SUNDERLAND Harriers are relying on a good performance on Saturday from their senior men in an effort to drag themselves away from the relegation mire of the first division of the North Eastern Harrier League at Alnwick.
The Wearsiders go into the penultimate league fixture fourth from bottom and four points off relegation with 29 points.
Below them are bottom-club Sunderland Strollers on 37 points, Tynedale (33) and South Shields 30.
The city club fell into the relegation battle when they suffered their worst performance for three years, finishing last of ten competing clubs in the last fixture at Wrekenton.
The Harriers have a proud record of never being out of the first division since it was formed nearly 20 years ago. They have won the league title more than any other club with 24 wins since 1980.
Club captain David Savage said: “It’s a record that we are all extremely proud of and one we don’t want to lose.
“I am making every effort to ensure we are well represented, but we will be hit by the Sunderland match at Wembley, as some of the lads will be travelling down on Saturday and missing the race.’’
The club cross country grand prix is reaching its climax with only two events to go including Alnwick.
The contenders for a top five place and a prize winning performance are: Paul Redman 54 pts, Dean Phillips 51, David Savage 50, Peter Richardson 45, Helen Higgins 41,
Steven Gordon 38, Aimee Richardson 37 and Tony Allinson 36.
Sunderland Strollers women are fourth in the first division and nine points behind leaders Gateshead.
Sunderland Harriers under-20/17 women are second behind Gateshead and just two points off the pace in their league.
Houghton Harriers senior men are bottom of the second division and face the drop to the third. The club’s under-13 girls’ are third in their league.
The fixture is staged at The Pastures. Leave the A1 slip road at sign post Denwick/Alnwick /Alnwick Garden. (You will pass Alnwick town on your left on the A1. Turn left at junction onto Denwick Road. Within 500m you will pass race Pastures entry on your right.
Continue downhill over bridge to Alnwick Garden Car Park on your left. Parking 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). There will be no race parking in The Pastures.
A problem with the lack of parking spaces at the final Harrier League fixture at Prudhoe has forced the organisers to look for another venue.
Provisional arrangements have been made to move the fixture to Wrekenton on March 22. Clubs will be asked for volunteers to help organise the event on the day.
H The North East Masters Cross Country Championships have been rearranged for Saturday, March 8, at Willington Quay.
Changing is at Howdon Boys’Club, Shaftoe Road, Rosehill, Wallsend NE28 7AL.
Entries have been opened again and close on Saturday. The event starts at 11.30am.
H Sunderland Harrier Nathan Reed, competing for Newcastle University, finished eighth in the 3000m (8.46.39) at the BUCS Indoor Championships at Sheffield.
Noel Hitchcock was 16th (61.22) and his Sunderland Harriers clubmate Alan Knebel 27th (65.08) in the Netherall 10 mile road race in Maryport.
Sunderland Stroller Rachel Ball was 5th woman (71.48).