Saturday 22 October 2022

NECAA XC Relays 2022


AFTER some sleepless nights for organiser Archie Jenkins the North Eastern Counties Cross-Country Relay Championships eventually got the green light after a flood of entries were received on deadline day which came as a huge relief to Jenkins whose thoughts were that the fixture would have to be cancelled for a second time. Jenkins, who was one of the last people to leave Thornley Hall Farm last weekend just as the heavens opened, was a happy man knowing that a successful Championship event had taken place when it seemed that would not be the case a few days before entries closed.

Jenkins, who now has his work cut out in preparation for the NECAA Cross-Country Championships – hosted by Newcastle clubs Elswick and Heaton Harriers – at Temple Park, South Shields on Saturday, December 10, confessed that it was touch-and-go whether the Relay Championships would go ahead.

“One of the Association’s remits is to provide championship events for our athletes and at the same time try to break even without over-charging those who want to take part. Like everything else at the moment prices are going up and while we are indebted to Jon Taylor for letting us have the use of his land for free, the costs for the team of first aiders and the hiring of portable toilets and a minimum allowance for the officials digs heavily into what we receive in entry fees.

It’s not about making a profit it’s all about not making a loss and that’s the way it looked a few days before entries closed. Happily, I can report that, after all my concerns, we didn’t make a loss and, by all accounts and the feedback we have received, it turned out to be an enjoyable event all round so, while I would have liked to have seen a few more clubs on the start line, I would like to say a huge thank you to those who did enter teams and I now look forward to a bumper entry for our main championships in December.”

SENIOR MEN (4x3.2k)

Houghton got off to a flying start thanks to Chris Coulson whose 10min 40sec proved to be the fastest overall time of the day. That was just the springboard Houghton needed as Johnny Evans, Lee Dover and Luke Pickering kept the black and golds in pole position throughout.

At the first changeover Tyne Bridge (Tom Charlton) were in second place followed by Sunderland and Elvet Striders. Sunderland moved into second place on leg two thanks to Craig Gunn with Gateshead (Jack Douglas) moving through to third after being fifth on the opening stage. On the penultimate leg, Sunderland were still in second place behind Houghton with Tyne Bridge (Marc Fenwick) now back up to third. On the run to the line Pickering came home to give Houghton a winning time of 44:50 with Sunderland claiming the silver medals just 13 seconds adrift as Gateshead, with Dan Alexander posting the third fastest time of the day, completing the podium placings ahead of Elvet Striders and Tyne Bridge.

MASTERS MEN (3x3.2k)

South Shields led at the first changeover thanks to the second quickest time of the day by Ross Jarman. Sunderland (Stephen Potts) were in second place followed by Elvet Striders (Michael Mason) and Wallsend (Mark Covell). Tyne Bridge moved into the lead on the second stage thanks to Kevin Richardson with Elvet Striders (David Milligan) moving into second place ahead of Sunderland (Steven Gordon). South Shields had slipped to fourth followed by Wallsend and Ponteland Runners. Paul Turnbull extended Tyne Bridge’s advantage on the run to the line with Michael Littlewood and Chris Jackson consolidating Elvet’s and Sunderland’s second and third-place finish respectively. Fastest on the course was Richard Bateson who brought Blyth through from 11th to fourth on the final leg in recording 10:51.


Shona Haston had Gateshead in the lead at the first changeover after posting the fastest time of the day of 11:52. Houghton (Eva Hardy) were in second followed by Sunderland (Jessica Fox) then came South Shields, Wallsend and Aycliffe. Houghton moved into the lead on stage two thanks to Danielle Coulson with Gateshead (Lydia James) now in second followed by South Shields (Fay Carter) with Sunderland fourth, Gosforth fifth and Wallsend sixth. Approaching the tape the leading positions remained the same with Anna Pigford bringing Houghton home in pole position followed by Gateshead (Gillian Manford) and South Shields (Michelle Douglas). Sunderland finished fourth followed by Wallsend and Gosforth.


At the first changeover North Shields led through Becky Coleman who was followed by Felicity Smith (Elswick) and Morpeth’s Jane Kirby. South Shields were in fourth place followed by Sunderland. Remarkably the top five places remained the same all the way to the finish with Alison Smith and Claire Harlow, whose 12:35 was the fastest of the day, bringing the Poly home in first place. Andrea Banner and Joanne Brown did likewise for silver medalists Elswick as did Julie Vermass and Gemma Floyd for Morpeth. South Shields finished in fourth place followed by Sunderland.

JUNIOR MEN (3x3.2k)

Only two teams faced the starter and it was a gun to tape victory for Morpeth trio Ralph Robson, Matthew Walton and Peter Smallcombe, Walton posting the fastest overall time of 10:17. The Durham City trio of Joshua Wraith, Callum Wilkinson and Thomas Wraith were awarded the runners-up medals.

