NA Road Relay Championships Report

Men The roar wasn’t quite as deafening as when Manchester City knock in another goal but when it came over the tannoy could a Lincoln Wellington representative come forward and collect the medals for the first B team home in the Northern Athletics senior men’s relay then the excitement matched those on the terraces of the Etihad Stadium.
Lincoln Wellington had already topped the podium in the six-stage 6 x 6400m relay, just as they had done 12 months earlier, and as their squads were exiting the car park they were called back to pick up a second set of medals which capped an exceptional day for the defending title holders.
The eventual champions were back in seventh place (Aaron Scott) at the completion of the first stage as Charlie Hulson, with the days fastest overall time of the day (19:30), had Liverpool in pole position ahead of Stockport (Jack Morris) and New Marske (Dom Shaw).
On leg two the lead changed with Stockport (Jack Martin) now in control as Liverpool slipped back to second with Lincoln Wellington (James Straw) moving into a medal position for the first time.
At the completion of leg three, Liverpool (Dejene Gezimu) had regained the lead as Richard Weir brought Derby though to second place with Tim Straw consolidating Lincoln’s third place.
Going into the second half of the contest Lincoln hit the front for the first time thanks to Lucian Allison whose 19:40 stint was their sextet’s fastest of the day.
Liverpool slipped back to second once more as Stockport regained the momentum to move back into a medal spot thanks to Patrick Martin.
Leeds City who were 25th out of the 140 teams which lined up on the opening leg, were now in second place which was initially down to Philip Seaeman’s 19:31 effort, just one second short of Hulson’s fastest leg.
Shane Robinson set off for Lincoln on the penultimate leg with a six-seconds cushion which he proceeded to add another eight over Liverpool when reaching the final changeover.
Leeds moved up into third place as Stockport slipped back to fifth adrift of Derby.
Matthew Bowser, the only athlete on view not in Lincoln’s 2017 winning team, had the honour of contesting the glory leg and, despite setting off 14 seconds clear was determined not to let his team-mates down and with a 19:44 effort, his team’s second quickest on the day, proceeded to extend the advantage in a big way, so much so at the end of a thrilling day’s competition he crossed the line well over a minute clear of his nearest rivals.
Leeds City, who last lifted the trophy in 2013, moved through to claim the runners-up award with Liverpool, who had never been outside the top three throughout the contest, completing the one-two-three.
Then it was the turn of Lincoln Wellington’s B team to return to the podium to collect the winning second-string awards – they were runners-up last year behind Salford – which was greatly accepted as though they had came out on top of the contest themselves!

Women Leeds City bounced back to regain the NA senior women’s 4 x 5400m relay title after a ding-dong contest with last year’s champions Leigh Harriers.
Leeds, who won in 2016, set out their stall from the off as Stevie Stockton, with the day’s third quickest time (20:24) handing over in first place ahead of Birtley (Lydia Turner) with Blackpool W&F (Emily Japp) crossing the line in third spot.
Despite being in 11th place after the opening leg, defending champions Leigh quickly moved through to pole position on stage two thanks to the second fastest time of the day (20:22) by Lauren Howarth.
Leeds (Georgia Malir) were pushed back into second place as City of Hull (Carla Stansfield) moved through from seventh to third.
Laura Richards extended Leigh’s advantage on the penultimate leg ahead of Leeds as Rotherham moved into a medal position for the first time.
Leigh (Abigail Howarth) set off on the final stage with a 35-seconds cushion but that was immaterial to Leeds City’s Claire Duck who cut back the deficit with every stride.
By midway she was on her rival’s shoulder and she carried on the momentum all the way to the finish to cross the line 19 seconds clear of last year’s champions.
Rotherham, with Sophie Cowper putting in a sterling effort, crossed the line just 12 seconds behind Leigh to claim the bronze awards.
Blackburn, who finished in in ninth place, had new signing Jessica Judd in action and her 19:52 proved to be the quickest of the day.

