2:24.9.
In the under-15 section there was a sprint double for Middlesbrough’s Finlay Maynard, Finlay winning the short sprint in 12.4s and the 200m in 25.7s while team-mate Christy O’Hare triumphed in the 800m, his 2:10.9 placing him inside the top 20 in the current rankings.
Amongst the girls New Marske’s Georgia Richmond had a busy afternoon but all worthwhile as she scored maximum points in the 200m (27.8s), 75m hurdles (12.0s) and the long jump which she won with a leap of 4:76m. The 1,500m was won by Charlotte Dillon (Chester-le-St/Durham) in 4:47.8.
Middlesbrough’s Tom Maynard was also a treble winner, Tom scoring maximum points in the 100m (11.8s), 200m (24.2s) and 400m (57.3s). Amongst the women there was a double success for Molly Thrower who won the 100m (13.1s) and the high jump (1:49m).
MATCH RESULT: 1 Middlesbrough AC (Mandale) 459pts; 2 New Marske 421; 3 Chester-le-Street/Durham City 387; 4 Houghton 298; 5= Derwentside/Crook and Richmond and Zetland 249.
Div 2 South match photos courtesey of Mike Nixon
*THANKS to all the officials and volunteers for making the three fixtures a huge success
THE second of a series of Track and Field fixtures hosted by the North Eastern Counties AA, the first on Teesside, proved a resounding success with athletes and officials enjoying the occasion despite Covid restrictions still being in place.
Two under-11 competitions were introduced into the programme – 75m and standing long jump, which, hopefully, will see those young competitors eager to make their mark in years to come.
A number of hurdles events opened the proceedings and it certainly proved a bonus for those who lined up with all but one of the 30 athletes setting new lifetime best times. Unfortunately, many of sprint hurdlers had the advantage of a strong breeze however, that does not take away the fact that they ran quicker than ever before. In the 400m hurdles, Gateshead junior international Jason Nicholson opened his season account with a new pb of 52.02secs, a time which sees him in third place in the Po10 rankings while Mia Liddell, also of Gateshead, ran 66.17s to be ranked number four at under-20 level.
A series of 100m races followed on from the hurdles events and here again the speed merchants took advantage of the blustery conditions, which resulted in over 60 new pbs. Seeded in race six Blyth’s Abigail Huntly certainly didn’t disappoint by posting a superb 14.06s in the under-13 age group. The fastest under-15 girl on view was also a Blyth athlete, Millie Wilkinson, who posted 12.68s which consolidates her top 10 place in the current listings. At under-17 level Gateshead pair Evie Harrison and Joel Brown-King were in good form posting 12.29s and 11.30s respectively, with Evie’s time the third quickest in the UK this year. Gateshead sprinters are certainly at the top of their game in early-season competition as was shown not just in the younger age groups but in the contests for more-seasoned athletes. That came through loud and clear as Joy Eze stopped the clock at 11.61s and Philippa Ellis recording 12.23 in the under-20 age group, which has Joy at number two with Philippa, after her hurdles’ success earlier, now in the top 10. In the last of the official 100m races victory went to Scott Hall in 10.96s who got the verdict over Sunderland’s Jordan Beavers (11.04s) with another Gateshead athlete, Matthew Lumb (u-20) in third place in 11.11s. However, thanks to the officials’ generosity, a race was organised for athletes who earlier had been disqualified due to a faulty start and Josh McKeown (Gateshead) grabbed the chance and produced a lifetime best run of 10.91s.
It was the turn of the middle distance runners next and here again competitors rose to the occasion producing some excellent competition which, without the need of pacemakers, produced a host of pbs. The final metric mile was a superb example of athletes prepared to take up the running if they felt the pace was dipping with no less than four of the 13-strong field leading at one time. However, at the line it was Birtley’s Chris Perkins who prevailed after seeing off the challenge of his rivals in the final charge to the line. Perkins’ winning time of 4:00.35 was a huge nine seconds quicker than his previous best for the distance and is now third in the Under-17 listings. Another under-17 athlete, Scottish raider Corey Campbell (Team East Lothian) won the battle for second place finishing in 4:01.79 to relegate Middlesbrough and Cleveland’s Greg Jayasuriya (4:02.36) into third. Another 1500m athlete who certainly caught the eye was Durham City’s Charlotte Dillon whose time of 4:42.28 puts her fourth in the under-15 girls Po10 rankings. Other age group bests on the night included Sophie Quinn (u-13g, Billingham Marsh House) 5:10.59; William Jardine (u-13b, Durham City) 4:54.53, which was 17 seconds quicker than his previous best; Joseph Close (u-15b, Morpeth) 4:36.10; Katie Francis (u-17w, Birtley) 4:52.03; Jak Jarvis (u-17m, Sunderland) 4:46.73 and Ines Curran (u-20w, Gateshead) 4:42.10.
