Haydn Hedydd Davies leading after 3 laps in 1964 AAA 3000m


My time with Sale Harriers Manchester 1971-73

In 1971 we moved from Edgware in London to Hartford in Cheshire. We were there for two years. In that period, I was a lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry at Mid Cheshire College of Further Education at Hartford (2 miles from Northwich). Eiddwen my wife was a lecturer at Crewe College of Education. We were both members of Northwich Welsh Society

I joined my third English athletics club Sale Harriers which was on the Wythenshawe side of Manchester. Sale Harriers, just like my previous clubs Birchfield Harriers and Thames Valley Harriers was an outstanding club and competed in top class cross country, road races, road relays and athletics competitions. When I was in London, I was appointed a Southern Counties Staff Coach for the steeplechase event. I was also appointed as the Northern Counties Staff Coach for the steeplechase when I moved to Hartford.

Living in the North was a little different to my time in the Midlands and the South. Fell and mountain running was very popular in the North and I competed for Sale Harriers in the Three Peaks race and Chevy Chase race. I was good at running up hill but very poor coming down as I was up against mountain running specialists who could fly downhill as if they were mountain goats. When I came back to Carmarthen in 1979, I did find my Northern mountain running experience some help as in 1980 I won the Sarn Helen sixteen and half mile race, Ras Beca and was first veteran in the Snowdon race.

In 1975 when we were on holiday in America, I competed in the Pikes Peak marathon race. This race stated at 7am in the morning in Colorado Springs at a height 6,800ft and then up all the way to the summit at 14,010ft. The first part of the run was through the forest and then on to the bare rock at 10,000ft. The day before the race I had travelled from New York to Colorado Springs and therefore had no time to acclimatize.

After a slow start I steadily ran through the field to arrive at the summit in seventh place. It was difficult running back down and my lack of downhill running experience showed as I was passed by several runners to finish in 21st place in 4 .19 hours. It was one of my hardest races and certainly was an experience. I suffered afterwards from a sunburned neck and shoulders.

Sale Harriers like Birchfield and Thames Valley Harriers took part in events throughout the year. In the winter I competed in all the Manchester and District League cross country races, the Midlands cross country championships and the English National cross country championships. I competed also in the Welsh cross country championships and for West Wales in the UK inter county cross championships.

Sale Harriers also was a very organized club run by dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers. On two occasions the Club organized two attempts at breaking the 24 hour 10 man world relay track record. The attempt started at 12 noon on the Saturday and finish at 12 noon on the Sunday. On the first attempt we went off a bit too fast averaging 4.40 each for the first few miles. We only had about 50 minutes rest between each run and every one of us had to run about 20 + fast miles in 24 hours. The period between midnight and six am in the morning was tough going. The pace dropped considerably, and it was difficult to run 5.10 miles. This is when club team spirit helped, and we all felt better at day break. If my memory is correct, we came very close to breaking the world record at our second attempt.

Again, a tremendous example of team organization and team work            

When I was with Thames Valley Harriers in London, we took part in a similar team event. This time it was a 100 x 1 mile race. I can remember the Valley having a strong team out with several British international distance runners in the team. Another fine example of club comradeship which is what club athletics should be. Also, an example of close team spirit was the numerous road relay events we took part each spring. The two big ones were the Manchester to Blackpool Road Relay and the National London to Brighton Road Relay. Both races were 12 stage events. The first six teams in the Northern Manchester to Blackpool relay race qualified to compete in the National London to Brighton Road Relay.

On two occasions I was on the opening stage out of Manchester. The 12th stage was the 7 mile run to the finish at Blackpool Tower. The whole team would stay the night in Blackpool. There would be tremendous competition amongst the team members for places in these relay teams.  I had the honour of making all these teams. We travelled down to London on the Saturday with the race starting the following day from Westminster. On one occasion I was second fastest on the second stage. The team coaches would all follow the race dropping runners off at the appropriate take over point. It was a great spectacle and a wonderful experience with a total of 20 club teams, (6 from the South, 6 from the Midlands, 6 from the North and two from Scotland) battling it out to reach the finish line at Brighton.

