Cross-Country: Sherman Cup and Davison Shield

Temple Park, South Shields.  Saturday 25th October 2014

With the increased number of runners taking part in this season’s North East Harrier League fixtures, it was no surprise to see a record-breaking turnout for Saturday’s Sherman Cup and Davison Shield cross-country competition held at Temple Park in South Shields.  Over 1000 athletes took part, as well as almost 150 U11s (who do not count towards the competition).  On an unseasonably warm but very breezy day, the course was very dry underfoot, making for fast times.

Unlike the NEHL races, this competition is a mass start event, with no packs and no handicaps.  It is a team competition, with results for each club across every age group, determining which club takes home the Sherman Cup (for the men and boys) and the Davison Shield (for the women and girls).  It is also the only event where the adults have separate vet and senior teams (although they both race at the same time).  The first 3 finishers for each club in each age group count towards the final team result.

In the competition for the Sherman Cup, Tynedale Harriers finished in 5th place overall, but it was a frustrating result for the club as they unknowingly fielded an incomplete team.  With plenty of seniors but only 2 vets running, they missed out on the Cup by a whisker.  Had they had one more vet, they would have been the only club to field full teams across all age groups and would have won the Sherman Cup.  This result is particularly ironic as Tynedale Harriers is traditionally very strong in the vet category but struggles to find younger runners to compete in the senior category.  The rules were confusing, but no such mistakes will be made next year!  As it was, Morpeth Harriers took the honours.  The men’s race was also won by a member of Morpeth Harriers, with Nick Swinburn beating Tadele Geremew of Elswick Harriers by one second in an exciting sprint finish.

Tynedale’s first finisher was vet Andy Green who put in his usual strong performance to finish in a time of 33:38 for the 5.7mile course, giving him 40th place in a field of over 450 runners.  He was followed home by Adam Pratt (74th) and Chris Baber (105th), both competing in the senior category.  Toby Routledge (123rd), in his first outing as a senior, was the final counter for Tynedale’s senior men.  Ian Brown finished in 177th place and was Tynedale’s second vet across the line.  Darren Towart and Michael Fulthorpe made up the Tynedale team.

Tynedale’s best result of the day was in the U17 boy’s race, which they won thanks to excellent performances by Jamie Adams, who finished in 6th place, Dominic Kilsby (8th) and Jaycee Shotton (11th).   They were one of only 3 clubs to turn out a full team at this age group.

Their U15 team also did well, with 2nd place overall.  Max Pearson comfortably won the race in an excellent time of 10:21 for the 1.9mile lap, with Chris Jackson in 11th and Joe Anderson in 16th.

There was a large field of 64 runners for the U13 boys’ race.  Aidan Pinkney ran well to finish in 14th place, followed soon after by Gabriel Morley and Joe Green.  The team finished in 9th place.

Tynedale’s women, despite having 2 incomplete teams, had a better overall result and finished in third place in the competition for the Davison Shield.  At the end of the day, the Shield was won fairly comfortably by Gateshead Harriers.

In a field of over 300 runners, vet Kirstie Anderson was first home for Tynedale, finishing in an impressive 20th place in a time of 25:49 for the 3.8mile course. Tynedale’s other counters in this category were Fran Little (44th) and Charlie Pinkney (50th).  Their strong runs gave the vet team 2nd place overall.  Tynedale’s senior women’s team was incomplete, but Helen Whitfield ran very strongly to finish in 35th place, followed by Jo Sutton in 94th.  Kim Bluck & Alison Nitsch made up the rest of Tynedale’s women’s team.  The women’s race was won by international athlete Alyson Dixon of Sunderland Strollers, in a time of 22:05.  She had a comfortable lead of 1:20 over second placed Emma Holt of Morpeth Harriers.

Hannah Pinkney continued her excellent form in the women’s U17/U20 race.  She finished in 3rd place overall, and second U17.  Unfortunately she was Tynedale’s only representative in this age group.

In a strong field of 45 runners, Ellie Bluck was first finisher for Tynedale in the U15s’ race, finishing in 19th place.  Rhianna Nitsch and Anya Herdman were the club’s other 2 counters in this race, battling it out for 32nd and 33rd places respectively.  The U15 team finished in 6th place.

In the U13 girls’ race, Tynedale fielded a huge team, with 10 out of the 68 runners coming from the club.  Honours for first Tynedale finisher went to Annie Anderson who finished in 5th place in a fast time of 12:53.  Keeley French (12th) and Bethan Nitsch (14th) helped the girls’ team to finish 2nd overall.

Despite not counting towards the overall competition, the U11s were out in force with 142 young runners wearing their club vests with pride.  Tynedale’s Ava Taperell was once again first girl home, and third overall.  She was followed by Archie Marston (34th), Nathaniel Henderson (58th), Kate Smith (69th) and Blake English (114th). The next fixture in the NEHL will be at a new venue, Akley Heads in Durham on November 22nd

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