October 9, 2011
Whilst the older athletes in the Club were lining up for the first Harrier League meet of the season at Cramlington, 15 of Birtley’s under 11 athletes were taking part in the Minor’s cross country races at Monkton. Birtley’s next generation of “stars” did not disappoint. With one or two having their very first race for the club they came away with a haul of medals and a lot of satisfaction having completed their races over a testing course varying in distances. This event used to be held in the early 90’s and attracted up to a thousand runners at that time. After an absence of many years it was good to see the Jarrow and Hebburn Clubs attempt to reintroduce the event to the race calendar. The first race saw the year 4 girls take to the start line with Molly Elliott (best known for her 60m and long jump exploits on track this summer) deciding to lead from the front and was never headed to cross the line in 1st place (4.23). Birtley’s Erin Oakes and Caitlin Milmore, veterans of the Junior North run were next in at 5th (4.44) and 10th (5.24). This left our very young Naomi Sheavills to show a tremendous fighting spirit finishing in 11th position (5.25). The first three counters give Birtley 2nd team position. Next up were the year 4 boys where Birtley had 2 athletes competing over a slightly longer distance than the girls. Matthew Cleugh, who had ran at Farringdon earlier in the season in the u/11s, had a tremendous run in what was a competitive race finishing in 2nd place (5.00). Chris Coulson (another of our very young atletes) battled all the way to the line finishing an excellent 9th place (6.05). Year five girls next and relative newcomers Jasmine Gill and Abbie Sheavills tackled an even longer course to finish 11th (8.03) and 13th (8.14) respectively – a tremendous effort. On to the year 5 boys where Ryan Smailes, Louis Gill and Jonny Butchart set off in the rain in what turned out to be a very competitive race. Ryan had ran earlier in the season at Farringdon and had an excellent run finishing in 4th place (7.04. Next came Louis, having his first race for the club finished a creditable 8th (7.24). Jonny – better known for his track and field performances made a tremendous effort to finish in 12th position (8.25) and close the team in to 2nd position. The “oldies” next with year 6 girls Lea Brown, Martha Laws and Macey Bradshaw ready to show that they are getting ready to step up to the under 13 age group when old enough. Lea (this year’s CYP National champion over 800m) showed her versitility by having a tremendous run to finish in second place (7.05) despite having a stitch half way round. Next came Martha (another CYP national champion at shot put) finished a gallant 4th (7.21). The ever improving Macey, who is gaining in confidence week on week, finished in 8th position (7.43) to ensure that the Birtley trio took the first team spot ahead of a strong St Alloyisious contingent. Last but not least our sole representative in the year 6 boys, Josh Harvey, had the unenviable task of running the furthest distance of the day, put in a tremendous effort finishing in 5th position (11.28) overall. To round off an excellent day for the club the efforts of all our young athletes were sufficient to be rewarded with the overall trophy for the best scoring club outside of the South Tyneside area being presented with the prestigious David Sharpe plaque to be held for a year. Thanks to all the parents who were there to support the athletes throughout the day and also coaches Alison, Fiona Debbie & Ed (accompanied by Pauline) who were extremely proud of our young athletes achievements.