Sadly, increasing road traffic and on the advice of the police these classic road relay races came to an end and the qualifying Area road and the National event were transferred to closed road venues. I remember in 1973 running the first stage for Sale Harriers in the National Road relay final in Sutton Park Birmingham and then running again for Sale the following day in the 22 mile Three Peaks race and helping Sale to finish second in the team race.

We trained hard and we raced hard. I would every day go out early for a run in the morning and after college work in the evening. Long runs were done in the beautiful Delamare Forest which was nearby. The summer time was also a period competing for Sale Harriers in the British Athletics League matches and Welsh Championships and road races.

I was only two years with Sale Harriers, but it was an experience not to be missed. It was a great club to be a member of. It was a very well organized Club with great spirit on and off the track. Excellent Club Dinners organized by volunteers. I was a proud winner of a few of their club championships and extremely grateful for the help and support I had from the Robertshaws. In 1973 I moved back to London when I was appointed an assistant education officer with the London of Hillingdon (Boris Johnson’s constituency now)

Sale Harriers gave me a beautifully engraved stop watch on my departure.

It reminds me of my two happy years with the Club.

Hedydd Davies

26 February 2021

More Information below:-


It is with great sadness that I report the death of a much respected former coach and volunteer Barry Wilkinson due to Covid 19 complications.

Barry assisted Eric Hughes for some years in team management and also assisted in coaching sessions at Wythenshawe Park. He eased off these duties when he developed a lung infection which troubled him for some considerable time.

Barry's daughters, Michelle and Lynne, competed for the Club for many years and Michelle was GB U20 international.

Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and associates.


Harriers Photo 15 Mar21

Barry with Eric Hughes and the European womens team. (Eric is the one next to Harriet the elephant).


Be aware that Sale Harriers is very cautious and will not endorse any activity that falls outside of the latest guidelines.

Please continue to socially distance from fellow athletes and the public at large, please do not congregate in groups at any time, larger than that allowed by England Athletics and the government. Wash your hands when changing locations and do not shake hands or hug your friends even though you may not have seen them for some time. Masks to be worm when inside our facilities.

Watch out for updates on our facilities and access to train.

Tatton 10k 11th October 2020

It was a beautiful morning and fantastic racing at the Tatton 10k, with PBs all over the place.

Stellar performance from Laura Barber, 2nd Lady and smashing her PB by going well under 40 minutes (39:23).

In the men’s race there was a cracking battle between Conor Donaghy (36:19) and Phil Richardson (36:31). Conor pulled away with 1k to go but both got superb PBs.

Matt Spragg was next home but just beaten on chip time by another strong run from Rob Fairbanks.

Impressive runs also from Simon Jackson and Jon Smalley, who deservedly broke the 40-minute barrier for the first time.

Zoe Gmerek (41:47) had a super run and was second V45. Katherine Barker was 3rd Sale Lady, before a great PB from Caroline Wheeler (48:24), and then Caroline Kinghorn.

Thanks to Brian Goulden and Lee Kaufman for their support on the course. Great to see so many Sale Harriers out!


PHIL RICHARDSON      36:32 PB (by six minutes!)
ROB FAIRBANKS          36:58
MATT SPRAGG            37:08 (3rd V45)
SIMON JACKSON         37:55
LAURA BARBER           39:23 (2nd lady)
ZOE GMEREK              41:47 (2md V45)


