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Competitors battle conditions to put on a show at Stirling.

Shane Fenton reports from Stirling Sports Village.

Despite the ground conditions being the worst many of the competitors had ever experienced the big crowd who turned up at the Stirling Highland Games still enjoyed an afternoon of thrilling action and exciting finishes.

An already squelchy surface was made worse overnight by a spell of torrential rain which left the arena waterlogged in places which soon turned to mud when the events got underway.

When the 800 metres running[2m 10s] handicap is run in a faster time than the corresponding cycle race[2m 11s] lets you know how testing conditions were. Never have I seen the bikers so exhausted at the end of their races with almost all saying it was the toughest terrain they had have ever encountered at a games.

The runners coped better and the crowd were treated to some exciting races. Both the Open and Youth 90 metres finals were decided by the evidence of the camera.

The Open 90m photo showed that Samantha Turnbull TLJT[22m] had just held on to take the £250 prize by the narrowest of margins from John Paxton Hawick[21m] and Greg Turnbull Jedburgh [9.5m].

Four runners flashed over the line in unison in the Youth 90m with Aaron Glendinning Leithburn[17.5] getting the decision over his club mate Stefan Nightingale[15m] and recent St Andrews and Bridge of Allan winner Lucy Denholm Clydesdale AC[22m] in third place.

There was a father/son 1 – 2 in the final of the Open 200 metres with John Paxton just holding off his son Daniel with David Allan Clydesdale AC in third. Stefan Nightingale who was runner up in the 90m went one better in the Youth 200m as he burst clear off the final bend to take the tape ahead of Tommy Beck TLJT and Rory McDonald Leithenburn.

There was exciting finishes to both the Open and and Youth 800 metres handicaps.In the Open race it looked as if Ron Loewen[70m] Canada[ had timed his run to perfection, after reeling in the field he only had Rory Dowd Oban[100] to pass, as they entered the home straight the Canadian moved onto his rivals shoulder and looked set for victory only for Dowd to find a bit more and force himself over the line in first place. Loewen took second with David Allan[100m] in third.There was a big field for the Youth 800m which saw Aaron Glendinning Leithenburn[140m] maintain his fine vein of form to take the win from Mattie Fleming Kelso[175] and Oscar Robertson, Clydesdale AC[220m].

Ron Loewen who has been over from Canada for the past month competing on the games circuit finally won a race. Again starting from the backmark of 90m he came through the field to take the tape in 5m 09s with the figures again emphazising how testing the ground was. Rory Dowd[125m] finished runner up with Rebecca Burns[240m] Edinburgh AC in third.

Loewen will compete in his final games at Crieff tomorrow before heading home to Canada.

With underfoot conditions deteriorating the 400s were a war of attrition. David Allan took the win in the Open race from Greg Turnbull and Daniel Paxton with Mattie Fleming coming home in front in the Youths' race from female duo Anna Suttie Anstruther and Erin McFarlane Pitreavie AC.

The Long Jump was won by David Allan with Rory Dowd the victor in the Triple Jump.

Nine cyclists including three debutants contested the four races on the card. They must surely have been the four slowest races of all time as the riders battled through the bottomless ground. The rider who coped best was Paul Gallacher Kirkcaldy who made a clean [well hardly clean] sweep of all four races. James Melville Alexandria followed Fifer Gallacher home in each race. Edward Fletcher Grantown on Spey had three third place with Flora Gillies Peebles also bagging a third place.

The heavy events were dominated by Kyle Randalls Falkirk who won all seven disciplines.

Published: 2019-08-17 21:37:56