Next up was the 200m with many of the contestants doubling-up after running 100m earlier. And Josh McKeown showed his short sprint performance was no fluke by storming around the bend to taste another superb success in a time of 21.78s pushing City of York’s Robert Shipley into second place in 22.06. Joy Eze was another double ‘winner’ claiming 200m victory in 23.73s, her wind-assisted time would put her top of this year’s rankings. Other 200m age group successes included: Dylan Love (u17m, Gateshead) 22.48s; Asha Root (sw, Newcastle University) 26.00s; Matthew Inman (u-15b, Gateshead) 24.25s; Emily Maude (u15g, City of York) 26.75s; Martha French (u13g, North Shields Poly) 28.14s and Douglas Reeve (u13b, Darlington) 27.06s.
There was a healthy turnout in the field events with many competitors rewarded with new pbs. In the discus competition, North Shields Poly’s James Wordsworth consolidated fourth place in the Po10 under-20 rankings with a new pb throw of 47:83m. Gateshead’s Joseph Perkins was equally in good form in the under-15 age group, adding three metres to his previous best with a throw of 36:16m, which places him in second place in the season’s listings.
In the shot put competition, former Morpeth athlete Craig Carlton, now competing for Woodford Green Essex Ladies, continued his good form with a put of 16:41. In a highly-contested under-15 girls competition, Gateshead’s Leila Thompson came out on top with a new pb of 11:07m with Cumbria visitor Ellen Sherwen (Copeland) producing 9:79m and Kaitlyn Waddell (North Shields Poly) making a mark at 9:91m. Emily Stewart, on the eve of her trip to Poland for her GB debut did herself no harm at all by producing a big pb pf 24:95m in the discus after her 8:48m in the shot put competition.
In the javelin event, there were numerous pbs especially with age group winners Skye Marshall (u13g, Gateshead) 25:77m; Archie Wright (u13b, City of York) 31:92m; Phoebe Hall (u15g, Gateshead) 34:50m, who held off the challenge of team-mate Leila Thompson who threw 32:61m, the duo being ranked seventh and eighth respectively.
The leading triple jump athlete on view was Morpeth under-20 Charlotte Earl who jumped a wind-assisted 10:72m and a legal 10:42m. There were pbs for leading age group winners Ashton Harrison (u15b, Darlington) 10:34m and Maisie French (u17w, North Shields Poly) 9:92m
There were 25 long jump competitors keeping the officials on their toes with City of York competitors certainly excelling. The Yorkshire club had the leading under-15 girl, Emily Maude (5:65m) who beat of the challenge of team-mate Esme Pounder (5:06m) and Victoria Park City of Glasgow’s Aleshia O’Connor (5:00m). City of York also had the leading pair in the under-17 women’s competition with victory going to Frances Hogg (5:44m) ahead of Rebecca Lister (5:06m).
Earlier in the day, it was the turn of the under-11 competitions to take centre stage with Allerton pair James Throup and Connie Wilford setting the standard in the 75 metres with James recording 12.05s and Connie 12.02s. In the standing long jump it was the turn of the Derwentside club to shine as Tilly Lee came out on top with a jump of 1:88m with her club-mate finishing second just two centimetres adrift. The best boys’ performance was by Darlington’s James L’Anson who made a mark in the sand at 1:80m.
Once again thanks to all officials and athletes who helped make the meeting a huge success especially athletes who travelled to the impressive Middlesbrough Sports Village for the first time, hopefully we will see you all back in the future.
A special thanks to the City of York club who had more than 30 competitors on the day!
A near-400 entries were received for the first of six North East Grand Prix fixtures which meant a revamp and an earlier start to the programme to ensure the events finished before Monkton Stadium closed its doors!
Despite the extremely cold conditions officials and athletes performed heroically to keep to a tighter-than-usual timetable which resulted in more than three-quarters of the competitors posting new personal bests. The weather may have been cold and blustery but competition was certainly hot throughout and while strict Covid restrictions were in force, those who were allowed into the arena certainly voiced their approval giving every competitor encouragement.
