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The Stirling Highland Games was voted a huge success with a crowd of 5000 making their way to Stirling Sports Village on a glorious sunny afternoon.

The crowd, swelled by hundreds of overseas visitors created a magical atmosphere for the competitors.

On today's evedence these games have the potential to be one of the biggest in Scotland and surely the promoters must start looking for a bigger venue to stage the future years.

With prize money increased from the previous year there was good entries for all the track and field events.

The days top prize was the £300 on offer to the winner of the Open 90 metres handicap, after a closely contested final it was Greg Kelly, East Kilbride AC[7.75m] who landed the spoils collaring his club mate Martin Barr[11] who had qualified as a fastest loser on the line. Cameron Smith[10.5],Central AC finished close up in 3rd place. Geoff Keen,[13.75],Ryan Houen,[9] Cardrona and Laura McCracken[17.5],VP Glasgow made up the six runner final.

The 200 metres was a ding dong affair, only 7 metres seperated the 6 finalsists at the start of the race and it was even less at the finish with Liam Halliday[34],Central AC winning the dash to the line from David Rae[37],Hawick with current SHGA points league leader Geoff Keen[37] in third, Martin Barr[35] again made the final along with Kevin Wilson[37], Kelty and Malcolm McPhail41], Bury, the latter having last run on the games circuit 10 years ago.

With 16 runners the 400 metres was a real cavalry charge, it was Craig Robertson, Pitreavie AC who emerged as the victor, 2nd and 3rd to be confirmed[forgot to note them!]

The distance races were boosted by 8 English runners from Oxford University who were introduced to the games circuit by Ross Matheson,Lasswade who was also among the entries. Ross is currently back home in Scotland from studying in New Mexico.

The visitors had to settle for minor prizes in the 800 metres where victory went to the ever consistent Willie Bates, Tullibody who battled all the way to the line to hold off Craig Robertson with the first of the English contingent Tom Frist in 3rd..

Last week at Perth the Oxford guys made games history by filling the first three spots in the 3200 metres handicap, they were to exceed that feat at Stirling in the 1600 metres handicap, with five black vests streaming over the finish line one after the other. It revived memories of Michael Dickinson's extra-ordinay achievment of training the first five horses home in the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Joshua Entwhistle[145], Felixstowe RR led his countrymen home followed bt Wayne Mycroft[140],Oxford,Jake Shelley[60],Shaftesbury Barnet, Chris McGurk[125],Oxford and James Taylor[165],Northumberland. Dean Whiteford,Innerleithen who had competed at the Kirkcaldy Waterfront Games in the morning thwarted an English clean sweep of the prizes by finishing in 6th place.

The Youth athletes provided the crowds with excellent entertainment as they watched backmarkers Kieran Halliday, Central AC and Cameron Henderson, Edinburgh AC give away huge starts in the 200 metres and 400 metres events. In the 200 metres where they were giving away starts of up to 45 metres the pair of them who both ran from the 15 metres mark flashed over the finish line in unison with Henderson getting the verdict, Ben Morrozzo,Hawick[53] finished third.

Henderson, who also won both the Open Long and Triple Jump competitions produced another superb run to win the Youth's 400 metres, running from the 30 metres mark he had to run all the way to the finish line to peg back front marker Stephen Bates[125]Menstrie with Rob Henderson[85] brother of the winner in third.

Samantha Turnbull[20] made the journey up from Peebles a profitable one with victory in the Youth's 90 metres handicap as she held of the late challenges of Cameron Henderson[7] and Kieran Halliday[8] in 9.87.

Recent Bridge of Allan winner Lewis Dow,Pitreavie AC was once again in the winners enclosure with victory in the Youth's 800 metres from Scott Douglas, Forfar and Fergus McConnell,USA.

There was two firsts in the cycling events, Ross Kier,Newburgh won his first ever race on the circuit with victory in the 800 metres from James Melville,Dumbaron and Steve Jackson,Glasgow.

Then just like buses along came his second win, this time in the 1600 metres handicap, he couldn't make it the hat trick however in the 3200 metres where James Melville raced to victory. The second cycling first came when Kirkcaldy rider Paul Gallacher won his first ever Deil tak the Hindmost getting the better of James Melville in the race to the line.

There was a good field of 8 heavy event competitors, Craig Sinclair,Drumoak won the 22lb shot putt, 28lb and 56lb weight for distance. Bruce Robb,Oakley was the victor in the 16lb shot while Kyle Randalls,Grangemouth once again ruled supreme in the both the 16lb and 22lb hammer contests. After breaking 2 cabers and having to saw a bit off the third Stuart Anderson,Lochearnhead finally emerged the winner.

An impromptu decision to run kids races and overseas visitors races proved to be an overwhelming success with in the region of 150 in the kids races, 70 runners and 50 runners respectively in the male and female overseas races.

Must keep the highland dancing people happy by mentioning that they also had a huge entry, competition had started when I arrived and it was still going on when I left!.

Published: 2015-08-15 22:16:53