Sunderland Harriers have been crowned Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League Senior Men’s champions after the cancellation of the final fixture due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The season has been disrupted with postponements and two cancellations, due to flooded car parks and the Druridge Bay fixture, at the end of March being called off.
The Harrier League statement said: “We will be postponing the NEHL presentation until September, or before the start of the new season.”
“In accordance with League rules the individual grand prix will now be the best of three performances from the four fixtures (Wrekenton, Aykley Heads, Alnwick Castle and Lambton Park). The team Grand Prix stands from all four fixtures.”
“It has been a challenging season for the NEHL, with torrential rain affecting three fixtures this season to the Covid-19 virus bringing the season to an abrupt end.’’
Sunderland clinched the men’s title at the final fixture at Lambton Park with their second win of the disrupted season following their success at Alnwick on February 29th.
They also had their first winner of the campaign in Liam Taylor. And by placing their six counters inside the first 28 finishers they romped home for their win with Sean Mackie in 11th, Craig Gunn 17th, Kris Cantle 23rd, Steve Gordon 26th and Sam Thurlbeck 28th.
This is Sunderland’s first league title win since 2016 and their 26th triumph since 1980. They are the only club to have retained their First Division status since the league’s inception.
Over 40 athletes were involved in the promotion campaign with record turn outs being seen.
First Division League Table:
1 Sunderland Harriers 9pts,
2 Elvet Striders 13,
3 Blaydon 18,
4 Wallsend 20,
5 Morpeth 21,
6 Gateshead 22,
7 Tyne Bridge 25,
8 Heaton 26,
9 North Shields Poly 33,
10 Durham 39.
Durham and North Shields are relegated to
Division 2. Birtley and Gosforth are promoted to Division 1, while Sunderland Strollers and Blackhill Bounders are relegated to Division 3. Washington finished 7th and Houghton Harriers were 8th. Jesmond Joggers and Saltwell are promoted to Division 2.
Houghton Harriers won the Under-17 men’s league by beating Morpeth by one point and Durham were third and Sunderland sixth.
Sunderland finished fifth in the Under-15 table.
In the women’s league Tyne Bridge won the First Division title by five points from Morpeth.
Tynedale and Gosforth are relegated. Wallsend and Jesmond Joggers were promoted to the First Division. Sunderland Harriers finished fourth and Washington were sixth.
Claremont won the Third Division title and Jarrow and Hebburn finished second. Sunderland Strollers were 10th.