THERE was no remarkable comeback for Sunderland Harriers’ senior men in the final North East Harrier League of the season at Prudhoe on Saturday.
The defending champions had to win the cross country race and rely on Heaton and Morpeth having disastrous results in the premier league, to add to their remarkable 24 titles since 1980.
But realising that the final result was beyond them, they turned out just a token team that finished tenth and last of the ten competing clubs.
They dropped from third in the league to fourth, with Heaton taking the crown from Morpeth on countback. South Shields were third.
Team captain Paul Redman, who was Sunderland’s first counter in 30th, said: “Realistically we just had too much to do. We made up a lot of ground over the previous two fixtures with two wins, but we were still five points off the pace going into Prudhoe.
“But we will be back next season eager to get our hands back on the trophy.’’
Sunderland Strollers are back in the Premier League after one season in the second division. They walked away with the title despite losing only their second fixture of the season. The Ashbrooke club, led home by Michael Rennison in 20th, finished third behind Alnwick and Crook, with the Northumberland club joining the Strollers in the top tier.
Morpeth’s Ian Harding won the race from the slow pack in 29.05 with Heaton’s James Buis the fastest in sixth (28.52).
Heaton became the first club to do the double with victory in the women’s league. Morpeth’s Jane Mooney won the race from the fast pack (19.27) and scooped the grand prix title. Sunderland Harrier Michelle Holt slipped from second in the grand prix to fourth on countback, with Elswick’s Alison Dargie second and Heaton’s Jo Zoppi claiming third. Sunderland Strollers finished sixth in the league with Racheal Ball their beat placed runner in seventh.
There was some joy for Sunderland Harriers with league victory for the under-15 boys’ team. They were steered home by fast pack runner Michael Wilson, who won the race in 13.41. Then came James Myers in tenth (15.13) and James James McAnaney 12th (15.18) to beat Gosforth by four points. Hugh Danby-Platt was 14th, Luca Irvine 18th and Joel Jones 32nd.
In the under 13-Boys’ race, won by Chester-le-Street’s Henry Johnson, Sunderland Harrier Jack Smith was third. Sophie Burnett was fifth under-13 girl.