NEHL Cross-Country Season Finale – Wrekenton, Saturday 19th March 2016

Final league placings were decided on Saturday as the 2015-16 cross-country season came to an end at a surprisingly dry and fast course at Wrekenton. 33 members of Tynedale Harriers competed in a total field of over 1000 north east runners.

Throughout this season, Tynedale’s U15 girls’ team has dominated their league, winning every fixture, except one where they placed second. The team finished the season 12 points clear of their nearest rivals! On Saturday, Sarah Jackson was thrilled to win the gold medal, crossing the line well clear of the next finisher. Anya Herdman and Freya Barr finished in 7th and 8th places to complete the U15 counters. Sarah and Freya will be promoted to the fast pack next season, while Anya will move up to the U17 age group. The strong team was completed by Bella Chicken, Bethan Nitsch, Jasmine Couchman and Poppy Goldsmith, who were all running from the fast pack. In the individual grand prix for the age group, Tynedale had one representative in the top 10: team captain Ellen Ricketts finished the season in 4th place.

Tynedale’s U17/U20 women’s team has also had an excellent season. They won on Saturday, which meant they finished the season tying at the top of their league with Gateshead. In a tie situation, the final positions are decided on countback, which unfortunately put Tynedale in second place. The team should also be very proud of the fact that Tynedale was the only club to turn out a full team in this age group at every fixture this season. On Saturday, Hannah Pinkney had her usual strong run from the fast pack to cross the line in 3rd place, earning herself a bronze medal. After leading the race for a considerable distance, Sophie Hayter was next Harrier home in 9th place, to earn herself promotion to the fast pack next season. Ellie Bluck (fast pack) was the third counter, finishing in 12th place. Laura Vickers and Anna Channon completed the team. In the final rankings of the individual grand prix, Hannah Pinkney was 4th, with team captain Ellie Bluck just missing the top 10 in 11th.

Tynedale’s U13 girls’ team has had to work hard this season, with a relatively small group of committed team members. Like their U17/U20 clubmates, they finished the season tying on points in their league and frustratingly they too dropped a place on countback, finishing the season in 4th place. At Wrekenton three girls represented Tynedale and all ran from the fast pack. Olivia Stewart finished in 17th, Olivia Milburn in 23rd and team captain Roisin Lally in 35th, giving the girls a 7th place finish on the day. At the close of the season, Olivia Milburn was 10th in the age group’s individual grand prix.

Lack of runners has been an issue for Tynedale’s boys this year and Wrekenton was no exception with the club fielding two incomplete teams in the U15 and U17 age groups. Jaycee Shotton was Tynedale’s sole representative in the U17 race. He ran from the fast pack and finished in 17th place. The team ended the season in 5th place overall.

Tynedale’s U15 boy’s team also finished the season in 5th place. On Saturday, Aidan Pinkney ran a strong race from the fast pack to finish in 28th place. He was joined by James Weightman who crossed the line in 41st place. In the U15 individual grand prix, Cameron Grey ended the season in 7th place.

In the U13 boys’ competition, Tynedale finished the season in 12th place. Alexander Weightman (22nd), Tom Barrett (28th) and Logan Lowes (57th) all ran well at Wrekenton, giving the team an 11th place finish on the day.

Rebecca Green was Tynedale’s sole representative in the U11 races this week, finishing 44th in the girls’ race.

Tynedale’s senior women have had another strong season and it has been really encouraging to see a large number of new club members join the cross-country team. Despite having a higher proportion of vet runners than the bigger city clubs, this strength in depth has meant that the club once again remains in Division One for next season, after finishing 8th overall. At Wrekenton, all of the 7 team members finished in the top half of the field, which was no mean feat when all but one started from the fast or medium packs! Karen Robertson, running from the fast pack, had the fastest V45 time and was first across the line for Tynedale in 35th. The other 3 counters were Alexandra Bennett in 59th, Charlie Pinkney (64th from the medium pack) and Kirstie Anderson (88th from the fast pack). Kirstie had a sprint finish with team mate Leanne Hayter, who finished in 89th. The team, which finished 7th on the day, was completed by Sonia Morley and Kim Bluck. In the individual grand prix final standings, Tynedale have 2 members in the vet women’s top 10: Karen Robertson in 4th and Kirstie Anderson in 7th.

With everything to play for to avoid relegation, Tynedale were disappointed not to be able to field a full team in the senior men’s race at the final fixture of the season. Adam Pratt once again ran a blinder of a race from the fast pack, to finish in 128th. Phil Vincent ran from the medium pack and crossed the line in 172nd. Neil Cassidy (346th) and Paul Edwin (387th) made up the small team. Unfortunately, with an incomplete team, relegation to Division Two was inevitable. They will start next season determined to bounce back up to Division One in 2017. In the men’s individual grand prix, Adam Pratt was 12th senior, and team captain Andy Green was 8th Vet.