Senior title-chase hit by withdrawals

Alex Brown.

Alex Brown.

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THE North East Counties senior men’s team, bidding to win the Inter Counties cross country title for the fourth time in a row, have been hit by three withdrawals from their nine-man squad.

The team travel to Cofton Park, Birmingham, on Saturday, without Morpeth Harriers’ Jonny Taylor, Nick Swinburn and Peter Newton.

The team selectors have filled the slots with Middlesbrough’s Greg Jaysuria, Ross Floyd (Morpeth) and possibly Dan Jenkin (Durham).

The rest of the team is Dan Garbutt (Durham), Carl Smith (Leeds), Matt Nicholson (Morpeth), Lewis Timmins (Morpeth), Yared Hagos (Wallsend) and Richard Morrell (Morpeth).

The women’s team sees one change with Gosforth’s Rachel Lundgren coming in for Stephanie Dann (NSP).

The rest of the squad is Rosie Smith (Durham), Danielle Hodgkinson (Wallsend), Alex Snook (Jarrow), Emma Holt (Morpeth), Elaine Leslie (Jarrow), Tracy Milmore (Birtley), Carolyn Ollis (Middlesbrough) and Stacey Rogers (Jarrow).

Houghton Harrier Alex Brown goes into the under-15 championship in fine form after finishing 26th in the National Championships two weeks ago and then, last Saturday, he won the North East Harrier League race, running from the fast pack.

Other Houghton Harriers on North East Counties duty are Jamie Reed (under-13 boys) and Eva Hardie (under-13 girls).

Lydia Turner, the national champion who also led Birtley to the team title at Nottingham two weeks ago, goes into the under-17 race as one of the favourites.

Also in the team is Turner’s clubmate, Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett.

But the North East team has been hit by the withdrawal of Philippa Chambers (Birtley), who is revising for a maths exam on Monday.

Other potential North East medallists are Josh Cowperthwaite, the national champion in the under-13 boys’ and Markim Lonsdale, runner-up in the national under-15s event.

H This year’s Sunderland Strollers Pier to Pier race will be held on Sunday, May 11, and for the first time the race will be chip-timed.

For entry enquiries Tel. 07512 209118 or visit the club website at www.sunderlandstrollers.co.uk.

H With one race remaining at Wrekenton Harrier League on March 22, the Sunderland Harriers’ cross country grand prix is reaching its conclusion.

The leaders are: Paul Redman 58, Dean Phillips 54, David Savage 53, Peter Richardson 48, Helen Higgins 45, Aimee Richardson 41, Tony Allinson 40, Susan Clughen 39, Steven Gordon 38.

H Sunderland Harriers have announced their dates for their annual events.

They are: Wednesday, June 4 – Penshaw Hill race, Wednesday, July 16 – Sunderland 5k, Silksworth Sports Complex and Saturday, September 13 – Farringdon Cross Country Relays.