Mixed fortunes at windy Wrekenton

A breezy Wrekenton welcomed runners on Saturday for the first Harrier League fixture of 2014. Tynedale had good numbers out in most age categories, and we enjoyed victories for the Under 13 girls and Under 17 boys teams, 2nd place for the Under 13 boys and Senior women and 3rd for the Under 15 girls.

The course at Wrekenton has a bit of everything – some flat, grassy stretches, a stiff climb up to ‘Windy Nook’ then fast down the other side, and a couple of muddy patches for good measure. It is an exposed site, usually catching the wind, and Saturday was no exception.

The Under 13 girls continue to excel. They were led home by Freya Barr in an excellent 2nd place overall, with Bethan Nitsch (5th) and Louise Smith (6th) not far behind. All three girls ran from the slow pack and will be promoted to the fast pack for the next fixture. Just outside the team counters were Alex Lea (19th) and Roisin Lally making her debut in the under 13s (32nd).

The three counters for the Under 17 boys all finished within 20 seconds of each other, having worked together for most of the the tough course. Alistair Maxwell-Grey was first Tynedale home in 8th place, followed by Dominic Kilsby (11th) and Fergus Robinson (13th).

The Under 13 boys earned their 2nd place thanks to a 6th place finish from Charles Downs, clawing his way through the field from the fast pack (he was 3rd fastest on the day), Cameron Grey one place and only 2 seconds behind and Charlie McClintock in 10th. Charlie and Cameron earned themselves promotion to the fast pack as a result of their top ten finish. Also running were Dan Emerson, Patrick Lally and Gabriel Morley, all running in the fast pack and finishing within 7 seconds of each other.

The Under 15 girls were led home by Hannah Pinkney, whose 3rd place at Wallington had earned her a start from the fast pack. She made light of the handicap, working her way through the field to finish a creditable 8th and the 5th fastest time on the day. Next was Rosie Dawson who had a great run in her Harrier League debut, finishing in 12th. Third counter was Freya Murphy with a strong run in 15th place. Elena Bluck made her debut in the fast pack after promotion at Wallington with Hannah and held her own in what is a tough field, finishing in 24th place.

It was a shame that due to this yucky cold bug that’s going around the Under 15 boys weren’t able to make a team, as Jaycee Shotton the sole Tynedale representative had his best run yet, finishing in 11th place.

The Senior women continue to perform well in what is a very competitive field. Eleven runners turned out on the day. Charlie Pinkney demonstrated where Hannah gets the running genes from, finishing as first Tynedale in a great run, her 14th place finish seeing her promoted to the medium pack. Not far behind and now joining Charlie in the medium pack was the consistent Kim Bluck, finishing in 28th place. Kim leads the women’s club XC championship with two races to go. Third and final counter was Lucy Siddle in 41st. Lucy is often leading the hill efforts on Group 2 training nights, so she must have taken Windy Nook in her stride. The team’s 2nd place overall leaves them in 3rd place in Division 1.

The senior men had another good turnout in their bid to avoid relegation and stay in the top division. Adam Pratt and Chris Baber had a good battle from the medium pack for first counter, with Adam coming out on top by only 4 seconds. They were closely followed by Phil Jameson and Paul Hutchinson who both had very strong runs. Jonnie Currie was making his debut in the fast pack following his promotion at Wallington, and had another storming run, mixing it with the leaders over the first mile to finish 5th counter.  Jonnie currently lies 6th in the men’s individual grand prix, which is a fantastic start to his life as a ‘senior’. Another great battle was to be had between Steve Hill and Peter Murphy with Steve showing good form by finishing just ahead in his first outing of the season.

The men’s team finished 8th on the day, ahead of Sunderland Harriers and Sunderland Strollers, but a great team performance by South Shields saw them jump up the table leaving us in the relegation positions overall. We need to beat South Shields in the last two events for any chance of staying up. All to play for as they say!

Next event is the wonderfully scenic course at Alnwick on March 1st.

Results on the Harrier League Website

Great photos from Alan Currie on Flickr

The winning trio of Under 17 boys, led by Alistair Maxwell-Grey (l), with Fergus Robinson (centre) and Dominic Kilsby (r). Sean Wylie keeps up the chase just behind. Photo ©Alan Currie

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