Leeds City winners of the womens Northern 4 Stage Road Relay, SportsCity, Manchester. Photo: David T. Hewitson/Sports for All Pics

Leeds City winners of the womens Northern 4 Stage Road Relay, SportsCity, Manchester. Photo: David T. Hewitson/Sports for All Pics

Young Athletes
The under-13 Boys 3x3100m relay opened the day’s proceedings and it proved to be a seven-seconds success for City of Sheffield and Dearne.
The trio of Zak Ferguson, Joseph Collinson and Leni Scott were never headed throughout the contest.
At the completion of the first leg City of Sheffield headed Preston and Rotherham with positions behind them changing on leg two.
Alex Boyer moved Darlington from fifth to second as Salford moved through from seventh to third.
Despite a huge push by Salford’s Max Lowery on the final leg victory was assured for City of Sheffield.
In a tight finish for the bronze awards, Sale, who had started the day in 15th place and going into the final leg in eighth, moved through to third thanks to the equal fastest time of the day by Jack Spark (11:32), East Cheshire’s James McGraw being the other.
The under-13 girls were next up covering the same 3,100m course.
West Cheshire (Carys Roberts, with the second quickest time of the day) were in front at the first changeover ahead of Liverpool (Laura Bellingham) and Vale Royal (Alice Gale).
The Merseysiders moved ahead on the second leg thanks to Ella McMutrie as Rotherham moved from fourth to second and Chorley from seventh to third.
The positions remained the same on the final stage with Harriet Bain bringing Liverpool home 46-seconds clear of Rotherham with Chorley a further 44 seconds back in third place.
Stockport, who eventually finished in fifth position after being in 16th place at one point had the quickest athlete on view, Freya Murdoch, who recorded 12:40.
The under-15 boys faced a distance of 3,100m for their contest and it proved to be the North East’s only success.
North Shields Poly led at the first changeover thanks to Josh Blevins (11:15) with Trafford (Jack McNichol) in second place ahead of Rotherham’s Joshua Danield Wragg.
Morpeth, who were in eighth place (Ben Waterfield) on leg one quickly turned that round on the penultimate stage thanks to Euan Duffin’s efforts of 11:19.
Wirral (Will Sutcliffe) also cut through the opposition to hand over in second place ahead of Horwich (Matthew Flatters).
The Northumbrians had a 11-seconds lead going into the final stage and though Horwich’s Lucas Miliken did cut into the lead it didn’t deter Dylan Davies bringing Morpeth home in pole position.
Salford, who were lying eighth going into the final leg, moved right through to bronze medal position thanks to the fastest time of the day by Sam Hopkins (10:47).
The under-15 girls also contested three 3,100m stages and it proved to be a comfortable victory for Vale Royal despite handing over in 20th place at the end of the first leg.
Wirral were ahead at that point thanks to Ellenmary Kearney’s third-fastest time of the day of 12:28. Rotherham were in second place ahead of West Cheshire and Keighley.
Howich moved from fifth to first on leg two thanks to Lucy Dixon with Keighley moving up to second ahead of Vale Royal with Grace Roberts posting the second fastest time of the day (12:20).
Vale Royal kept their best til last and Holly Weedall proceeded to move through into first place bringing her trio home clear by over a minute with the days quickest figures of 11:45.
Longwood moved through from sixth to second to claim the silver medals with Wirral moving up from seventh to third to complete the podium places.
The under-17 men‘s 3×3,700m relay proved to be a curtain raiser for the senior contest as victory went to Lincoln Wellington.
In the end it proved to be a comfortable victory for they were back in 10th place at the completion of the first leg.
Rossendale were the early leaders thanks to Matthew MacKay whose 11:14 proved to be the quickest of the day.
Leeds City were in second place ahead of Warrington and Chesterfield.
Despite a slow start Lincoln Wellington were quickly back in their stride when Luke Stonehewer moved them through into the lead on stage two ahead of Chesterfield as Houghton moved into a medal position for the first time.
Joseph Green had no difficulty in bringing Lincoln Wellington home in first place despite a huge effort by Ethan Hussey, the Leeds City athlete producing the fastest time of the day (11:18) and settling for second spot ahead of Houghton who held off Trafford by five seconds to claim the bronze awards.
Under 17 women Vale Royal had their second championship celebration when they came from behind to claim the under-17 women’s title.
Leigh led at the first changeover thanks to the second fasest time of the day by Keely Hodgkinson. Yorkshire’s Hallamshire and Wakefield were in second and third places respectively at this point with eventually winners Vale Royal back in seventh position.
Preston moved into the lead on stage two with Eva Hardie bringing Houghton through from 11th to second as Wakefield consolidated third place with Vale Royal now in fourth.
Vale Royal were 16 seconds adrift of the leaders at the final changeover but, thanks to a superb fastest time of the day of 12:46 by Holly Smith they crossed the line in first place 40 seconds ahead of Salford with, on the day, Houghton claiming their second set of bronze medals.
Report Bill McGuirk
Photos Dave Hewitson More photos from this event are available on Dave’s own website Sport for all pic

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