Swinburn battles to Nick victory

The Sherman Cup once again unearthed a talented young athlete when Nick Swinburn battled to a superb senior victory.

The Sherman Cup once again unearthed a talented young athlete when Nick Swinburn battled to a superb senior victory.

Twelve months ago, Gosforth's 17-year-old Lewis Timmins was victorious on the same South Shields course and on Saturday it was Morpeth Harrier Swinburn, also 17, who took individual honours after beating off the persistent challenge of Stewy Bell.

Swinburn, British junior fell running champion, has progressed immensely this season and has shown he is equally adept at cross-country despite being a relative novice.

After being in the leading group for most of the six-mile contest, Swinburn found himself out in front after four miles with Bell having moved menacingly into second place after a rather tentative start.

Bell moved into pole position a mile from the finish but that was the signal for Swinburn to show fighting qualities.

Swinburn regained the initiative and came home seven seconds clear.

"Once I went to the front on the last lap I thought that was that," said Rothbury-based Swinburn.

"When Stewy caught me I was really concerned. He went past me but I managed to get ahead of him again which gave me the confidence to go on and win.

"I'm really pleased to have won, especially to beat Stewy, because he has been a top-class runner for a long time and also because I haven't run many senior races."

Ross Floyd, another Morpeth teenager, finished in third place.

Once again Morpeth took the overall honours to win the Sherman Cup for a fifth consecutive time, while the female team comfortably retained the Davison Shield.

And, to make it a memorable day for the Northumberland outfit, they produced the winning individual in all eight races contested.

While there was no doubt Swinburn's victory was deserved, there was a touch of fortune for Jane Mooney, the winner of the senior women's event.

Mooney looked the likely winner at the half-way stage of the race but was overhauled by Sunderland's Louise Noble with a mile to go.

The Wearsider then opened up a gap of around 20 metres approaching the finish but she stopped running a metre from the line and, with Mooney chasing hard all the way, was overtaken.

"I thought I had crossed the finish line," said a crestfallen Noble. "It was confusing where the line was but I definitely thought I had won."

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