THE Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League moves into the closing stages of the season with the penultimate fixture at The Pastures at Alnwick on Saturday.
Sunderland Harriers are still in with a slight chance of winning the first division title after finishing second to Morpeth in the last meeting at Wrekenton, earlier this month.
But it will be no easy task for the Wearsiders, who are four points behind leaders Morpeth, who won the English National team championship at Herrington Country Park on Saturday.
Morpeth are on 12 points with Gateshead second on 14. Sunderland have 16 points along with Durham City Harriers and South Shields.
Michael Barker, Eritrean Abiel Werede, captain Paul Redman and fast pack man Craig Isherwood, should again be important team counters, over the traditional cross country course at The Pastures.
Sunderland Strollers lifted themselves outside the relegation zone after finishing in sixth place at Wrekenton.
Steve Rankin, Steve McMahon, Ken Maynard and Anthony Wilton, should again lead the Strollers charge.
League table: 1 Morpeth 12pts, 2 Gateshead 14pts, 2, 3 Sunderland Harriers 16, 4 South Shields 16, 5 Durham 16, 5, 6 Low Fell 25, 7 Heaton 28, 8 Sunderland Strollers 29, 9 North Shields 32, 10 Wallsend 32.
The Strollers women were promoted to first place in division one at Wrekenton after originally being placed second to Gateshead.
That means they move up to sixth in the league with 21 points behind Heaton 13, Tyne Bridge 15 and Tynedale 15.
Rachel Ball, Jill Kisler, Dianne Shotton and Ashleigh Thorpe will be challenging to be a team counter.
Sunderland Harriers are ninth in division two with 35 points and Houghton are 13th (57). The leaders are Low Fell with 13 points.
In the under-17/20 women’s league, Sunderland Harriers top the table by two points from Blaydon and Shildon .
Under-15 Sophie Burnett (Birtley) lies second by one point in the grand prix, with Sunderland Harrier Daniele Elliott third.
Club-mate Sarah Bell is fifth in the under-13s, just three points behind second place.
The Sunderland Harriers’ grand prix will be taking in the Alnwick event before coming to a conclusion at Prudhoe on Saturday March 23.
The leaders are: Paul Redman 56pts, Len Christopher 50, Dean Phillips 50, Peter Richardson 43, Craig Isherwood 40, Steve Graham 40, Helen Higgins 39, Nathan Reed 39, Steve Gordon 37, Michael Hill 35, Paul Merrison 33, Aimee Adey 33, Abiel Werede 30, Alan Hodgson 28.
Directions: Leave the A1 slip road at Denwick/Alnwick. Turn left at junction onto Denwick Road. Within 500m you will pass race venue at The Pastures on your right.
Continue downhill over bridge to Alnwick Garden car park on your left.
Charges will be £3.50 in main car park or £2.00 in overflow car park. Leave car at park and walk via Denwick Road to Pastures Entry (approx 500m).
Registration is at the top of the hill after the bridge (opposite castle entrance).
Note parking is limited in this area. Please note that this is one mile from the start/finish area.
There will be no race parking in The Pastures (except first aid and officials).
Only park while you register or change, and then park at gardens car park. There is ample space for club tents alongside the start and finish.
H Entries for the British Masters’ Cross Country Championships to be staged at Herrington Country Park on Saturday, March 16 (12.00) close on Saturday.
They should be sent to BMAF XC Championship 5, Mast Lane, Cullercoats, North Shields, NE30 3DF. Cheques payable to ’Veterans A A – NEE’. There are no entries on the day.
H The Sun City Duathlon needs at least 40 competitors to sign-up by the end of the week or the event will be cancelled.
It is due to be staged on Sunday 7th April. There is a 5km run – 18km bike ride – 5km run – following the same bike and run course as the popular Sun City Tri.
Event starts outside Seaburn Centre. Enter at: http://suncitytri.co.uk/sun-city-duathlon-and-triathlon