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Shane Fenton reports from the Stirling Sports Village

The rain stayed away and the sun even managed to poke it's nose through the clouds from time to time as the renewal of the Stirling Highland Games was voted a success.

A crowd in the region of 3000 surrounded the arena at the Stirling Sports Village and they were treated to some excellent competition.

Six heavy event competitors contested the eight disciplines with former World champion Bruce Robb from Oakley in Fife emerging as the overall winner on the day. Bruce won the two shot putt events as well as the 56lb weight for distance. Stuart Anderson, Lochearnhead also landed a treble with wins in the 28lb weight for distance, 56lb weight over the bar and caber, the substitute caber was used to complete the competition after the original one snapped in half after the first toss.

Kyle Randalls, Grangemouth was again in excellent form with the hammer with wins in both the 16lb and 22lb competitions. Roy Valentine, Auchenblae, Craig Nicholson, Oban and Wesley Haynes, USA completed the 'heavies' line up.

Similar to the previous two weeks at Perth and Bridge of Allan the photo finish equipment was required to determine the winner of the Open 90 metres handicap, the four heat winners John Lowis, Kirkcaldy[11.75], Sarah Ross, Pitreavie AC[22], Jasmine Tomlinson, TLJT[18.75], Liam Halliday, Central AC[8.75] and fastest losers Nick Mitchell,Glenrothes[10.5] and Kevin Eddy,Kingseat[9.5] made up the six runner final. In a thrilling finish it was determined by the photo that the victor was New Year Sprint finalist Jasmine Tomlinson, who prevailed in 9.56 seconds just shading the ultra consistent Liam Halliday with Sarah Ross close up in 3rd place.

The Youths 90 metres was equally close with Keir Hume, Selkirk[16m] winning his first ever race on the circuit, the Borderer edged out female duo Samantha Turnbull, Peebles[22] and recent B of Allan and Thornton winner Jess Wodehouse,Leithenburn[22.5] in 9.67 seconds.

The Halliday brothers who are having an excellent season on the circuit landed a family double with impressive wins in both the Open and Youths 200 metres handicaps. Both won their races in good style from the back mark, in the Open race Liam out-paced his rivals to win in 19.98 seconds from Fraser Neil, Kelso and Nick Mitchell, Glenrothes. Kieran was cheered all the way around the tight circuit as he stormed through the field to break the tape in 23.67 seconds, Fraser Wheelan, Selkirk and Jess Wodehouse followed the Central AC speedster over the finish line.

Despite running from reduced starts the brothers just failed to replicate their 200 metres success in the 400 metres. Liam again running from the backmark powered past his 12 rivals in the Open race however, in the last few strides he was overhauled by the renewed challenge of Willie Bates Tullibody who claimed the spoils in 50.76 seconds, front marker Sarah Ross held on for 3rd place.

Keiran ran out a comfortable winner of the Youths 400 in 52.80 seconds, Zayna Aziz, Kelso ran a good race for 2nd place with Bridge of Allan winer Connor Blance in 3rd.

The Open 800 metres saw the welcome return to the track of Craig Robertson, Pitreavie AC who has been side-lined for much of the season by injury, Craig had to settle for 5th place on his comeback with victory going to Rowan Marr, Selkirk who overhauled long time leader Sam Bates, Tullibody before breaking the tape in 1m 56.26 seconds, Willie Bates took 3rd with backmarker Colin Welsh, Kelso who had been competing at Ballater Games on Thursday in 4th.

Visiting Canadian athlete Zachary Meredith spread-eagled the field in the Youths 800 metres with the 12 year old from Ottowa winning in 1m 58.83s, Craig Angus, Leithenburn finished runner up with Scott Douglas, Forfar in 3rd.

One of the most exciting races of the day was the Youths 1600 metres handicap, coming off the final bend any one of the trio of Sean Bates,Tullibody, Dylan Thomson, Pitreavie AC and Craig Angus, Leithenburn could have won, it was the latter who got the decision by the thickness of a vest from Thomson 2nd and Bates 3rd. With the winners time 4m 26.20s.

The Open 1600 metres was won in good fashion by Fergus McGaw, Dunfermline in 4m 39.14 seconds, Sam Bates again held on for 2nd with Craig Robertson snatching 3rd place on the line from Spaniard Alex Torre-Soengas.

After two second places, and to the delight of the crowd, the veteran Sam Bates at last crossed the line in 1st place as he stayed on determindly for victory in the 3200 metres handicap in 9m 12.51 seconds with Rowan Marr and Colin Welsh filling the minor berths.

In the cycling there was big cheers for veteran Davey Mathieson, Newburgh whose victory in the 1600 metres was his first of the season. Steve Jackson, Glasgow did the 800 metres and 3200 metres double with James Melville, Dumbarton confirming his place at the top of the SHGA cycling league with victory in the Deil. Ian Hepburn, Cairneyhill and Alan McLean, Giffnock completed the cycle line up.

John Fleming, Kelso won the Long Jump with a leap of 16'9'' with Kevin Eddy 2nd and Liam Halliday 3rd. The Triple Jump was won by Keiran Halliday with a jump of 36'3'', Billy Martin, Markinch was 2nd with Kevin Eddy 3rd.

Published: 2014-08-16 20:46:24