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

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

Sunderland Harriers’ women’s team, who had promotion within their grasp to the First Division, saw their hopes take a battering through a disqualification in the penultimate league meeting at Thornley.

Sunderland Harriers’ Women’s Team Face Battle For North Eastern Harrier League Promotion.

After winning the team race ahead of league leaders Heaton, one of the team counters was disqualified for wearing the wrong number. And with only a full team of four turning out, that meant they failed to finish a team.

Instead of gaining one point for winning, they suffered a penalty of nine points and this put the Wearsiders 13 points behind league leaders Heaton, who have eight points.

Now, instead of challenging Heaton for the league title, they are in a promotion fight with three other clubs. Sunderland are in second place on 21 points, Elswick have 22 and Crook 23.

Sunderland Harriers’ team manager Eddie Maddison said: “It was a big blow, but we have taken it on the chin and ready for the battle ahead.

“We will have a good team out, but a couple of our fast pack, Vicky Haswell and Linda Mudford, will be missing.

“We will welcome back Michelle Avery, who carried the club flag for many years. She will be running from the slow pack and could get the team off to a good start in the handicap race.”

This will be Avery’s first Harrier League race since she last competed at Alnwick in 2013 where she clocked the sixth fastest time overall.

Since then, her racing has been confined to Parkruns after the birth of her son Henry.

The rest of the team will include captain Coleen Compson, Alice Smith, Vicki Cotton, Lauren Flaxen and Nikki Woodward.

The Sunderland Harriers’ senior men’s team look safe in the First Division in fourth place after suffering their worst result of the season at Thornley.

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

They are only one point behind second club Low Fell, with Blaydon looking the likely league champions with a three points lead.

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