While age group athletes were certainly out in force that cannot be echoed when it comes to senior competition though that will surely change as the season unfolds. However, amongst the seniors who did turn out, there were two very interesting athletes on view, Lewis Robson and Charlie Myers. Not a lot of interest was forthcoming in race five of the 300 metres but on the start line was the extremely-talented three-time former English Schools’ champion Lewis Robson. Robson last set foot on the track back in 2008 competing in the Tartan Games at the International Stadium but he drifted out of the sport until finding a new lease of life recently by giving a helping hand to the coaches at Gateshead Harriers. And he showed he has still a lot to offer whether it be to don a Gateshead vest once more and compete for the Tynesiders or put his knowledge to good use from the sidelines after he scorched home to win his comeback race by over two seconds in a time of 38.23secs.
While Robson’s clocking wasn’t earth-shattering the winners of both the penultimate and final 300 metres events certainly made their mark. Evan Blackman (Corby AC) last competed in the region in 2016 when he finished in bronze medal position in the 300m (36.38s) at the English Schools’ Championships at the International Stadium. However, the East Midlands athlete showed he has improved over the years to win an exciting contest at Jarrow in 34.61s, a time which has him in third place in the Po10 rankings. Blackman had to be at his best though for pushing him all the way to the line was Gateshead’s under-20 athlete Josh McKeown who got the verdict for second place over team-mates Ben Schofield and Mark Collier.
In the 300m contest prior to that victory also went to a visiting athlete, William Ritchie-Moulin of Birchfield Harriers and a student at Durham University. Ritchie-Moulin, also an English Schools’ bronze medallist, beat off his rivals with an impressive 35.75s. Amongst the females competing in the 300m Gateshead’s Beth Pringle (u-20) was quickest with a time of 40.74s. At under-15 level North Shields Poly’s Reuban Moss posted 41.41s.
There were 11 150 metres races on the programme and down to run in the final contest was Olympic pole vault hopeful Charlie Myers, a surprise entry as he builds up towards a trip to Tokyo. And the Birtley athlete certainly showed he has speed to compete with the best by finishing in third place in 16.99s behind Gateshead pair Scott Hall (16.54s) and Matthew Lumb (16.62s).
Others who caught the eye over the rarely-run distance included under-15 Millie Wilkinson (Blyth) 19.49s; Melody Brooks (North Shields Poly), under-17 with 19.26s while, in the same age group Joel Brown-King (Gateshead) recorded 17.03s. Gateshead’s Philippa Ellis posted 18.61s for the quickest under-20 female.
In the 75 metres events Blyth’s Millie Wilkinson (under-15) recorded 9.74s while North Shields Poly senior, James Mole, was quickest overall with 9.59s.
Ten 1500 metres races were down for decision with final race a fitting climax to a superbly organised fixture. It turned into a truly-run race with in-form David Race taking up pace-making duties from the early stages. He was shadowed throughout by fellow Gateshead athletes Matthew Linsley and Josh Blevins, Houghton’s Henry Johnson, Dan Joyce of Tynedale and Morpeth’s Kieran Hedley. Race still led at the bell and as the pace increased his rivals were waiting to pounce. Down the back straight for the final time Joyce eased ahead but with around 150m to go Johnson, with an incredible burst of speed shot to the front which he held on well all the way to the line to win in 3:53.69. Joyce finished runner-up in 3:54.83 and Race completed the one-two-three in 3:56.07. All three athletes compete in the under-20 age group and their performances slot them into third, fourth and fifth place respectively in the current Po10 rankings. Blevins, meanwhile, an under-17 competitor, finished in fifth place in 4:00.60 and is now third ranked. Other notable 1500m performances included Birtley’s Noah Williamson (u-13) who posted 5:07.53; Harry Lyons (Darlington u-15) 4:29.27; Poppy Old (Elswick, u-15) 4:55.13 and Ines Curran (Gateshead, u-20) 4:38.35.
Among the field events, Birtley’s Rowan Mason and Neve Watson (Hartlepool Youth) were in good form in the long jump, Mason, u-17, posting 5:82m and Watson, u-13, putting a mark in the sand at 4:06. In the javelin contests, Gateshead duo Skye Marshall (u-13) and Phoebe Hall (u-15) were on song with throws of 21:99m and 32:81m respectively.
Competition moves to Teesside this weekend with another bumper entry when, hopefully, the weather will be a little kinder.
Photos Courtsey of David Hewitson Sportsforallpics.co.uk
Bill McGuirk is the North East's top athletics correspondent. NECAA Chairman and official, Bill can be found at all local athletics events supporting the sport he loves.