Sunderland Echo - - Sport - By Kevin Carr

A team of 48 county ath­letes will be con­test­ing the English Schools’ Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships at Tem­ple New­sham, Leeds, on Satur­day.

The num­ber cov­ers three age groups and both sexes as Durham bid to get among the hard-fought for in­di­vid­ual and team medals over the six events.

All the ath­letes have come through area, County and In­ter County Cham­pi­onships to earn their place on the Schools’ County team.

The cham­pi­onship comes at the end of a cross coun­try sea­son where many club ath­letes have con­tested National and In­ter Coun­ties Cham­pi­onships over the last few weeks.

Last Satur­day it was the gru­elling mud-bound course at Lough­bor­ough where the In­ter Coun­ties Cham­pi­onships took place and con­di­tions proved a hardy test for all run­ners.

Now just a week later, many of them have to raise their form once again for their fi­nal sor­tie on the cross coun­try front.

There was a sur­prise late call up for Ven­er­a­ble Bede pupil Josh Davis, who is now in­cluded in the In­ter Boys’ team.

Houghton Har­ri­ers’ lead­ing lights, Henry John­son and Will Bel­lamy, are in the In­ter Boys’ team and com­pete just a week af­ter their gru­elling per­for­mances in the mud splat­tered In­ter Coun­ties Cham­pi­onships at Lough­bor­ough.

The re­ar­ranged sixth and fi­nal Start Fit­ness North Eastern Har­rier League of the sea­son takes place at Al­nwick on Satur­day.

The fix­ture was sched­uled for Satur­day, March 3, but se­vere weather con­di­tions forced its post­pone­ment.

And lo­cal clubs have plenty to run for as they chase league ti­tles and pro­mo­tion at the Pas­tures.

Sun­der­land Har­ri­ers’ women’s team need a good per­for­mance to en­sure pro­mo­tion to the First Divi­sion.

They have El­swick Har­ri­ers and Crook breath­ing down their neck for the fi­nal pro­mo­tion spot, with Heaton al­ready cer­tain of First Divi­sion sta­tus. Sun­der­land are in sec­ond place on 21 points, El­swick have 22 and Crook 23.

Sun­der­land should be at full strength with fast pack run­ners Alice Smith, Vicky Haswell, Nikki Wood­ward and slow pack­ers Lau­ren Flaxen and Michele Avery, down to run.

The Sun­der­land Har­ri­ers’ Se­nior Men’s team just have to turn out a team to en­sure First Divi­sion sta­tus next sea­son.

Houghton Har­ri­ers’ Se­nior Men’s team are in third place in the Third Divi­sion and have a re­al­is­tic chance of pro­mo­tion.

Houghton’s Un­der-15 Girls’ team has been hit by some of their ath­letes be­ing on Eng­land Schools’ Cham­pi­onships duty, so they have re­cruited a sprinter to en­sure they have a full team.

They are seven points ahead of Birt­ley at the top of the divi­sion.

Di­rec­tions to the course: Take turn off to Al­nwick onto A1068. At round­about take B6341 (2nd exit) and fol­low signs to Al­nwick Gar­dens. Al­nwick Pas­tures NE66 1YU.

Former Sun­der­land Har­rier Jack Martin (Stock­port) fin­ished 14th in a per­sonal best (63.45) for the dis­tance intheLoopHalfMarathonin the Hague, Hol­land.

Un­for­tu­nately, his per­for­mance came a week too late for con­sid­er­a­tion for se­lec­tion for the World Half Marathon Cham­pi­onships.

Sun­der­land Har­rier De­clan Mur­ray im­proved his own club record in the pole vault with a height of 3.77 in the Scot­tish In­door Cham­pi­onships in Glas­gow.

Houghton Har­ri­ers and Sun­der­land Har­ri­ers were among the medals in the sec­ond Birt­ley Young Ath­letes’ Cross Coun­try Re­lays at Lord Lawson School.

Houghton were sec­ond in the Un­der-11s event with Tom Pig­ford, Ryan King and Harry Be­ston.

Their Un­der-15/17 team fin­ished third with Eva Hardie, Lara Greggs and Lily Hardie.

Sun­der­land were run­ners-up in the Un­der-15/17 with Robert Dun­lop, Josh Davis and Cameron Law­ton.

Left to right: Henry John­son cov­ered in mud dur­ing his race at Lough­bor­ough. Josh Davis, who has re­ceived a late call-up. Jack Martin, who pro­duced a per­sonal best time for a half marathon.

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