Sherman Cup bronze medal a boost for Sunderland Harriers as seniors make big impact

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Sunderland Harriers came away with the bronze medals in the Sherman Cup Cross Country competition at Temple Park in South Shields on Saturday.

And they just missed out on medals in the women’s event for the Davison Shield, finishing fourth, one point off third place.

The competition, which is decided on the overall strength of North East clubs, saw record-breaking fields in each of the events apart for the under-17 men.

The Wearsiders were trailing going into the last race, the senior and veteran men, which saw 464 finishers, but they hauled back Durham City to snatch the medals. Durham could only finish 25th team in the veterans’ race, while Sunderland were second.

This was by far Sunderland’s best performance of the day which also saw the senior team finish fifth, out of the 35 clubs contesting the competition.

The Sunderland counters were Kevin Jeffress in 17th (31min 54sec), Nathan Reed 23rd (32.12) and Andy Powell 24th (32.15). The veterans’ team was led home by Paul Blakey in fourth, while Paul Merrison was 11th and Steven Graham 16th to finish behind Tyne Bridge.

The overall race winner was Lewis Timmins in 30.18 from clubmate Sam Hancox (30.24). Tyne Bridge Harrier Marc Fenwick was third (30.26).

In the other events, Sunderland finished seventh in the under-13s with Connor Price ninth.They were 11th in the under-15 boys’ and fifth in the under-17s, with Sean Mackie seventh.

Houghton Harriers enjoyed their best ever performance, finishing in fifth place.

Their best efforts came in the younger age groups where they provided the winner of the under-13 boys event, in Henry Johnson, and finished third team. They were also third team in the under-15s, with Matthew Phillips taking the bronze medal and Matthew Smith sixth. Alex Brown was a clear winner of the under-17s race and the team finished fourth.

Sherman Cup result: 1 Morpeth 10pts, 2 Gateshead 20, 3 Sunderland 30, 4 Durham 39, 5 Houghton 43.

In the Davison Shield, Sunderland started off with ninth place in the under-13s, sixth in the under-15s and seventh in the under17/20s with Jessica Fox taking fourth place (21.29). Birtley took the first three places with Kate Waugh the winner in 19.51, Sophie Burnett was second (20.36) and Olivia Bateman third (20.45).

Sunderland’s top result came in the veteran women’s race in finishing fifth, with Judith Thirlwell in 10th, Nicola Woodward 15th and Vikki Cotton 35th.

The overall race winner was Newcastle University student Emily Stewart (21.36) from Durham’s Rosie Smith (21.48). Elswick’s Justina Heslop was third (21.50) in a record field of 320.

Davison Shield result: 1Gateshead 17pts, 2 Elswick 36, 3 Tynedale 38, 4 Sunderland 39.