The Male contingent from Morpeth Harriers were the toast of the club at a very windy and blustery Temple Park, South Shields on Saturday 28th October 2017, as they won the Start Fitness sponsored North Eastern Harrier League Sherman Cup competition for the sixth year in succession.
Despite the very testing condition, they managed to pull off two on the day team victories, a second, third and fourth place, amongst the five events on offer, which cumulatively gave them a ten-point margin win over second placed Durham City Harriers, with Gateshead Harriers another thirteen points further adrift in third place.
Amongst those performances the club also had three individual on the day Male medallists.
Unfortunately, a general poor turnout thwarted any efforts by the club to mount any challenge in the accompanying Davison Shield competition for Female athletes, where they could only complete a finishing team in two of the five qualifying events, the combined Under 17/Under 20, and Veteran Women’s,
which saw a fourth team place, and a team win respectively.
Those who did turn out however in the Morpeth Female section, are to be praised
for their efforts, where they also produced three individual on the day medallists.
Now to the action itself, and perhaps not unexpectedly the clubs
Senior Men pulled of a handsome on the day team victory by
eighteen points over Durham City Harriers,
with Gateshead Harriers a further three points adrift in third place.
They were led home by Carl Avery, who won with just over a minute
to spare from Jarrow and Hebburn’s Andy Burn,
with Durham City’s Dan Jenkin a further twelve seconds adrift in third place.
Avery, Burn and Jenkin all collected on the day individual
Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals as a result of their achievements.
Morpeth Harriers had excellent team winning support to Avery from
Jordan Scott and Thomas Straughan, who finished ninth and tenth respectively.
Competing separately in the Men’s event were the clubs Veterans,
who finished third behind Elswick Harriers and Sunderland Harriers, who were level on points.
The Morpeth Veteran Men were led home by Over 40 athlete
John Butters, who was 24th overall, and was second in his category.
Further team support came from Phil Walker (89th) (20th Vet), and Paul Waterston (107th) (25th Vet).
Other Morpeth performances in the combined Men’s event were as follows
George Lowry (12th), Robert Balmbra (14th), Chris Smith (16th), Andrew Lawrence (25th),
Alistair Douglass (34th), Tony Lewis (53rd), Andrew Hebden (61st), Mark Snowball (83rd),
David Nicholson (111th) (1st O/60 Man),
Gavin Bayne (181st) (2nd O/60 Man),
Kenton Duffield (202nd) (33rd O/45 Man),
and Richard Kirby (233rd) (40th O/45 Man).
Led by event winner Rory Leonard, Morpeth Harriers Under 17 Men enjoyed a superb nineteen-point margin on the day team victory over Gateshead Harriers, with Durham City a further eight seconds adrift in third place.
Leonard won with forty-five seconds to spare over club colleague Taylor Glover, to take an individual Gold medal.
Glover meanwhile just outsprinted Gosforth rival Patrick Donald to take individual Silver.
In turn, Donald just held off the close attentions of Morpeth’s Joe Ramshaw,
who was attempting to make it a club one, two, three.
Nevertheless, the placings of Leonard, Glover and Ramshaw sealed the excellent on the day team success.
Other Morpeth Under 17 Men performers were Matthew Briggs (8th),
Connor Marshall (12th), and Brad Brown (19th).
Another excellent Morpeth Male team result came from their Under 15 Boys,
who finished second to Houghton, losing out by a seven second margin,
beating Durham City into third place on countback,
owing to them finishing level on total points.
The club were led home by very promising athlete Euan Duffin, who ran well to finish sixth.
Further team support came from Dylan Davies (10th), and Ben Walker (12th).
Other Morpeth runners in this event were Andrew Hudspith, James Gilholme, and Jack Findlayson,
who finished in 21st, 26th, and 50th places respectively.
A very pleasing performance by the clubs Under 13 Boys, saw them finish a very close on the day fourth,
behind Blackhill, Billingham Marsh House, and Gateshead Harriers.
They were led home by recently crowned club champion Ryan Davies, who finished fourteenth.
Further team support came from Joseph Hudspith (22nd), and Bertie Marr (23rd),
who as mere lightweights, battled hard through the difficult elements.
Other Morpeth performers in the Under 13 Boys event were Callum Rowell (33rd) and Dylan Walker (35th).
A somewhat disappointing turnout by Morpeth females, was compensated by the superb on the day performances by their Veteran Women, and three individual medallists, Two Gold, and one Bronze.
On the team front however, the club could only finish eleventh in a competition
won by Gosforth Harriers for the second year in succession.
Jane Hodgson of Morpeth took the Veteran Women’s Individual title,
when finishing second to Newcastle University athlete Amelia Pettitt,
who also has links with Cheshire club Vale Royal.
Hodgson also led her club to team success in the event, with further support
coming from Gemma Floyd (5th) (2nd Vet), and Helen King (46th) (23rd Vet).
Another Morpeth Harrier well to the fore in the Women’s event was Josie Cram,
who finished sixth, just behind Floyd, however had no other Senior Women
club colleagues for company to mount a team challenge.
Other Morpeth Women in competitive action were Jane Briggs (93rd) (11th O/45 Woman),
Sue Smith (117th) (8th O/50 Woman), Jilly Bell (134th) (16th O/45 Woman),
Carol Parry (195th) (33rd O45 Woman), Lesley Chapman (235th) (4th O/60 Woman),
and Claire Hiscock (284th) (45th O/40 Woman).
Led by Under 17 athlete Gracie Hufton, who finished a close third in the
combined Under17/Under 20 Women’s event, Morpeth finished fourth in
on the day team affairs behind Gateshead Harriers, with Sunderland Harriers
and Gosforth Harriers in second and third spots.
Hufton was pleased to take an on the day individual Bronze medal, after battling closely
with Gosforth supremo Rhian Purves throughout the majority of her two-lap event.
Individual victory and Gold medal in this event went to Elswick Harriers Under 20 athlete Robyn Bennett.
Supporting Hufton in the Morpeth team challenge were Ella Duffield (13th), and Kay Errington (28th).
Also competing in this event for Morpeth in this event was Kirsty Duffin, who finished thirtieth.
Holly Peck compensated herself for not having any Morpeth team support in the Under 15 Girls event,
by winning the race by a margin of five seconds from Houghton’s Lydia James,
to take an individual on the day Gold medal.
James, meanwhile led her club to a rampant on the day team victory.
Only two Morpeth athletes lined up in the Under 13 Girls event.
Mia Belton and Faye Archbold finished in 22nd and 51st places respectively.
Two Morpeth Harriers lined up in the respective Under 11 non-scoring events.
Keira Peck, younger sister of Holly finished ninth in the Girls event,
and Sam Dent finished fourteenth in the Boys event.
Both are the clubs newly crowned Under 11 Road Champions.
During the proceedings, shortly before the Senior Women’s event,
athletes, and spectators alike, paused to honour long serving North East Counties Official Margaret Watson
with a minute’s applause, in respect of her sadly passing away following a short illness in the week previous.
She will be very sorely missed by many athletes and fellow officials who knew her,
and deepest sympathies are expressed to her close family and friends at this sad time.