SUNDERLAND Harriers’ hopes of lifting the Sherman Cup Cross Country Cup for the first time since 2000 were dashed through a technical glitch at South Shields on Saturday.
The competition, based on the overall cross country strength of clubs from under-13s to veterans, saw the Wearsiders fail to finish one of the five teams that would normally determine the winners.
The club’s under-15 boys’ failed to close-in a team and that relegated them to third place in the provisional results at Temple Park.
Indeed, not one of the 31 clubs involved in the competition finished a team in all of the five age groups, which saw a record-breaking turnout of well over a thousand runners.
Only five clubs finished four teams and Morpeth came out on top with 10 points, Durham were second with 15 and Sunderland third with 21.
Sunderland finished eighth in the under-13s team race (with counters Nathan Bland 22nd, Finn Maddison 23rd and Robert Dunlop 33rd), then third in the under-17s (Mark Smith fifth, Christopher Bell ninth and Johnny Howe 13th) and fifth senior men’s team (with Kevin Jeffress leading the club home in sixth, Steve Potts was 17th and Liam Roarty 38th).
They rounded off their scoring with fifth in the veterans (Steve Gordon 70th, Paul Merrison 81st and Paul Redman 107th). Sean Mackie fifth and James Lloyd 24th were in the incomplete under-15 team.
Durham won the under-13 team race, were third in the under-15s, second senior men’s team and ninth in the veterans.
Houghton Harriers’ best came from Alex Brown, runner-up in the under-17s, Jamie Reed was fifth boy and William Bell seventh under-13.
Morpeth’s Nick Swinburn beat Elswick Harrier Ethiopean Tadele Geremew by one second to win the senior men’s race.
In the female Davison Shield competition, Sunderland Harriers enjoyed their best ever performance in finishing runners-up to Gateshead. They were the only two clubs that managed to finish teams in each of the five age groups.
The Sunderland team were under-13s in ninth place (with Grace Mackie 24th, Lydia Stoker 47th and Jade Thirwell 50th), under-15s were fifth (Sarah Knight 16th, Abbie Little 28th and Laura Hand 29th), Under 20/17 finished second (Jessica Fox fourth, Alisha Richardson 19th and Merial Smithson 24th) and the seniors were 16th (Vikki Cotton 111th, Donna Corrigan 120th and Maria Davis 157th), the veterans’ were fourth (with Judith Thirwell fifth veteran to finish in 18th, Nicola Woodward was 29th and Caroline Fleetwood 97th).
Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon beat Morpeth Harrier Emma Holt to win the women’s race by well over a minute.
Houghton Harriers saw Anna Pigford in seventh and Jennifer Reed 11th in the under-13 race plus Eleanor Daglish ninth in the under-20/17 event.