The annual running of the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League Sherman Cup (Male)
and Davison Shield (Female) competitions were held at a sunny, very cold, crisp,
and relatively dry Temple Park on Saturday 19th November, and athletes from Morpeth Harriers
proved to be very dominant, as the club retained their hold on the former,
and finished third in the latter behind Gosforth Harriers,
who won the competition for the first time since its inception.
In the Sherman Cup, Morpeth also had three individual Gold medal winners,
two Silver Medallists, and one Bronze, and they also had three age group victories and one second place.
Led by a rampant Carl Avery, Morpeth Harriers Senior Men romped to a thirty one point margin
team victory over Sunderland Harriers, with Jarrow and Hebburn a further four points adrift in third place.
For Avery his victory was just the icing on the cake, as he strode to a thirty two second lead
over club colleague Sam Hancox, who had been well up with him during the first of three large laps.
Avery eventually broke away towards the end of the second lap.
They were joined in the team triumph by Thomas Straughan, who finished fifth,
just ahead of another club colleague Robert Balmbra, who finished sixth.
Other Morpeth Harriers Senior Men in action were Jordan Scott (8th),
Karl Taylor (13th), Jake Masterman (27th), Tony Lewis (47th),
Steve Patterson (55th), Andrew Richardson (128th), and Scott Allan (181st).
Included amongst the Senior Men’s race, were also six Morpeth Harriers Veteran Men,
who as a team finished fifth behind a very dominant North Shields Poly.
Morpeth were led home by Over 50 Veteran Tim Miley, who finished in 72nd place overall,
and was 16th Veteran Man, and also was third in his category.
Next home from the club in the Veteran Men’s section was Rob Hancox,
who was 76th overall, and was 18th Veteran, and was fourth Over 50.
Completing the Morpeth Veteran Men’s tally was Paul Brown,
who finished 121st overall, was 44th Veteran Man, and was seventh Over 50.
Other Morpeth Harriers Veteran Men in the 379 strong field were
Alistair MacDonald (150th) (62nd Veteran Man) (11th O/50),
Peter Scaife (212th) (97th Veteran Man) (7th O/55),
and Paul Bellingham (220th) (102nd Veteran Man) (10th O/55).
Kieran Hedley led Morpeth Harriers Under 17 Men home to an
emphatic win over closest rivals Durham City in their two full lap event.
Hedley won with sixteen seconds to spare over club colleague Taylor Glover,
who by his own admission produced his best performance of the cross country season so far,
to fend off close attentions from his Morpeth club colleague Rory Leonard,
winner of the previous weeks Heaton race.
The Morpeth trio enjoyed winning respective Gold, Silver,
and Bronze individual medals, to add to their team success
Such was the dominance of the overall Morpeth Harriers Under 17 Men’s performances,
that all their athletes finished in the top 21 runners in the 38 strong field.
Other Morpeth results came from Joseph Ramshaw (6th), Liam Marsh (9th),
Connor Marshall (10th), Matthew Waterfield (11th), Alex Cunningham (19th), and Josh Burton.
Morpeth Harriers Under 15 Boy Daniel Dixon secured himself a most prized individual Gold Medal,
as he led his club to an excellent team victory over Houghton Harriers.
Dixon won with twenty one seconds to spare over Houghton’s Henry Johnson,
with Wallsend’s Samuel Charlton, just edging out his Morpeth Harriers
namesake Ross Charlton for the Bronze medal.
Completing the Morpeth winning tally was Daniel Melling,
who again produced an excellent performance to finish seventh.
Thomas Cunningham and Andrew Hudspith of Morpeth finished
12th and 22nd respectively in the 57 strong field.
Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Boys were very unlucky not to be able to make
it a clean sweep for the Male section of the club,
when they finished a close second to Durham City,
only losing out by the margin of five points.
Gosforth Harriers placed third, a further two points adrift.
The club were led home by Ben Walker, who finished in sixth place,
and only a mere six seconds adrift of the minor individual medals.
Further scoring counts came from Under 13 Boys Road Champion Dylan Davies,
and Bobby Stone, who finished in 12th and 19th places respectively.
Stone just outpaced club colleague Alex Porteous to the finish line.
Porteous finished 20th.
The Under 13 Boys provided the club with an excellent turnout,
with no less than ten including the four already mentioned facing the starter.
Other Morpeth performances came from Callum Rowell (39th), Ollie Bruce (43rd),
Jack Barrett (52nd), James Tilley (53rd), Aaron Haldane (54th), and Reece Garrett (68th).
