Jeffress and Isherwood face fight for selection

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THE first round of selections for the North East team for the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships were made at Newcastle’s Town Moor on Saturday.

The 110th North East Championships were held on the Moor for the first time and the first three finishers in each of the ten events were automatically selected.

The Inter Counties Championship will be held at Birmingham on Saturday, March 7, and it is the intention of the North Eastern Counties cross country committee that full teams will be selected for Cofton Park.

That is a total of 82 athletes for the ten teams, with 15 selected and nine to run in the senior men and women’s events and 12 selected with eight to run in the rest of the younger age groups.

The selection deadline is January 28 and the Northern Championship at Pontefract, on January 24, will be the final race where potential team members can catch the selectors’ eye.

Sunderland Harriers’ Kevin Jeffress and Craig Isherwood have an outside chance of making the team after finishing 12th and 13th respectively in the championship at the Town Moor.

They stand a good chance of being on the nominated selection list of 15 runners, but getting into the final nine would demand a big improvement in form from both of them.

They will have to have a stormer of a run at the Yorkshire town and head some of those athletes that beat them on the Moor, to jump ahead of their rivals in the selection queue.

Morpeth Harriers’ Jonny Taylor, Nick Swinburn and Lewis Timmins have already received their selection letters after filling the first three positions in the championship.

Durham’s Dan Garbutt fourth and Dan Jenkin sixth, are almost sure to be joining them.

The only other Sunderland Harriers’ who look to have a selection chance for Birmingham are Jessica Fox, who finished tenth in the under-17s woman’s race and Sean Mackie who filled the same position in the under-15 event.

Again, they need to turn out at Pontefract to put their form on the line.

The senior women’s selected three are Durham’s Rosie Smith, Emma Holt (Morpeth) and Alex Sneddon (Jarrow and Hebburn).

Houghton Harriers have a batch of youngsters who could be on the team coach for Birmingham.

Henry Johnson was fourth in the under-13s and Eva Hardie was also fourth in her under-13 race. They both should be selected when the selectors meet after the Northern Championship.

Eva’s twin sister Lily eighth and Anna Pigford 12th are also on the verge of a place on the under-13 nomination list.

Alex Brown in fifth in the under-15 boys’ race will be looking to gain selection after his fifth place on Saturday and a season of good performances.

The North Eastern Counties Athletic Association has awarded the 2015 North East Championship to Sedgefield Harriers.

They will be held in East Park on the outskirts of Sedgefield on Saturday, December 12.

Saltwell Harriers host their 10k road race on Saturday from Saltwell Park (11.30). The race is full and no entries will be taken on the day.

On Sunday, the Loftus Poultry Run takes place.