For the fourth year in succession, Morpeth Harriers Male athletes produced excellent performances to win the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League Sherman Cup competition, at a warm Temple Park, South Shields, on Saturday 10th October 2015.
Having two on the day team victories, one second place, and two third places from the five counting events, earned them a ten point margin victory over fierce rivals Gateshead Harriers, who took solace in winning the Davison Shield with their Women’s squad, a competition which saw Morpeth finish seventh, mainly because they ended up short of a third counter in the Under 15 Girls squad, which was more to the pity, because the two who did turn out and competed ran very creditably.
One more Under 15 Girl to merely finish would have guaranteed Morpeth Harriers fifteen team Silver medals, however lack of turnout after being promised ended up with disappointment for the club,and for those who did participate.
The best performance in Morpeth’s Sherman Cup effort definitely came from their Senior Men, who were very dominant in a record field for the competition, a total of 460 finishers.
It was also a superb day for Lewis Timmins, who eventually took the lead from Durham City’s Dan Jenkin, to take individual victory, but firstly he also had to shake off the close attentions of fellow Morpeth Harrier Sam Hancox, who ran the race of his life to finish an excellent and much deserved second.
This meant that both Timmins and Hancox earned on the day Gold and Silver individual medals, and for Hancox it was his second medal in a fortnight, having won his first, a Bronze, at Tanfield in the opening fixture.
Third place and Bronze on this occasion went to Tyne Bridge Harrier Marc Fenwick, who very much tried to close down Hancox in the final run in.
Morpeth Harriers winning count was confirmed by Karl Taylor, last week’s inaugural Kielder Half Marathon winner, who managed to outkick early leader Jenkin for fourth place, and joined Timmins and Hancox in his clubs success.
Other prominent Morpeth Harriers Senior Men’s performances came from Ian Harding (8th), Chris Smith (12th), and Jordan Scott (15th). Further Morpeth Senior Men’s performances came from Tony Lewis (50th), Ryan Green (56th), Mark Cockburn (86th), James Young (109th), and Andrew Richardson (236th).
Morpeth Harriers Under 15 Boys won their team race by a margin of twenty points from Tynedale Harriers, to add to the clubs winning Sherman Cup success. They were led home by Harrier League debutant Rory Leonard, who very nearly earned himself an individual medal, when he finished a very close fourth. Further excellent team support came from Taylor Glover (7th), and Ross Charlton (10th). Ross was hotly pursued by his Morpeth Harriers club colleague Connor Marshall, who finished eleventh. The club were certainly well supported in this age group, with another six facing the starter, making a total of ten in the 62 strong field of finishers.
Further results came from Daniel Melling (20th), Jordan Hedgecock (25th), Matthew Waterfield (26th), Alex Cunningham (34th), Brad Brown (42nd), and Sam Bradley (55th).
Kieran Hedley certainly maintained his excellent individual form when he finished second to the strong running Alex Brown of Houghton in the Under 17 Men’s event. He led Morpeth Harriers to second team place on the day behind a rampant Durham City squad, with further good team support coming from Jacob Hopkins (12th), and Josh Burton (17th). Not far behind Josh was his club colleague Adam Shewry, who finished 21st.
Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Boys, led by Thomas Cunningham (6th), finished as third team on the day behind Durham City and Gateshead Harriers. Supporting counts in this age group came from Dylan Davies (24th), and Alex Porteous (32nd).
A total of seven athletes from the club competed in this age group, with further performances coming from Jack Barrett (34th), Aaron Haldane (51st), Josh Adams (54th), and Reece Garrett (65th).
Morpeth Harriers Veteran Men, who competed within the Senior race, finished as third team in a separately scored age group from Over 40 upwards, and confirmed the club as overall winners of the Sherman Cup. Team counters were John Butters (3rd) (36th), Paul Waterston (10th) (63rd), and Alistair MacDonald (42nd) (140th).
Other Morpeth Harriers finishers in this section were, Mike Winter (47th) (150th), Mick Skeldon (53rd) (161st), Jim Alder (60th) (174th), Peter Scaife (91st) (228th), Richard Kirby (140th) (307th), and Paul Bellingham (172nd) (353rd).
Recent form has certainly shown Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Girls to be big players to the occasion, and Saturday’s Davison Shield effort proved to be no exception, with both Holly Peck and Lily Heaton winning themselves individual Gold and Silver on the day, with very little time factor between them. The winning team count was completed by Rhiannon Hedley, who finished an excellent seventh. This proved to be Morpeth Harriers only female team win on the day.
The clubs combined Under 17/Under 20 Women squad were their next performers, finishing second to a strong Birtley trio.
They just beat third placed Gateshead Harriers by one point, courtesy of excellent runs by Alison Brown (8th) (5th U/20), Charlotte Jewell (12th) (7th U/20), and Abby Sheldon (16th) (9th U/17).
Other Morpeth Harriers performances in this event came from Lizzie Rank (17th) (10th U/17), and Amber Cormack (23rd) (9th U/20).
Morpeth Harriers Senior Women finished as third team on the day behind first placed Gateshead Harriers, and second placed Durham City. They were led home by Josie Cram, who has had a lengthy spell of inactivity due to injury. Josie ran well to finish seventh, and received further excellent team support from sisters Catriona and Lorna MacDonald, who finished 16th and 21st respectively.
Other Morpeth Harriers performers in the Senior Women’s event were Jane Briggs (75th), Shuna Rank (118th), and Lesley Chapman (130th).
Ellie Coxon (9th), and Gracie Hufton (13th), both had excellent runs for Morpeth Harriers in the Under 15 Girls event, which had a total field of 55 finishers. Sadly no third Morpeth Harrier faced the starter, which meant that the excellent efforts of Coxon and Hufton were in vain, as lack of a third counter deprived the club of a team score in the event.
Not only sad for the aforementioned Morpeth Harrier Under 15 Girls, but also for the whole team of scorers who lost out on team medals because of one no show, after a definite promise of turnout. That fact was not lost either on the much disappointed Morpeth Harriers Team Manager Mike Bateman, who felt most despondent afterwards.
Seven runners in all from Morpeth Harriers took part in the non scoring Under 11 events which opened the ten event programme. No less than five from the club took part in the 74 strong Girls race. First home here from the club was Sophia Cunningham, who finished 39th. Next to finish from Morpeth was Lauren Garrett, who finished 43rd. Keira Peck was next home from the club, finishing in 51st place. Completing the Morpeth Harriers contingent in the Girls event were Alice Heaton (69th), and Ellen Davison (74th).
In the Boys event, James Tilley and Callum Rowell were prominent finishers in 7th and 8th places in a total finishing field of 64.