Monday 9 January 2023

Sherman Cup and Davison Shield Report


MORPETH Harriers are reluctant to relinquish their hold on the Sherman Cup having come out on top for the 10th consecutive time while Tyne Bridge Harriers confidently retained the Davison Shield at Temple Park, the home of the post Christmas contests.

The Northumbrians were just one of three clubs to field teams in all six sections to finish with 14 points overall after coming out on top in both the under-17 and senior events to finish ahead of Sunderland Harriers (24pts) and Tyne Bridge (27pts).

Meanwhile, in the Davison Shield competition, Tyne Bridge was the only outfit to close in teams in all six races to total 28 points. Elswick Harriers finished runners-up but unfortunately the Newburn-based club failed to close in a team in the senior women’s section while in a commanding position. North Shields Poly were in a similar position after leading the way in the under-20s and Masters’ but disappointingly missed out scoring in the under-15 and seniors.

Tyne Bridge Ladies win for the second year running

Over 1,000 competitors descended on the South Shields venue less than a month after the County Championships with the course set out in the usual opposite direction and while the majority of the circuit was relatively dry there was a really muddy section which proved a real test as the day unfolded.

Of course, while the competition is to find the strongest all-round teams there were some eye-catching individual performances. 

Sherman Cup

In the senior men’s race, North Eastern Counties XC champion and 2020 Sherman Cup winner, Calum Johnston (Gateshead) ran away from the opposition to win by nearly two minutes with Middlesbrough and Cleveland’s Greg Jayasuriya finishing runner-up ahead of Blyth’s Josh Fiddaman who handled the conditions really well to finish ahead of many seasoned performers.

Video of the Senior Men by Ken Maynard

After catching up with Johnson, who used the event as part of his build-up to the Seville Marathon at the end of February, he said: 

"I’m running for England next weekend in Valencia over 10k which fits in nicely before the marathon and then I’m off to Portugal for a week or so warm-weather training which, hopefully, will see me in good shape come the end of next month.’’

First over-35 home was Gateshead’s Conrad Franks, who finished in ninth place overall while first over-40 was Ben Cook of North Shields Poly.

In the under-17 race it was a clean-sweep of medals for Morpeth with victory going to William De Vere-Owen who finished four seconds ahead of Ryan Davies with Liam Roche a further nine seconds behind in third place. NE Counties champion, Ben Sproats (North Shields Poly) finished fourth. Morpeth, who had six athletes home in the top eight, came out on top of the team section with maximum points ahead of Darlington and Gosforth.

In the under-15 event NE champion Jacob Brown (Middlesbrough Mandale), running as a guest, continued his winning way to finish 15 seconds clear of the Poly’s Daniel Watson with Blaydon’s Robert Atkinson completing the one-two-three a further 11 seconds adrift. North Shields Poly, claimed the team section finishing ahead of Durham City and Tyne Bridge.

Heaton Harriers’ Alexander Smith led the way home to win the under-13 race, crossing the line 17 seconds clear of Morpeth’s Ewan Line with Wallsend’s Kasper Pearson a further four seconds adrift in third place. Blaydon, led home by fourth-placed Aaron Johnson, came out on top to win the team section ahead of Morpeth and Darlington.

Davison Shield

In 2010 Jane Mooney won the senior section of the Davison Shield, now 13 years on as Jane Hodgson, she repeated that victory in fine style leading the 300-plus field home from the off. Now lining up as an over-40 athlete, the Morpeth Harrier defied her age to lead throughout the four-mile contest.

 Fellow Northumbrian Rachelle Falloon came through strongly on the second circuit to claim the runners-up award while Charlotte Penfold, who finished in sixth place in the Commonwealth Games 800m final in Manchester with a life-time best of 1min 59.75sec, showed her liking for the Davison event to claim third place ahead of former junior xc international Justina Heslop (Elswick). Jesmond Joggers, led home by Laura Chapman, came out on top in the senior team section ahead of Tyne Bridge and Sunderland while North Shields claimed the Masters’ section ahead of Elswick and South Shields.

Durham City’s Charlotte Dillon continued her season’s good form to win the combined under-17/20 event finishing 33 seconds clear of Holly Waugh (NSP) with Morpeth’s Millie Breese completing the podium places. North Shields Poly claimed team victory ahead of Gosforth and Tynedale.

North East champion Zara Jones (Darlington) repeated her December success with a comfortable win in the under-15 section crossing the line 22 seconds ahead of Gosforth’s Annie Hutchinson with the Poly’s Anna Johnson a close-up third. Gosforth won the team section finishing ahead of Elswick and Morpeth.

As it’s been all season the all-conquering Birtley squad claimed all three individual awards in the under-13 age group with Olivia Murphy proving the stronger on this occasion to cross the line 35 seconds clear of Nell Graham who held off her fast-finishing twin sister Kitty by four seconds. In the three-to-score team section Birtley finished with maximum points with Darlington just edging Gateshead for second place.

Try Cross Country 

Once again “Try Cross-Country” events for under-11s were incorporated into the day’s action though not part of the overall scoring and once again it was North Shields Poly’s Noah Penfold who crossed the line in first place in the boys contest finishing ahead of Darlington trio Ollie Curran and Daniel Callaghan. 

In the girl’s competition it was another Birtley one-two with victory going to Poppie Phillipson who finished five seconds clear of team-mate Izzy Hall with Isla Coker (Phoenix Flyers) holding off Elswick’s Mille Robson by two seconds to claim the bronze award.


**Once again a huge thank you to South Shields Harriers for hosting the event and to all their marshals who supported the competitors throughout the day; to the first aid team; and to the NEHL committee and all the officials who were at their posts well before the first event until the last athlete had crossed the line later in the day.



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