Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Morpeth's Big Day Is Relay Disappointing; Depleted Squad Misses out on Road Title at Sutton Park

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Morpeth's Big Day Is Relay Disappointing; Depleted Squad Misses out on Road Title at Sutton Park

Article excerpt

MORPETH Harriers will have to wait at least another year to win the National 12-Stage Road Relay Championships.

However, late withdrawals due to illness and working commitments meant David Swinburne's charges were always going to be up against it.

"Once we lost Ian (Hudspith) and Richard Morrell I thought then our chance of a medal was slim," said Swinburne, who is still confident Morpeth will eventually come out on top some time.

"So, the target then was to pick up a Northern medal and I am happy to say we achieved that by finishing runners-up behind Leeds City.

"Finishing in ninth place overall was quite commendable.

"I was especially pleased for the two lads who stepped in at the 11th hour.

"Mick Thomsen was only asked at 7am if he could make it to Birmingham and he jumped at the chance and he has been rewarded with a silver medal.

"That goes for Tom Straughan as well so overall ninth place is not too bad at all."

Morpeth were lying in 24th place (Matt Nicholson) at the end of the first changeover but teenager Jonny Nisbet improved to 20th on stage two.

Nick Swinburn cut through the field on stage three to hand over in 11th place, though late replacement Straughan slipped back to 14th after his stint.

Michael Dawson also lost ground on stage five to hand over to Graeme Taylor in 18th position.

Taylor hauled back six places prior to Jonny Taylor improving a further five places on stage seven with one of the day's fastest long legs.

Veteran Neil Wilkinson and Lewis Timmins consolidated seventh place on legs eight and nine before Thomsen was overhauled by just one rival on stage 10.

Ross Floyd also dropped back one place on leg 11 and it was left to Ryan Stephenson to bring the team home in ninth and be rewarded with his squad's fastest short-stage time. …

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