Morpeth Harriers' Men retain Sherman Cup

Morpeth Harriers Men retained the Sherman Cup at Temple Park, South Shields on a blustery Saturday afternoon while the club’s Women finished fifth in the matching Davison Shield competition.

By Keith Hamblin
Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 9:53 am
Matty Briggs on his way to winning the Senior Men's race in the Sherman Cup on Saturday, with coach Jim Alder MBE watching.
Matty Briggs on his way to winning the Senior Men's race in the Sherman Cup on Saturday, with coach Jim Alder MBE watching.

An annual test of the overall strength of a club’s resources, the Sherman Cup, for male Seniors and Juniors, and the Davison Shield, for female counterparts, offers opportunities for competition over cross country in some five categories: Under 13s, U/15s, U/17s, Senior and Veteran athletes, with the first three in each category for each club to count.

Holders of the Sherman Cup from the last time it was held in 2020, Morpeth were looking to repeat their success but faced as expected some stiff opposition from many of their local rivals, including Gateshead Harriers, Sunderland Harriers, North Shields Polytechnic and Gosforth Harriers.

In the event there were two individual and two team victories, which, when added to other scores, meant the club triumphed by a narrow margin over nearest challengers Elswick Harriers with Gateshead finishing in third place.

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The first individual victory came in the U15 boys, with Joe Close first home and supported by Oliver Tomlinson in 3rd and Elliot Mavir in 17th, the team finishing in 2nd place.

The first team victory came as expected in the U17 boys, with Bertie Marr heading the Morpeth charge this time in 2nd place, Ryan Davies in 4th and Matt Walton 7th, with James Tilley 9th.

There was a good turn out in the U13 boys, with Daniel Vermaas first home for the club in 23rd, followed by Thomas Roche in 24th and Evan Laude 25th, putting the team in 6th place.

The Senior Men’s race saw a dominant performance from Morpeth, with the club’s second individual victory coming from Lancaster University student Matthew Briggs with a gun to tape victory.

Briggs was chased for much of the race by club colleague Sam Hancox until an unfortunate collision at half way saw Hancox take a tumble. He did well to maintain 4th position but did unfortunately finish outside the medals. The team’s final counter was Tom Innes in 12th.

Morpeth finished on 24 points ahead of Elswick Harriers in 2nd on 31 and Gateshead Harriers in 3rd on 40.

Despite not fielding full teams in all five categories, there was the consolation at least of one team victory in the Women’s Davison Shield competition, with a strong turn-out from the club’s Senior Women producing a comprehensive triumph.

North East Counties Champion Cat Macdonald was beaten into second for the first time this season by Elswick’s Amy Fuller, who finished some 30 seconds ahead with a strong run.

In America, Morpeth’s San Francisco Academy of Art student James Young, ran a remarkable 3:55:20 for the indoor mile at the Music City Challenge in Nashville, Tennessee. Tulsa University student Scott Beattie ran 7:49.43 for 3 kms at the Badgers Windy City Invite in Chicago.

Over the same weekend, Oklahoma student Rory Leonard also ran a PB of 8:12.52 for the same distance at the Husky Classic in Seattle.