2018 startrack 1

The Battle for Crossford Bridge

I hope that you and your family are all well in these ongoing testing times for us all. I wanted to take this opportunity to furnish you with some facts around the last few months discussions and proposals from Sale Sharks to develop on Crossford Bridge.
As you may now be aware Trafford Council have formally withdrawn their support for the proposals and this will be made even more formal by the Council’s Executive Committee on Monday 28th September.
I wanted to take this opportunity to also provide you with some factual details that will hopefully clear up some of the PR bluster created by Sale Sharks and their PR consultants. My aim here is to re-assure you that the Club has acted in your best interest at all times during these discussions.
I will not apologise that it is a ‘bit of a read’ however you will find it an informative, honest and most of all factual, account of what has happened in recent months.
To make you aware, Crossford Bridge is managed by Crossford Bridge Management Association (CBMA), made up of Sale Harriers, Old Alts FC and Sale United FC.
9th June – Sale Harriers were notified by online meeting requested by Trafford Council in conjunction with MC2 (Sale Sharks’ appointed PR consultancy) that there were aspirations by Sharks to return to Sale and build a ‘Community Sports Village’ on Crossford Bridge. This was the very first we were made aware of such intentions. At this stage MC2 attempted to drive a wedge between the CBMA by approaching each Club separately and promising each of us that we would benefit over the others. They clearly did not expect us to work together so strongly.
11th June – just 48 hours after notifying the CBMA, MC2 and Sale Sharks went public in a very big way stating they were ‘coming home’ to Sale and would be building a Stadium at Crossford. Sharks’ publicity for this included Sky Sports News, BBC Sport and local media coverage in a big way.
It turns out, unsurprisingly, that MC2 had been appointed by Sharks in October 2019 to plan their PR campaign. So immediately you can see the way that their approach was going to be, their professional PR consultants had 8 months to prepare a campaign whereas we (your merry band of volunteers) had 48 hours.
In the following few days a lot of meetings took place internally in the CBMA. It was agreed we would put out a joint statement with Sale Sharks and Crossford Futures. We agreed this as it then gave us 6 seats on the ‘Working Group’ which would be directly involved in the design/discussions of the development. We felt this was a key aspect of us understanding Sharks’ plans and aspirations as early as we could.
19th June – a meeting took place involving members of the CBMA, MC2 and Trafford Council representative. It was clear during this meeting that the development was not going to be a ‘Community Sports Village’ no matter how they spun it but it was to be a development based around a 10,000-12,000 Rugby stadium, and then they would see if they could fit us in.
The rest of June and July was extremely busy and saw a lot of things occurring including;

  • Leaflet drops to over 5,000 houses in Sale
  • Leaflet hand outs on School Road
  • BBC Radio Manchester interview
  • Meeting with Andrew Western (Leader of Trafford Council)
  • Meeting with multiple Councillors of all parties
  • Meeting with newly created Residents committee to create a joined-up approach to fighting these proposals

Further meetings also took place with elements of the Sharks’ wider consultant network including MC2 and also a leisure consultant. The leisure consultant was meant to ascertain the current facilities at the Club as well as the plans going forward. All this person ended up doing was undermining all we have achieved as well as going behind our back to other sporting and associated groups in Altrincham (for some reason!) to belittle us.
5th August – The first scheduled meeting of the Working Group took place over Zoom. The parties involved were;

  • CBMA members
  • Wrenbridge (stadium developers)
  • Crossford Futures (vehicle set up to push forward the proposal)
  • MC2 (Sharks’ PR consultants)
  • Leisure Consultants
  • Sharks’ appointed Architect

It was at this stage that solid information was exchanged and, I think, that they began to realise the size and scope of the task they had.
Let me provide you with some facts here. You may recall that an online consultation promoted by Crossford Futures ran from late June through July. It was there to invite as many respondents as possible to engage with their thoughts (for/against) on the proposed development. The consultation received the following;

  • 2,363 respondents of which 1,138 lived in M33 postcode. 
  • Of the 2,363 respondents, 1,731 were Sharks’ supporters, and only 812 of those Sharks’ fans live in M33. 
  • They also received 290 email comments, of which 124 were from M33 and 60 were Sharks fans.

