Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Avery Good Way to Set Morpeth Up for Cup as Laura Aims for Worlds; Athletics

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Avery Good Way to Set Morpeth Up for Cup as Laura Aims for Worlds; Athletics

Article excerpt

Byline: BILL MCGUIRK

CARL AVERY laid the foundation for Morpeth Harriers to retain the Sherman Cup with an excellent victory over the five-and-a-half-mile Temple Park course in South Shields. Avery, easing back into competitive action after a pre-winter break, showed he had not lost much of his form by pulling away from his 400 rivals at the mid-way point.

In near ideal conditions, Avery and team-mate Sam Hancox were quickly at the head of affairs and, running stride-by-stride, had an advantage of 50 metres or so over third-placed Adrian Bailes at the completion of the first of three laps.

Tracking Bailes was another Morpeth duo Thomas Straughan and Robert Balmbra, who were joined by Durham City's James Askew and Jarrow and Hebburn's Andy Burn. Midway through the second circuit, Avery started to quickly ease ahead and by the start of the final lap had an advantage of 15 seconds over Hancox with Bailes continuing in third place while Burn had moved menacingly behind him in fourth spot.

Despite having a comfortable cushion, Avery continued to pile on the pressure over the final two miles and came home well clear in 29min 10sec.

Hancox continued his good run of form to finish 32 seconds adrift to claim the runners-up award while Burn proved stronger than Bailes in the closing stages to complete the medal awards.

It was a convincing performance by Morpeth who, together with their youngsters, easily retained the Sherman Cup.

To complete a memorable day for the Northumbrians, the women's event was won by double Olympian Laura Weightman with team-mate Emma Holt finishing in second place.

It was an excellent workout over the country for Weightman as she builds up for next year's World Championships.

While racing over three and a half miles is not usually on her schedule, Steve Cram-coached Weightman showed she is working hard in her build-up to earn a place for the London date next August.

After the usual charge from the gun, Weightman was quickly heading the near-300 strong field as they set off on two circuits of the fast course laid out splendidly by South Shields Harriers' members. …

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