SUNDERLAND Harriers saved their day by picking-up two team bronze medals in the 105th North Eastern Counties Cross-Country Championships at South Shields on Saturday.
The Wearsiders, wrecked by a number of late withdrawals, were heading for a barren championship until their under-15 boys’ team and the senior men’s squad surprisingly clinched third place in their respective events.
It was looking all doom and gloom when Michael Wilson, one of the favourites for the under-15 boys’ title and Patrick Martin, the senior men’s champion, added to the club’s woes when they both cried off with injuries.
It was left to 47-year-old veteran Brian Rushworth, the record-breaking 10-time champion, to lead the team home, finishing an impressive eighth in 42.39.
Fellow veterans Tim Field 16th (43.46), Paul Merrison 32nd (47.22), and Paul Redman 35th (47.36) all ran well to be next over the line.
They were followed by the final two counters in Steven Gordon 60th (49.25) and Alan Hodgson 105th (53.34) to claim their first ever medals. Sunderland Stroller Kevin Calvert in 26th (46.16) steered his club into 11th place.
The race winner was Morpeth’s Lewis Timmins (39.34) from clubmate Peter Newton (40.16) and Durham’s Dan Garbutt (40.41).
The Harriers’ under-15s were led into third place by Dominic Hill in 12th, Hugh Danby-Platt15th and Luca Irvine 30th in the race won by Luke Clark, gaining South Shields their first ever North Eastern title.
The Sunderland junior team just missed out on medals by two points by placing Jake Archer 11th, comeback man Jason Waite 13th and Nathan Reed 14th.
Durham’s Rosie Smith (31.01), the defending champion, found Mandale’s Kirsty Legg (30.04) just too strong for her in the women’s race. Morpeth’s Jane Mooney finished third (32.04). Sunderland Harrier Michelle Holt had a creditable performance in 11th (33.39) and Hayley Reed was 27th (35.36). Sunderland Strollers finished 11th team with Alyson West 48th, Ashleigh Thorpe 52nd and Jill Kisler 59th.
Washington’s Barry Maskell (Gateshead) finished third (21.48) in the under-17s behind winner Mark Shaw (New Marske) (20.55).
Sophie Burnett (Sunderland Harriers) was ninth in the under-13s and Houghton Harrier Eleanor Daglish was 11th.
H Sunderland Harrier Hollie Lancaster, the double North East under-13 sprint champion, recorded a personal best when recording 8.45 to clinch the silver medal in the under-15 North East Indoor 60m Championship at Gateshead yesterday.
Houghton Harrier Ben Mitchell won the under-15 boys’ shot (6.27).