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Early torrential rain fails to dampen spirits at Airth

Shane Fenton reports from North Greens Park.

Despite a morning of persistent, sometimes torrential rain the 148th Airth Highland Games went ahead as planned with the entire programme of events taking place.

The running track was eventually waterlogged in places, this however didn;t detract from the quality of the racing,, some of the bikers might tell a different story as it turned into a war of attrition for some of them.

The 125 dancers who cmpeted in the British Championship enjoyed the haven of athe covered stage .

Despite the rain battering down early doors it was encouraging to see the numbers, including many tourists and overseas visitors who had turned out to spectate, Thankfully the rain eventually fizzled out around 2pm and the remainder of proceedings went ahead in dry ,if damp conditions.

For what I can recall, for the first time the first three prizes in the Open 90 metres handicap went to female competitors with Samantha Tunbull TLJT getting the verdict just ahead of her twin sister Natasha. Motherwell AC veteran Fiona Steel finished in third place.

The 200 metres final produced one of the best finishes of the day with Fraser Neil, Kelso getting the verdict after a photo from Geoff Keen, Selkirk.

The 400 metres was won by GB under-20 internationalist Praise Olatke, Kilbarchan who splashed his way through from the backmark to take the tape ahead of David Allan, Clydesdale AC and Fraser Neil.

David Allan who currently leads the SHGA middle distance league boosted his points tally with victory in the 800 metres handicap coming home ahead of recent Balloch and Burntisland winner Sean Bates, Tullibody with Forfar veteran Craig Bell in third. Bell took third place again in the 1600 metres where Sean Bates and Jamie Massie, Forfar fought it out for first place with on this occasion Bates prevailing. Massie was again runner up in the 3200 metres which developed into a right old slog in the mud with victory going to Dean Whiteford , Innerleithen who has only recently returned to action following an injury. Sean Bates finished in third place.

There was first time winners in both the Youth 90m and 200m handicaps..In the 90m Charlie Hunter, Dunfermline Track Club inched home ahead of the fast finishing Kyle McFarlane, Pitreavie AC with Anna Suttie, Anstruther in third place. In the Youth 200m, games debutant Josh Cairns Tullibody got the verdict ahead of his training companion Steven Bates with Kyle McFarlane in third place. The Youth's 800 metres was won by Erin McFarlane Pitreavie AC who crossed the finish line ahead of Archie Suttie Anstruther and John Faulds, Falkirk Victoria.

The nine bikers who contested the four races on the card probably won't endure worse under-wheel conditions all season. The opening 1600 metres went to debutant Lewis Stewart, Glasgow, Paul Gallacher Kirkcaldy then landed a double with victory in both the 3200m and 4800m before Stewart chalked up his own double with victory in the Deil.David Mathieson Newburgh and Paul Anderson Perth picked up the majority of the minor placings.

There was a good field of 9 competitors in the heavy events including one female competitor, Dan Carlin Renfrew was the man in form winning all disciples outright and sharing top spot in the caber.

Published: 2019-07-27 21:44:43