SUNDERLAND Harriers go into the final fixture of the North Eastern Harrier League at Wrekenton on Saturday needing a good team performance to ensure their first division status is maintained.
The senior men are sixth in the league and six points off a relegation spot, although there is still a slight chance that they could go down.
They are one of two clubs, Wallsend is the other, that have never been outside the first division since the league was split into three divisions 20 years ago.
Team manager Albert James said: “We do not want to lose such a proud record. We will be turning out a team that should be good enough to keep us safe. It is very tight at the bottom and we can’t afford any slip-ups.”
Low Fell are bottom and look certain to go down and the club that could be joining them could be between five.
The bottom of the table looks like this: 5 North Shields 28pts, 6 Sunderland Harriers 31, 7 Heaton 32, 8 Wallsend 33, 9 South Shields 35, 10 Low Fell 42.
The team will be headed by Craig Isherwood, who was the fastest overall runner at the last league race at Alnwick at the end of last month.
He has put himself in contention for the leagues grand prix prize, being just four points behind the leader, Gateshead Harrier Conrad Franks.
Isherwood is also involved in his club’s grand prix where he is just one point behind leader, Paul Redman.
A good performance at Wrekenton will see him go home happy with the possibility of two first prizes.
The six contenders for one of the five prizes in the Sunderland Harriers’ club grand prix with their points score are: Paul Redman 54pts, Craig Isherwood 53, Alan McManus 50, Judith Thirlwell 50, Tony Allinson 49 and Dean Phillips 46.
Sunderland Strollers women need a good performance in the women’s first division to avoid being dragged into a relegation place.
They are third off the bottom with Birtley looking certain for the drop on 48 points. Blackhill Bounders have 40 and the Strollers 35.
Sunderland Harriers’ under-17 men’s team has only to turn-up to lift the league trophy for the first time since 2009. The club’s athletes that have made it all possible to end the season with a top of the league performance are: Chris Bell, Johny Howe, Mark Smith, Jack Smith, Nick Kileen, Alex Mitchell, Sam Harris, Jack Tallentire and Kyle Howard.
Houghton Harriers have three young athletes in contention for a league grand prix prize. Alex Brown is second in the under-17 men’s table, Henry Johnson is second under-13 boy and Eva Hardie is third under-13 girl.
All three athletes will miss the final league meeting on Saturday, as they are representing the county in the English Schools’ Cross Country Championship at Blackburn.
The event takes place at Witton Park and eight athletes represent Durham in each of the age groups.
The teams with reserves are:
Junior Boys: Jamie Reed, Matthew Phillips, James Martin, Cameron Quinn, Max Harris, Matthew Smith, Jack Baines, James Hopkinson, Jack Mullen, Caleb Ellis, Ryan Watson, Oscar Burney,
Intermediate Boys: Alexander Brown, Joseph Bradley, Michael Wade, Sean Mackie, Jack Donnelly, Cameron Allen, Ben Tinkler, Ben Lambert, Cameron Stainsby, James Rainbow, James Wood, Kieran Moffat,
Senior Boys: Oliver Watson, Joe Armstrong, Liam Emmett, Jordan Fenwick, Elliot Kelly, Corey Fenwick, Alexander Brown, Jonathan Howe, Kieran Walker, Mark Smith, Benjamin Potter, George Rudman.
Junior Girls: Stella Jones, Eva Hardie, India Pentland, Hannah Raw, Sophie Robson, Lily Hardie, Ellie Phillips, Jessica Leslie, Jennifer Reed, Tegan Hewitt, Eve Southern, Rino Sebastino,
Intermediate Girls: Katie Gunn, Olivia Bateman, Francesca Salter, Katie Noble, Marie Lynn, Lola Tindle, Mikayla Jordens, Amelia Leslie, Rebecca Mott, Lizzie Cramb, Grace Oliver, Rebecca Browne,
Senior Girls: Emily Alderson, Jessica Fox, Francesca Best, Dominika Iwaniuk, Alice Campbell, Alex Tweddle, Anna Roberts, Eleanor Daglish, Aoife Smith, Emily Robertshaw, Anna Sandbach, Shannon Ross.