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Double for Traynor at Thornton but Simpson's 50 year record still stands writes Shane Fenton

With the heatwave continuing a good crowd made their way to the Memorial Park in Thornton for the town's 165th annual Highland Gathering. Competitors for the various events came from all over Scotland including 18 athletes from the Scottish Borders. 14 riders took part in the cycling events 9 in the open and 5 in the youths. Once again there was a big entry for the highland dancing while in the centre of the main arena five heavy event competitors contested seven different disciplines.

Exactly 50 years ago to the day Olympian and Commonwealth Games silver medalist Alan Simpson from Rotherham set the British 2 miles record on the grass at Thornton, a record that still stands today. On Saturday the games were priviliged to have one of Scotland's current top ranked endurance runners Luke Traynor from the Giffnock North club take part. Running from the scratch mark in the 3200 metres as Simpson did half a century ago, Traynor turned in an excellent performance in which was very much a solo run to stop the clock at 9:22.72, outside the record but still impressive.Next midweek Traynor who recently ran a 28.31 to top the Scottish 10k rankings will contest the 5000 metres at the Morton International Games meeting in Dublin.The Giffnock man made it a double at Thornton with victory in the 1600 metres handicap. Giving away starts of up to 270 metres he gradually reeled in his rivals before crossing the line in 4:21.71 ahead of Colin Lamont,Pitreavie,John Thomson,Glenrothes and Craig Robertson,Logierait.

Ewan Bradley,Inverness has been consistent in middle distance races this season and that continued at Memorial Park with victory in the 800 metres handicap breaking the tape in 1:55.41, veteran John Thomson ran a good race to place second with Luke Traynor in third.

The three heats of the Open 90 metres produced an all-Borders final including former New Year Sprint winners Daniel Paxton and Leigh Marshall both Hawick. In a tight finish, victory went to Kelso's John Fleming in 9.38, the tape came just in time for the winner who fell to the ground with a pulled hamstring just after crossing the finish line. The runners up spot went to Kyle Potts Hawick with Fraser Neill,Kelso in third. A photo finish was needed to seperate the latter pair in the final of the 200 metres handicap, after a lengthy look of the photo the decision went to Neil in 20.15 with Potts the width of a vest away in second, John Paxton, Hawick stayed on to take third place.

After two second place runs, Kyle Potts finally got his head in front, producing a powerful run to win the 400 metres handicap in 48.09, Ewan Bradley followed him over the line in second with Fraser Neill third.

Dean Patterson,Larkhall YMCA AC showed impressive form to win the both the Youth's 90 metres and 200 metres handicaps. In the 90, he won his heat in 9.55 before taking the tape in the final in 9.45, Sean McMichen,Hawick finished runner up with Robbie Morrison,Kirkcaldy in third place.

The 200 metres saw Patterson 'pulled' 7 metres for his 90m win, despite being beaten by Josh Landers,Innerleithen in his heat he reversed the placings in the final with a strong finish which saw him break the tape in 21.84s, Rory McMichen,Hawick was third.

It was a good day for brother and sister Kyle and Erin McFarlane,Pitreavie AC in the Youth's 800 metres and 1600 metres handicaps. Kyle won the 800 from Erin with Hannah Steel,Lothian RC in third. It was the turn of Erin to come home in first place in the 1600 with Kyle runner up and Steven Bates,Tullibody third.

Underwheel conditions were firm and fast for the cyclists who produced exciting races for the crowd.Jamie Penny ,Newport won the opening 1600 metres handicap from Alex Ball,Lothian and Paul Gallagher,Kirkcaldy. The remainder of the day belonged to Charles Fletcher,Grantown on Spey who landed a treble with wins in the 3200m and 4800m handicaps and Deil tak the Hindmost, Alexander McCrae, Glasgow and Jamie Penny followed him home in the handicaps with Alex Ball and Paul Gallacher filling the minor berths in the Deil.

Both youth cycle races were won in good style by Kyle Thomas,Edinburgh RC, in the 800m handicap he came home ahead of Rory Thiel,Dundee and Issac Small,Grampian Tigers with Roubens Thomson,Grampian Tigers and Small second and third in the 1600m.

In the heavy events, Craig Sinclair,Banchory emeged as the overall winner with wins in the 16lb and 22lb shot and first equal with Stuart Anderson,Lochearnhead in the 56lb weight over the bar. The latter was also the victor in the 28lb weight for distance and caber. There was a double for Dan Carlin,Renfrew with wins in the 16lb and 22lb shot putt competitions.

Published: 2018-07-07 21:00:30