Personally I would have expected much larger respondent numbers, especially given a petition set up by one of the residents (and mother of one of SUFC players, Catherine Perrin), gained over 4,500 online signatures.
This Working Group meeting also enabled us to see the initial concept designs created by the architect, which I will still keep as confidential by not sharing publicly. However I will say the following;

  • The stadium covered most of the current grass pitches and was situated next to the A56.
  • There were 286 (I think) car parking spaces, all for the use of Sale Sharks.
  • Sale Harriers lost their 400m track and it was replace by a 60m track
  • There was a provision for a 3G pitch, but overall lost the equivalent of a full size grass pitch. The footplate for the 3G was not to required size.
  • The space left in between pitches was insufficient in that there wouldn’t even be enough space between them to put nets up.
  • We had no car parking provided
  • No café provided
  • No building equivalent to our current office facilities
  • No storage for all equipment for all 3 Clubs
  • There was no road access on the design
  • No trees were left remaining on the site
  • None of the design was to scale

So you can imagine the reaction of the CBMA.
In the days following this initial meeting Sale Harriers worked with England Athletics (our governing body) and Sport England to provide Shark’s architect with the absolute minimum requirement that would be legally acceptable. Sale United FC and Old Alts Fc did the same via Football Foundation, supported by Cheshire FA. This information was sent to the Architect by 17th August.
The Clubs received no further dates to meet, nor any updates on amended designs, from the Working Group at any stage.
The PR machine was in full swing now as you may recall, promising such things as a climbing wall, healthcare, community based wellness facilities, conference and meeting facilities, adventure play area for children, all embedded in their so call ‘Community Sports Village’.
Their were multiple meetings and conversations with Andrew Western (Leader of the Council) to ensure that the CBMA, all our members and the local residents were involved and informed.
Andrew Western had remained strong on his approach to this from day one. As the Leader he has to encourage investment into the borough but he did say form the start that if the Clubs and residents were not in agreement then it would not go ahead.
16th Sept - The Council formally withdrew their support of the proposals meaning an end to the plans of Sharks’ to build their stadium on Crossford Bridge.
In the last week or so since that announcement you may have seen multiple PR angles from Sharks’ including on local TV reports. I did see an article in the Manchester Evening News which stated that the development would have brought the following;

  • A Floodlit 4g pitch
  • A new running track
  • A new sprint track
  • Grass pitches (playable all year round apparently)
  • Community Pavilion
  • Cycling and teaching hub
  • New walking and running routes
  • A café
  • Community space
  • Children’s climbing and activity centre

I would like to reassure every single one of you that this would have been physically impossible on Crossford Bridge! It is also worth noting that at no point did they actually mention the building of a stadium, despite all this being exactly for that reason.
And all of this alongside £100m investment. We still have no idea who was going to pay for all of this. Just to give you an idea of COST, not investment, it was estimated to cost them £10m-£15m to simply ready the site to build on. So their statement of £100m of investment will have been more like £100m of COST.
I also watched Steve Diamond (Director of Rugby at Sharks’) state on TV that the ‘Clubs would have been 10 times better off’…… I hope you can see from all this information that not only would we have been worse off but we have been misled, by-passed and simply lied to by members of the Shark’s appointed consultants.
What now?
The CBMA and residents are still working together alongside the Council now to ensure the security of Crossford Bridge for generations to come. We are working with the same aim, and that is to secure ‘Village Green’ status for Crossford Bridge.
This will stop any development taking place unless it is undertaken by the Clubs (with approval of residents and the Council), meaning we are also working towards improving the facilities for all users of the site in the coming years, including a floodlit 3G and improved athletics facilities.
I would like to finish by thanking you on behalf of Sale Harriers for all your incredible support during this most testing of times. The last few months have shown we have an amazing Club here, a strong relationship with the residents, a supportive Council and, most of all, you our loyal and strong members…… the reason we do it all.


Nigel Breddy