Sunderland Harriers storm to North Eastern Harrier League first division title

Sunderland trio lead the field, Matt Devlin (1784) and Jake Jensen followed by second-placed Micky Thompson.
Sunderland trio lead the field, Matt Devlin (1784) and Jake Jensen followed by second-placed Micky Thompson.

Sunderland Harriers’ senior men’s team romped to victory to win the North Eastern Harrier League first division title at the final fixture at Wrekenton on Saturday.

The Wearsiders, winning the title for the first time since 2010, packed their six counters inside the first 15 finishers, in a field of over 450, to score the most emphatic win of the season.

They scored just 28 points compared to Tyne Bridge in second place with 137. Crook were third with 160.

This was their fourth win out of five after the Newcastle Town Moor event had been cancelled due to flooding.

Team manager Albert James said: “It was a great win and a big day for us after a wait of six years to lift the Sisterton trophy once again.

“It was a superb team effort at Wrekenton, the best performance by any club throughout the season.

“We won the league comfortably in the end by four points from Tyne Bridge and it was good to see a record turnout by the club to celebrate the occasion.”

Thirty runners donned their royal blue vests intent on doing their bit in helping the club win the title once again.

And with 10 runners inside the first 50, they did more than enough in what was required of them in the six-mile handicap race.

At one stage, it looked like Sunderland were on course to have the first three runners to finish when slow pack men Matt Devlin, Micky Thompson and Jake Jensen, led the field.

But it was Saltwell Harriers’ new recruit Eritrean Abraham Tewelde, the winner at Alnwick and now running from the medium pack, was closing them down.

It was not until halfway round the final lap (of three) that he caught the trio going onto win in an actual time of 30.47.

Over-45 veteran Thompson proved the stronger in the closing stages to claim silver (actual time – 33.50), Devlin was third (33.56) and Jensen fourth (34.40).

Durham’s Dan Jenkin in fifth was the fastest on the course with 30.16.

Sunderland’s fourth scorer was medium pack man Andy Powell in seventh (32.53), Nathan Reed from the fasts was eleventh and fourth fastest overall (31.09) and Kevin Jeffress closed the scoring in 15th (31.32).

Durham City Harrier Rosie Smith (22.37) was the fastest in the women’s race, finishing second from the fast pack.

Sunderland Harriers finished a final mid-table in the second division after their fourth place at Wrekenton, with Vikki Cotton in 12th and Emma North 16th their first two finishers.

Houghton Harrier Alex Brown, who missed last week’s Inter Counties Championships through illness, won the under-17s race from the fast pack.

Club mate Henry Johnson was the fastest under-13 in sixth and Sunderland Harrier John Oliver finished fourth.

Evie Compson (Sunderland) finished second under-13 girl to win her first medal.