The forecast was for sunshine and showers for the St Andrews Highland Games, this was the case with thankfully the sunshine having the better of the arguement with the showers restricted to only a couple of heavy ones.
As ever a big crowd turned up at the Station Park including many overseas visitors. There was big entries for all the track and highland dancing events.
Games secretary Ian Grieve commented:''A couple of short sharp showers did not distract from a great day, with a healthy crowd and very good turnout in the track events, especially encouraging the number of youths who turned up for the running and cycling events.''
Top attraction on the track was the appearance of Luke Traynor who is currently one of Scotland's leading endurance runners. Despite running a 5000 metres PB less than 48 hours earlier, the Giffnock North athlete turned in two excellent performances to win both the 1600 metres and 3200 metres handicaps.
With just over 500 metres to run in the 1600 metres he looked to have little chance with the bulk of the 14 runner field still ahead of him, at this point however he appeared to up a gear and gradually reeled in his rivals and hitting the front in the home straight he went on to break the tape in 4 minutes 21.19 seconds. The consistent Tyler White, Aberdeen AC had another fine run to finish second with Rebecca Burns,Edinburgh AC in third.
The 3200 metres saw Traynor start from the scratch mark with the rest of the field all 'lifted' to give them bigger starts, undeterred, the recent winner of the Dundee Half Marathon once again relentlessy worked his way through the field to take victory in 9 minutes 35.28 seconds.His wins also saw him awarded the Jim Wallace Memorial Cup for Athlete of the Day.
The performances of Traynor also brought praise from former running champion and Highland games stalwart Ian Whyte who described him as the best 2 miler he has seen on the games circuit since the great Alan Simpson in the 1960's. His ultimate goal this summer is to achieve the qualifying standards for next April's Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Elsewhere on the track a field of 16 runners contested the 800 metres handicap and they were led home by Rebecca Burns,Edinburgh AC[135m] who is enjoying her best ever season on the circuit. Burns who currently leads the SHGA Women's league stayed on determindley up the home straight to stave off the challenge of Willie Bates,Tullibody[110m] and the previous weeks Airth winner Kobe Stevens,Moorfoot[42.5m].
The photo finish equipment was called to action to determine the winners in both the Open and Youth 90 metres handicaps. By the width of a vest the Open prize went to Steven Park,Lasswade AC[9.25m] in 9.52 seconds just touching off Cameron Smith,Tullibody[13m] with Callum McWilliams,East Kilbride AC[9m]who had qualified as a fastest loser close up in third. This was Park's third sprint success of the season having previously won at Loch Lomond and Burntisland. Completing the 90m line up were Hawick trio Ross Borthwick and brothers Daniel and Ryan Elliot who are the sons of Malcolm Elliot who won the famous New Year Sprint 25 years ago and is also a former St Andrews winner.
The 200 metres went to Geoff Keen,Selkirk[41m] who touched off Kyle Potts,Hawick[36m] and David Allan,Balloch[36m] in 20.62. Potts[38m] was also runner up in the 400 metres handicap behind Kobe Stevens[39m] with Ewan Dyer,Pitreavie AC[28m] in third.
There was a tremendous entry for the youth events and it was good to see the games committee putting up extra prize money to put on a relay for them at the close of the games. The Borders were well represented with entries from Leithenburn,Kelso and Hawick. They had to play second fiddle in the Youth 90m handicap where victory went to Steven Bates,Tullibody[25.5m] who won by inches from Charlie Rae,Hawick[23m] and Aaron Glendinning,Leithenburn[25.5m] in 10.46.
Josh Abbott,Chirnside[13m] is enjoying a fine vein of form at present and he came through the field to take the Youth 200 metres from Skye Marshall,Pitreavie AC[42m] with backmarker Daniel Young,Kelso[8m] in third.
Victory in the Youth 800 metres went to Hannah Steel,Lothian RC[215m] who crossed the finish line in 1:59.22 ahead of Thomas McGaskill,Teviodale[165m] with Sean Bates,Tullibody[115m] in third.
Steven Bates[365m] made it a double on the day with victory in the Youth 1600 metres handicap, he had to battle all the way to fend off the challenge of Langholm winner Irvine Welsh[355m] and Hannah Steel,Lothian RC[330m] in 4:53.94.
16 bikers in total contested the Open and Youth events on the card with many having made the long journey down from Hallkirk where they had been competing on the Saturday, or in Charles Fletcher's case returning from England where he won the British 800 metres grass track championship. Steve Jackson,Glasgow and Paul Gallacher,Kirkcaldy who had made the 450 miles round trip to Halkirk won the opening two races at Station Park with Jackson taking the 800 metres and Gallacher the 3200 metres. The remaining two races the 3200 metres and Deil tak the Hindmost were won by Fletcher who was sporting his newly won British top.
The Youth 800 metres cycle was won by Roubens Thomson,Aberdeen with Kyle Cartmel,Forres who had won four races the previous day at Halkirk the victor in the 1600 metres.
There was an international field in the heavy events. Icelander Thor Gylfason won three of the disciplines, 16lb and 22lb hammer and Caber, he was just pipped however for the overall prize by home thrower Jamie Gunn,Halkirk who was the victor in the 16lb and 22lb shot putt, 28lb WfD and 56lb WfH.
The 5 man Tug o War Championship was won by the team from Strathardle who came out on top to take the Jim Wallace Memorial Quaich. Moffat Builders finished runner up with Starthardle 'B' third.
Published: 2017-07-31 13:56:09