Wednesday 22 February 2023

NECAA Royal Signals Relays report


Morpeth Harriers once again lined-up a strong sextet in defense of their Signals Trophy at Hetton Lyons Park and while, after over an hours running, the Northumbrians came within 30 seconds of dipping under their own course record time set last year, the individual course record did fall thanks to Alex Brown’s explosive 10min 06sec for the extended two-mile tricky circuit round the park lake.

Thirteen years ago New Marske’s Ricky Stevenson posted 10:09, a time which many thought would not be bettered. However, Brown had other ideas.

The senior men and v40 masters’ lined up together on the second event on the programme and it was Sunderland who led at the first changeover thanks Joe Armstrong’s 10:28 stint. Adrian Bailes had Birtley just behind followed by Gateshead’s Josh Blevins and New Marske’s Lewis Gamble-Thompson with Morpeth (Sam Hancox) back in seventh place.

Sunderland still held the advantage at the end of the second stage thanks to Scott Armstrong’s 10:45, the quickest time of the stage. Birtley were still in second place thanks to teenager Chris Perkins with Morpeth (James Young) now in third place ahead of Tyne Bridge and Gosforth.

Things changed dramatically heading for the midway point of the contest when Brown took over from Young. The former Houghton Harrier quickly set about reeling in his main rivals and by the completion of the first of the circuits he had moved into the lead, a position he held all the way to the next changeover. Such was Brown’s performance he had turned a 46 seconds deficit into a 33 seconds advantage! Sunderland (Steve Rankin) were now in second place just ahead of Birtley (Tom Goulding) with Gateshead fourth, followed by Morpeth’s second string, Houghton, Gosforth and Tyne Bridge.

Chris Parr extended Morpeth’s lead by three seconds over Sunderland (Steve Jackson) on leg four with Gateshead now in a podium position for the first time in third spot. Birtley were now fourth with Morpeth B team in fifth.

On leg five Connor Marshall pulled further clear for Morpeth by posting the fastest stage time of 11:00 as Jack Ridding kept the Wearsiders’ in second position around a minute clear of Gateshead (Dave Richardson). Morpeth B were now in fourth place ahead of Gosforth and Birtley.

The final leg proved to be a time trial for in-form Carl Avery, the Northern Cross-Country silver medalist, and though he had only the clock to chase he pulled out all the stops in an attempt to set new course figures. However, despite posting the second overall best time of the day of 10:19 the timekeepers gave the Morpeth squad a winning time of 64:26, 30 seconds outside their own record when Hancox, Brown and Avery were part of that squad. Adam Hughes brought Sunderland home in second place over two minutes adrift of the winners with Gateshead (Phil Jamieson) completing the one-two-three. Morpeth B finished fourth, Gosforth fifth followed by North Shields Poly, Durham City, Birtley, Tyne Bridge and New Marske edging out Elswick for 10th place.

FASTEST TIMES: 1 Alex Brown (Morp) 10:06, 2 Carl Avery (Morp) 10:19; 3 Joe Armstrong (Sund) 10:28; 4 Adrian Bailes (Birt) 10:31; 5 Josh Blevins (Gates) 10:41; 6 Scott Armstrong (Sund) 10:45; 7 Lewis Gamble-Thompson (NMske) 10:46; 8 Jordan Bell (BhillB) 10:47; 9 Chris Perkins (Birt) 10:56; 10 James Young (Morp) 10:57.


SUNDERLAND Harriers were the early pacesetters in the V40 category thanks to Michael Barker’s fastest time of the day (11:43) on the first stage of the contest. North Shields Poly (Ben Cook) were in second place 16 seconds adrift with Elvet Striders (Graeme Watt) a further three seconds back in third spot. On stage two Patrick Houghton moved the Poly into the lead and from then on to the finish Ian Dunn, Rory McConnachy, Phil Coulson and Graeme Cook brought the North Tyneside outfit home in 73:06 which gave them a two-minute cushion over a celebrating Elvet Striders whose Mark Kearney was their quickest with 11:51. Sunderland held off Gateshead by 33 seconds to claim the bronze awards.

FASTEST LEGS: 1 Michael Barker (Sund) 11:43; 2 Mark Kearney (Elvet)  11:52; 3= Ben Cook and Graeme Cook (both NSP) 11:59; 5 Patrick Houghton (NSP) 12:01;  6 Graeme Watt (Elvet) 12:02; 7 Ian Dunn (NSP) 12:12; 8 David Dawson (Gates) 12:20; 9 Ross Jarman (SthSh) 12:21; 10 Chris Champs (SthSh) 12:29.

THE opening event on the programme was a four-stage contest for senior women, masters women and masters men 50 and at the end of the day it was the Poly senior women’s team who crossed the line in first place ahead of the 100 teams who entered.

