Sunderland Harriers’ senior men, who topped the First Division after the opening fixture of the North Eastern Harrier League at Wrekenton at the end of last month, struggled at Druridge Bay on Sunday.
They finished ninth of the 10 competing First Division clubs and now have dropped from first to third in the league on 10 points, behind leaders Morpeth with three points and Tyne Bridge on five.
It was always going to be a difficult task in trying to repeat their Wrekenton performance with a much weakened team for the handicap six-mile race.
Only one of the winning team remained in the squad and he ran another superb race to finish the club’s second counter running from the fast pack and giving away a five minutes start to the slow pack.
Ian Dixon, a 41-year-old veteran, finished 35th in 33.20 for the fifth fastest time overall and heads the veterans grand prix after clocking the two fastest times from the two events he has competed in.
Leading the Wearsiders home was new member David Wilkinson who finished 20th from the slow pack in 37.33.
Then it was left to Darren Stokoe in 101st (39.52), Paul McLachlan 167th (40.58), Paul Redman 170th (41.00) and Peter Shaw 240th (42.06) to end the scoring. There were 564 finishers. The fastest runner was Morpeth’s Sam Hancox who got through to sixth from the fast pack in a time of 31.14.
The Sunderland Harriers’ women’s team, who won promotion to the First Division last seaso,n are finding the going tough. They equalled their seventh place of the first fixture but drop to second off bottom of the league with 14 points with Alnwick below them on 20. North Shields are top on five points.
With last weeks’ runner-up Jenna Wilkinson competing in the Great Cumbrian Run and finishing sixth woman with 1.34.17, it was Over-45 slow pack runner Judith Thirwell that led the team home, this time in 19th (30.59), then came fast pack athlete Alice Smith who recorded the third quickest time overall (26.28) behind Wallsend’s Danielle Hodgkinson who won the race in 23.49.
Over-50 Michelle O’Neil was the next Sunderland scorer in 53rd (31.50) and last team counter was Allyson McCourt in 32.44.
Sunderland Strollers’ senior men moved up to eighth in the Second Division after finishing fifth in their league. Their team counters were Jamie Collin in 13th (37.09), Andrew Forbes 21st (37.42), John Cook 95th (37.16), Mark Anderson 115th (35.16), Ken Maynard 121st (40.22) and Edward Sweeney 166th (40.57).
The Strollers women are lying in 10th in the Third Division after finishing sixth team and being steered home by Gillian Ritchie in seventh (29.18) and Hasina Khanom in 16th (30.48).
Washington are going well in the same division and are lying in third place after their team finished third. Heading their scoring was Julieann Castling in 28th (31.14) and Sarah Turnbull in 30th (31.15).
Houghtom Harriers, who are also in the Third Division, had Marguerite Harvey as their first counter in 26th (31.10).
The Houghton men, who finished third in the Third Division, saw Lee Dover leading them from the fast pack in an actual time of 34.21 for 73rd position.
Houghton Harriers youngsters had some good performances with Henry Johnson having his second race in two days and winning the Over-17 Men’s race and leading the team to third place with backing from Izaak Taylor in 20th and Jack Seeney 22nd. Sunderland Harrier Cameron Lawton was fourth.
The Houghton Under-15 Girls team finished second after Erin Keeler Clarke took third and was backed by Amy Leonard in ninth and Nicole Phillips 21st.
Sunderland Harrier Shenali Scott, making her league debut, won the race.
In other events, Houghton placed Joseph McGinley in second in the Under-11s event, Brandon Pye was third Under-13 and Laura Megan Greggs third Under-17.