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Athletes thrill the crowds at rain battered St Andrews

SHANE FENTON reports from Station Park

This seasons Highland games circuit has enjoyed a summer of sunshine and high temperatures, For the organisers of the 34th St Andrews Highland Games, sadly that wasn't the case on Sunday as the rain battered down on Station Park for much of the afternoon,

The inclement conditions however failed to detract from the standard of competition. The distance races saw the highest quality of fields seen on the games circuit for a number of years while the sprint events, both open and youth saw a strong contingent travel up from the Borders .In the heavy events the current top three competitors in the World were in action with Charles Fletcher who the previous day claimed the Scottish 800 metres title at Halkirk headed a good field of cyclists.

The Open 90 metres handicap was run off in six heats with only the winners going through to the final which carried a top prize of £200. In a thrilling finish the photo determined victory had gone to Ryan Elliot Hawick who inched home ahead of Steven Park,Edinburgh and Charlie Carstairs Lasswade AC.There was Borders success in the Youth 90 metres handicap with victory going to Finlay Douglas who got up to touch off Andrew Napier Clydesdale AC with Sean McMichen Hawick in third.

Three runners lunged for the tape in the Open 200 metres handicap with Charlie Carstairs getting the call ahead of Douglas Young Kelso and Steven Park. The first three home in the Youth's 200 metres was similar to the 90m with on this occasion Sean McMichen taking the tape ahead of Finlay Douglas and Andrew Napier.

There was a top notch turn out of 16 runners in the Open 800 metres handicap with a number of Scotland's leading middle distance runners in the line up. The rain soaked crowd winessed a tremdous performance from backmarker Luke Traynor Giffnock North who came from last to first to snatch victory in the last strides from Ewan Dyer Pitreavie AC who looked all over the winner as they entered the straight. Dundee athlete Jamie Crwe running for Central AC won the battle for third place.

An equal number of runners went to their marks for the Youth 800 metres which produced a female first two with Hannah Steel Lothian RC taking the tape ahead of Anna Suttie, Anstruther and Jai Patterson Hawick.

The Open 1600m and 3200m handicaps saw Luke Traynor currently one of Scotland's top endurance runners go on to land a treble. In the 1600 he worked his way through the field to come home ahead of Alex Carcas Edionburgh AC and Jamie Crowe. Running from the scratch mark in the 3200 metres and giving away big starts to his rivals he stopped the clock in an excellent time in the conditions of 9m 24.81s, Alex Carcas was again runner up with Robert Sparks,Fife AC in 3rd and Rebecca Burns Edinburgh AC in 4th place. Traynor's triple winning success saw him retain the Athlete of the Day trophy. One of the biggest cheers of the day came for Archie Suttie Anstruther who raced to victory in the Youth's 1600 metres handicap ahead of Mattie Fleming Kelso and Hannah Steel Lothian RC.

There was a double on the day for Charlie Carstairs who added to his 200 metres win with victory in the Open 400 metres handicap powering home ahead of David Allan Balloch and Craig Bruce Selkirk.

For the first time this season the cyclists had to overcome wet and slippy under-wheel conditions, thankfully there was no mishaps. The 800 metres was won by Paul Anderson Perth from Ian Hepburn Cairneyhill, Davy Mathieson Newburgh won his first race of the campaign in the 1600 metres. The 3200 metres saw victory go to Scottish champion over that distance Charles Fletcher Grantown on Spey his brother Edward chased him home with James Melville Alexandria in third.There was a further Fletcher 1 – 2 in the Deil tak the Hindmost with Charles again taking the win. There was only two Youth cyclists competing, brother and sister Roubens and Heidi Thomson from the Grampian Tigers Club. Roubens won the 800m and 1600m with Heidi first in the one lap race.

The wet conditions also made it a difficult day for the throwers a strong field included World champion Lukasz Wenta, World Caber champion Scott Rider along with Kyle Randalls and Vlad Tulacek who set a new ground record in the 56lb weight over the bar. Stil awaiting full heavy event results.

Published: 2018-07-29 22:00:40