Elswick led at the first changeover thanks to new recruit, Saltwell Road Race winner, Sophie Pikett (12:15) who was closely followed home by the Poly’s Holly Waugh (12:31) who headed Houghton’s Anna Pigford. On leg two former Commonwealth 800m finalist, Charlotte Penfold, with the day’s second fastest overall time of the day of 12:13, moved NSP into the lead and from then on to the finish they were never headed as Katie Joslyn (14:03)  and Jackie Penn (12:37) consolidated pole position to win by over two minutes as Elswick finished in second place with Imogen Bungay, Bella Russell and Poppy Old, with the day’s quickest time of 12:11, backed up Pikett. Durham City moved into a podium finish on the final stage thanks to Northern Cross-Country under-17 silver medallist, Charlotte Dillon’s 12:22. Tyne Bridge, with Kathryn Stephenson (13:34) their quickest, finished fourth followed by Morpeth – Cat MacDonald  (13:02) their best – and Houghton.

FASTEST LEGS: 1 Poppy Old (Els) 12:11; 2 Charlotte Penfold (NSP) 12:13; 3 Sophie Pikett (Els) 12:15; 4 Charlotte Dillon (DurC) 12:22; 5 Holly Waugh (NSP) 12:31; 6 Jackie Penn (NSP) 12:37; 7 Imogen Bungay (Els) 13:23; 8 Ellen Powell (Elvet) 13:34; 9 Hannah Williams (NSP) 13:36; 10 Rebecca Bain (TyneBr) 13:38.

THE lead changed throughout the Masters’ women’s contest after Morag Stead had Morpeth at the head of affairs at the first changeover after recording an impressive 13:26. North Shields Poly’s Clare Harlow (13:32) were in second place followed by New Marske (Kay Neesam), Elswick (Felicity Smith) and South Shields (Jackie Mordy. 

On stage two Sunderland Strollers, who were back in seventh place in the early stages, moved into the lead thanks to Olympian Ally Dixon whose 12:27 contribution was the day’s overall quickest time. The Poly (Becky Coleman) held onto second place with New Marske (Sharon Thornton) third followed by Elswick (Cath Lowes) and South Shields (Suzanne McStea). 

New Marske Moved into the lead on the penultimate stage thanks to Sarah Hunter (14:21) with the Strollers (Jen Deighton) five seconds adrift in second place with North Shields Poly (Michelle Thompson) and Elswick (Hazel Bough) locked together around a minute behind the leaders. However, Tyneside outfit Elswick had kept their powder dry for the final charge and it was former junior cross-country international Justina Heslop who raced through the opposition on the glory leg and record the second quickest time (13:17) of the day to break the tape in an overall time of 56:41. 

Kirsty Lowery (14:27) consolidated the Strollers second spot 20 seconds behind the newly-crowned champions as Pat Speedie held on to claim the bronze awards for New Marske a similar distance back. North Shields Poly finished just outside the medals in fourth place (57:44) followed by South Shields (59:31) and Gosforth (59:58).  

FASTEST LEGS: 1 Ally Dixon (SundStr) 12:27; 2 Justina Heslop (Els) 13:17; 3 Morag Stead (Morp) 13:26; 4 Clare Harlow (NSP) 13:32; 5 Sharon Thornton (NMske) 13:54; 6 Fran Dembele (SthSh) 14:10; 7 Kay Neesam (NMske) 14:14; 8 Hazel Bough (Els) 14:15; 9 Felicity Smith (Els) 14:18; 10 Jackie Murdy (SthSh) 14:19. 

TEESSIDE outfit New Marske Harriers celebrated victory in the Men’s V50 championship after moving to the front at the half-way stage. Crook (Wayne Pearson) hit the first changeover one second ahead of North Shields Poly (Michael Parkinson) with New Marske (Martin Murray) two seconds back in third place and one second ahead of Morpeth’s Jason Dawson.

Justin Shaw moved New Maske into first place at the half way point with Elswick (Jason Old) in second place as  Crook (Jason Bridgewater) dropped back to third ahead of Morpeth (Lee Bennett) and North Shields Poly (Chris Waite). On the penultimate leg, Clive Thornton extended New Marske’s advantage to one minute as Morpeth (Al McDonald) and North Shields Poly’s James Thompson crossed the line together ahead of Elswick’s Martin Connelly and Crook’s Geoff Hewitson. Morpeth’s Rob Hancox managed to haul back the leaders (Paul Cleasby) by 20 seconds on the final stage but it wasn’t enough as New Marske came home with a comfortable lead as Elswick followed the Northumbrian’s home in third place thanks to Mike Russell’s efforts. North Shields Poly finished fourth, Crook fifth and Sunderland sixth.

FASTEST LEGS: 1 Wayne Pearson (Crook) 12:24; 2 Michael Parkinson (NSP) 12:25; 3 Martin Murray (NMske) 12:27; 4 Lee Bennett (Morp) 12:36; 5 Justin Shaw (NMske) 12:47; 6 Mark Turnbull (Els) 12:51; 7 Mike Russell (Els) 13:06; 8 Jason Old (Els) 13:07; 9 Colin Rogerson (SunStr) 13:18; 10 Darron Dodd (Sun) 13:19.

**The North Eastern Counties AA is once again indebted to Houghton Harriers – Maureen and Peter Dodsworth in particular – for hosting another successful Signals Relays. Also to all the marshalls and technical officials on duty throughout the afternoon. Thanks also to the first aid team for without their input the long-standing event would not take place.

**This report was written while the results had not been finalised so if there are any mistakes I can only apologise!


Photos - New Marske Harriers 

No comments:

Post a Comment