A GOOD club turnout, laced with a number of excellent individual performances, saw Morpeth Harriers win the Davison Shield and finish runners-up in the Sherman Cup on Saturday, writes George Patterson.
In the Sherman Cup (men’s competition), unless there are any further result revelations, they just lost out by a mere point to arch-rivals Gateshead Harriers despite having enjoyed a team win by their Under 13 Boys and second placing by their Senior Men and Under 17 Men.
The Davison Shield (women’s competition) brought a surprise, however, a very much welcome team victory on the day by their Under 13 Girls.
On the individual front, there were excellent victories by Jonnie Nisbet (Under 17 Men) and Sarah Wilkinson (Senior Women), although in Wilkinson’s case it was a shock as she was unaware that long term leader Danielle Hodgkinson of Wallsend had in fact gone off course and had lost so much ground she ended up in 10th place overall.
Afterwards, Wilkinson was honest enough to feel some remorse for her unfortunate rival and claimed that she had definitely done enough to have won the race comfortably.
To gain success in these competitions, clubs have to ensure full turnout in all four races by each gender.
In the Sherman Cup, only two other clubs apart from Morpeth Harriers achieved this, Gateshead and Sunderland Harriers, however in the Davison Shield, Morpeth were the only club to fully compete.
On the day at Temple Park, South Shields, Morpeth’s Under 13 Boys clearly dominated and they were led home valiantly by their club road champion Jacob Hopkins, who finished third after just losing out for second in the run in.
He was very closely followed home by Kieran Hedley in fourth place and the scoring count was very ably completed by Leon Craggs, who on his debut placed 15th.
Morpeth Harriers’ Under 17 Men put up a very game fight to finish as second on the day to Gateshead.
They were led home by Jonnie Nisbet, who after a close first lap battle won a battle of wits with Gateshead’s Barry Maskell to eventually create a handsome victory margin of 51 seconds.
Good supporting counts came from Philip Caldwell, who finished 16th and who bravely got round with the agony of a painful leg injury which may unfortunately see him absent from competition for a considerable period, and Sam Hancox who finished 18th.
The club’s Senior Men finished in second team place to Gateshead. They were led home by a much rejuvenated Matt Nicholson, who came through well to finish third.
Good supporting counts came from Michael Dawson (seventh) and their Road and Cross Country Team Manager David Swinburne, who produced one of his best performances for some time when finishing 15th.
Finally on the male side, Morpeth’s Under 15 Boys — who were minus the talents of Ryan Green and Elliot Kelly — finished fourth on the day.
They were led home by Philip Winkler, who ran well to finish fifth. Supporting counts came from Jarod Lewis (12th) and Andrew Allan (23rd).
The best Morpeth result in the Davison Shield on the team front came from their Under 13 Girls, who finished first.
They were led home by Abbie Elliot (13th), with supporting counts coming from Olivia Priest (15th) and Georgia Priest (17th).
Next best team result came in the Under 15 Girls, who were third on the day. Their first finisher was Alison Brown (seventh), with further support coming from Charlotte Jewell (18th) and Jennifer Tynemouth (26th).
Morpeth Harriers’ Senior Women finished as fourth team led home by the winner Sarah Wilkinson, with excellent further support coming from Kate Chapman (18th) and newcomer Abi Bagshaw — whose debut performance to finish 30th in a field of 117 finishers opened a few watching eyes.
It was good and refreshing to see Club Secretary Mike Bateman’s efforts to turn out a team of Under 17/Under 20 Women pay off, as they added to the club success on the day by finishing as fourth team.
They were led home by Ailsa McGregor, who despite a lack of recent competitive activity came through well to finish in eighth place.
Further excellent team support came from Lucy Shuttleworth (11th) and Polly Jeffrey (25th).
Other club performances not aforementioned were as follows.
SHERMAN CUP — Under 13 Boys: Philip Kirby (23rd), Samuel Williams (31st); Under 15 Boys: James Heppell (27th), Hans Paulsen (38th); Under 17 Men: Matthew Levison (20th). Senior Men: Gary Jones (17th), Paul Waterston (28th), Tom Brookes (36th), John Woods (80th), Rob Hancox (140th).
DAVISON SHIELD — Under 13 Girls: Harriet Grace (27th), Lois Scott (28th); Senior Women: Marie Drosdowicz (34th).
Morpeth Harriers had two competitors facing the starter in the non-scoring Under 11s event at Temple Park.
Mark Booth finished ninth and Ellie Ferman was 28th.
l Morpeth Harrier Serod Batochir gained a qualifying time for the London Olympics when he clocked an impressive 2hrs 14mins 39secs when placing sixth in the annual Beijing Marathon on October 16.
He was also the first non-African to finish the race.