Flannery stars for Tynesiders

GATESHEAD HARRIERS staged a grandstand finish to win the Start Fitness North- East Harrier League men’s team championship for the first time in a thrilling final fixture at Prudhoe.

The Tyneside club, which had slipped from the top of the table by finishing a disappointing fourth in the penultimate meeting at Alnwick, bounced back to leapfrog arch-rivals Morpeth, who could only finish third, and claim the coveted Sisterson Trophy by a one-point margin at the close of the sixrace season.

Gateshead’s top runner was 24-year-old track middledistance specialist Kieran Flannery, who took full advantage of a five-minute start in the six-mile handicap race in a rare cross country outing, to take second place behind Durham City’s former Darlington 10K winner Daniel Garbutt, who also ran from the slow pack.

The new champions had four of their six counters in the first 14 first division finishers.

They came home 39 points ahead of Sunderland Strollers, who staved off the threat of relegation at the expense of Elswick and Alnwick with their best-ever Harrier League performance.

Morpeth were a further 36 points behind in third place.

Garbutt led Durham City to the second division championship and promotion.

Host club Tynedale won the final women’s team race to end Heaton Harriers’ fouryear winning sequence.

Durham City Harrier’s Great Britain international Rosie Smith made a rare Harrier League appearance to win the women’s race from the medium pack, receiving two minutes start, beating fast pack runner Jane Mooney, of Morpeth, by just over two minutes. Mooney retained her Grand Prix championship.

Results – Senior Men (6 mile handicap): 1 D Garbutt (Durham City, Slow Pack +5 mins) 31 mins 28 secs; 2 K Flannery (Gateshead, SP) 31.52; 3 J Taylor (Morpeth, SP) 33.40. Fastest times: 1 J Buis (Heaton, Fast Pack scr) 31.23; 2 D Garbutt 31.28; 3 L Adams (South Shields) 31.50. Teams: Div 1 Gateshead 72; 2 Sunderland Strollers 111; 3 Morpeth 147. Div 2: 1 Durham City 65; 2 Tynedale 121; 3 Low Fell 144. Div 3: 1 Tynebridge 51; 2 Jarrow & Hebburn 124; 3 Blyth 138.

Final placings after six fixtures: Div 1: 1 Gateshead 12 pts; 2 Morpeth 13; 3 Sunderland 25. Div 2: 1 Durham City 12; 2 Low Fell 14; 3 Tynedale 16. Div 3: 1 Tynebridge 6; 2 Houghton 17; 3 Blyth 22.

Women (4 mile handicap): 1 R Smith (Durham City, Medium Pack +2 mins)25.01; 2 J Mooney (Morpeth, SP scr)27.07; 3 K Pearson (Hull, SP +4 mins) 27.36. Fastest times: 1 R Smith 25.01; 2 J Mooney 23.07; 3 A Snook (Jarrow & Hebburn) 23.57.

Teams: 1 Tynedale 49; 2 Sunderland Strollers 75; 3 Heaton 75. Div 2: 1 Tynebridge 49; 2 Morpeth 62; 3 Elswick 74.

Final placings: Div 1: 1 Tynedale 10; 2 Heaton 18; 3 North Shields Poly 19. Div 2: 1 Gateshead 18; 2 Tynebridge 21; 3 Blyth 30.

Grand Prix - Senior Men: 1 L Adams (South Shields); 2 D Old (Gateshead); 3 J Buis (Heaton).

Women: 1 J Mooney (Morp) 38; 2 C Simpson (J&H) 33; 3 A Snook (J&H) 31. Veterans: 1 A Dargie (Els) 39; 2 S Morley (Tynedale) 37; 3 K Anderson (Tynedale) 34.

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