There were a total of 81 finishers in the Under 13 Boys one lap event.
The individual on the day victories by Laura Weightman and Holly Peck, were the major
highlights of a good Morpeth Harriers performance by their Female section of the club.
However, despite some excellent eye-catching performances, they could not quite match up
to the on the day efforts by winners Gosforth Harriers and second placed Gateshead Harriers,
losing out for victory by nine points, and five points for second.
They quite deservedly for their efforts however, will pick up a set of
Team Bronze medals to add to the individual tally after finishing as third team.
For Weightman it was a truly superb run, on a course that particularly supported her individual strengths,
as she won with seventy-four seconds to spare over second placed club colleague Emma Holt.
Both Weightman and Holt are in excellent form, and they seem well prepared for the challenges ahead,
particularly the forthcoming North Eastern Counties Cross Country Championships at Aykley Heads, Durham, in early December, when talents such as Rosie Smith (Durham City), Alyson Dixon (Sunderland Strollers),
and Sonia Samuels (Sale Harriers), amongst other local leading protagonists, are also expected to face the starter.
Morpeth Harriers were easy winners of the Senior Women’s team race being further supported by Josie Cram,
who finished ninth overall, however was sixth Senior, but was instantly promoted to fifth
because of Gina Rutherford’s ineligibility to currently count in team competition,
having just transferred from North Shields Poly to Jarrow and Hebburn,
having been a member of them since being a youngster.
Cram will also be in the star-studded line-up at Aykley Heads.
The other Morpeth Senior Woman in action was Catriona MacDonald who finished 11th as 7th Senior.
Morpeth Veteran Women finished in tenth team place behind countback winners Tyne Bridge Harriers,
who had a similar total points tally to second placed Alnwick Harriers.
Jane Hodgson led the Morpeth squad home in seventh place overall,
one place behind Ella Brown of Alnwick, who took the Veteran Women’s title.
However, Hodgson was first in her Over 35 category, and was supported in the
Morpeth Harriers team count by Helen King (46th) (28th Vet) (11th O/40),
and Lindsay Turnbull (73rd) (44th Vet) (6th O/45).
Other Morpeth Harriers Veteran Women in action were Jane Kirby (103rd) (62nd Vet) (24th O/40),
Jilly Bell (125th) (73rd Vet) (12th O/45), Helen Bruce (166th) (100th Vet) (39th O40),
Sue Smith (180th) (110th Vet) (15th O50), and Carol Parry (182nd) (112th Vet) (22nd O/45).
There were 286 finishers in the Women’s two lap event.
Holly Peck was Morpeth Harriers second individual female Gold medallist of the day,
when she won the Under 15 Girls one lap event by a margin of twenty-five seconds over Houghton’s Lydia James,
who had the consolation of leading her club to a team win by one point.
Meanwhile a very much in form Peck led Morpeth to second team place,
with good supporting runs coming from Lily Heaton (6th) and Lauren Cummings (8th).
Morpeth Harriers other Under 15 Girl in action was Ella Duffield, who finished in 26th place in the 50-strong field.
Undoubtedly one of the most excellent individual performances of the day from Morpeth Harriers
came from Under 17 Woman Gracie Hufton,
who finished tenth in the two-lap combined event with Under 20 Women.
Hufton led her club magnificently to third team place behind winners Gosforth Harriers
and second placed Sunderland Harriers, with further good team support coming
from Alison Brown (14th), and Abby Sheldon (20th).
Rhiannon Hedley finished fifth, and led Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Girls
home to twelfth team place in their one lap event.
Further team support came from Laura Melling (50th), and Fay Smith (61st).
Another Morpeth Under 13 Girl in action was Molly Ions, who finished in 63rd place.
In the non-scoring Under 11 Boys and Girls 1k events, Morpeth Harriers had ten from the club in action
Joseph Hudspith was the first home from the club in the Boys race, finishing ninth overall.
Not far behind him was Ryan Davies, who finished in fifteenth place.
The clubs other three athletes in the Boys event were
Harry Jackson (20th), Bruce Smith (37th), and Joe Dixon (91st).
Maisie Dickinson was first home from Morpeth in the Girls event, finishing an excellent ninth.
Next from the club to finish was Sophia Cunningham, who came home in 16th place.
Other Morpeth Under 11 Girls in action were Keira Peck (21st),
Lauren Garrett (39th), and Molly Haldane (58th)
The next Start Fitness Harrier League action will take place next Saturday (26th),
and will be held at a new course at Thornley Hall Farm, County Durham.
Action gets underway as usual at 12.15pm,