UNDER-17/UNDER-20 WOMEN (3x2.2k)

In-form Charlotte Dillon brought Durham City to the changeover in first place by posting the fastest overall time of the day of 8:36. Darlington (Macy Kelly) were in second spot followed by Gosforth (Emma Ashman). Darlington moved into the lead on leg two thanks to Marissa Boon who was followed by Gosforth’s Hannah Wightman and North Shields Poly’s Zoe Atkinson. Things changed dramatically on the final stage with Amelie Sillence bringing North Shields Poly home in first place with Alice Lewis consolidating Gosforth’s second place as Millie Newham brought Durham City through to complete the one-two-three, Darlington finished in fourth place followed by Jarrow and Hebburn and Gosforth.

UNDER-17 MEN (3x2.2k)

English Schools’ international Brandon Pye gave Houghton a sizeable lead on the first leg by posting the overall fastest time of 7:15 but it was to no avail as Morpeth proved once again how strong they are at this age group by finishing the three stages in first and second place.

The Morpeth A team of Joe Close, Elliot Kelso and Bertie Marr led their second string of Liam Roche, Elliot Mavir and Ryan Davies home to win by 41 seconds despite being five seconds adrift at the first changeover. Durham City came from fourth to third on the final leg thanks to Ethan Stokes. With the rules stating that a club can only win one set of medals it meant that the tangerines moved up into silver medal position and fourth-placed Houghton received the bronze awards. Elswick finished fifth followed home by Gosforth.

UNDER-15 BOYS (3x2.2k)

Morpeth came from seventh to first thanks to the top two times by Oliver Calvert and Oliver Tomlinson. North Shields Poly (Dan Watson) led at the first changeover followed by Durham City (William Jardine) with Blaydon (Robert Atkinson) in third place followed by Darlington, Gosforth and Houghton with Steven Craske keeping Morpeth in touch in seventh place. On leg two North Shields Poly (Elijah Farley) were still ahead as Tomlinson moved the Northumbrians into second place ahead of Darlington (Daniel I’Anson). Calvert quickly set about closing down on the leader and midway through the circuit he edged in front to post the day’s quickest time and bring the Northumbrians home by a clear margin. Oscar Makepeace brought the Poly home in second place with Willoughby Croslegh celebrating third place for Darlington. Durham City headed Blaydon by just one second to claim fourth spot.


UNDER-15 GIRLS (3x2.2k)

Darlington were in pole position from the off after Zara Jones posted the day’s fastest time of 9:01. North Shields Poly held second place (Darcey Tullis) with Jess Donnelly bringing Elswick through to third. Freya Talman extended Darlington’s advantage on leg two as Izzy Yates kept the Poly in second as Molly Roche brought Morpeth through to third ahead of Elswick and the Poly B team. Savannah Tarn extended Darlington’s lead even further on the run to the line as Hannah Atkinson brought the Poly home in silver medal position followed by Morpeth’s Charlotte Marshall. Elswick finished fourth followed by the Poly B team.

UNDER-13 GIRLS (3x2.2k)

Kathryn Pye had Houghton in the lead at the first changeover followed by North Shields Poly (Lily McColl) and Gosforth’s Maggie Handyside. Elswick were in fourth place followed by Darlington and Morpeth. Houghton (Holly Robison) had a slight advantage going into the final stage with Emma Tomlinson bringing Morpeth up to second only to have no one to pass on to. The Poly (Annie Murphy) were in third place followed by Gosforth and Elswick. Thanks to Poppy Coleman’s efforts, the Poly moved into the lead while Martha Taylor, the daughter of landowner Jon Taylor, came home in second place ahead of Gosforth’s Nina Gumbrill. Elswick finished fourth and Darlington fifth.

UNDER-13 BOYS (3x2.2k)

Darlington were never headed after Rowan Steel’s fastest time of the day on the opening stage. Elswick (Nicholas Surtees-Brown) were in second place followed by Gosforth’s George Ponton and North Shields Poly’s James Sturman. James I’Anson extended Darlington’s lead on stage two with Gosforth (William Handyside) moving into second place ahead of the Poly’s Charlie Johnstone. Matthew Foster had the honour of bringing Darlington home in first place though Gosforth’s Charlie Adlam made a brave effort to catch him but, despite the second fastest time of the day, he had to settle for a reward of second place. North Shields Poly (Luke Cummings) finished in third place followed by Elswick and Blyth.

**Thanks go to Jon Taylor for the free use of his land; to Start Fitness for their continued support; to the first aiders and to event organiser Archie Jenkins and all the technical officials and marshals without whom the event would not have taken place. Finally, to all the competitors, who made it all worthwhile, a big thank you.

**The next cross-country meeting in the region is the Start Fitness NEHL fixture at Lambton on October 29.

Report by Bill McGuirk

Photos by Stuart Whitman

No comments:

Post a Comment