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Rain fails to dampen spirits at Airth

SHANE FENTON reports from The Wilderness

Despite the intermittent rain good numbers turned up at North Greens Park for the 146th Airth Highland Games.

Entries for both the running and heavy events were the best they've been for a few years.

The top running prize of the day is the £200 which goes to the winner of the Open 90 metres handicap. The final produced a thrilling finish with Mark McLachlan,Inverclyde AC [12.5m] scraping home ahead of the rapidly closing duo of Greg Turnbull,Jedburgh[8.5m] and Callum McWilliams,East Kilbirde AC[9m]. McLachlan who was winning his first ever race on the games circuit clocked 9.45 seconds. The other three finalists were Geoff Keen,Selkirk[16m],Colin Christie,Livingston[26.5m] and 78 year old Walter Hunter,Falkirk[26.5m].

The Inverclyde squad of runners have been a welcome addition to the circuit this season.

It was encouraging to see a number of junior athletes make their games debuts in the Youths' 90 metres handicap.

The judges had to call upon the evidence of the photo finish to determine that victory had gone to Mya McMahon, Dunfermline Track & Field Club[24.5m] who edged out Harrison Morrison,Inverclyde AC[24m] and Dean Patterson,Larkhall AC[24m] in 8.70s.

The Open 200 metres handicap produced a thrilling finish between heat winners Mark McLachlan[34m]who ran from a 'pulled' mark following his 90m win and Callum McWilliams[26m] with the latter getting up in the last stride to take the tape in 21.98s. Cameron Smith,Central AC[35m] who was making his belated seasonal debut was right on the shoulders of the first two in third place.

Ross Mitchell,Larkhall AC[20m] twice produced great runs to win the Youths' 200 metres handicap. Both times having to work his way through big fields. He looked to have it all to do in the final but stormed to the front close home to collar debutant Skye Marshall Pitreavie AC[42m] in the shadow of the post with backmarker Euan Smith,Central AC[18m] in third.

There was good fields for all the longer track races,both the 400 metres and 800 metres handicaps were won by Kobe Stevens, Moorfoot. Running from the 40m mark in the 400 metres he came home ahead of Greg Turnbull[31m] and Ewan Dyer,Pitreavie AC[27m] in 48.36.

The 800 metres was the opening event on the card and it proved to be well contested with Stevens[47.5m] emerging from the pack to break the tape in 1:52.99, Willie Bates,Tullibody[110m] followed in second with Craig Bell,Forfar[150m] staying on for third place.Ewan Dyer[35m],Scott McDonald,Central AC[40m] and Tyler White,Aberdeen AC finished 4th,5th & 6th repectively.

Rebecca Burns,Edinburgh AC[245m] is enjoying a good season on the games circuit and she followed up recent wins at Ceres and Alva by racing to victory in the 1600 metres handicap stopping the clock at 4:17.03. Tyler White finished runner up with backmarker Scott McDonald,Central AC coming through the field to take third place. Kobe Stevens,Michael McKenna,Stirling and Brian Pendreigh,Hunters Bog Trotters filled the minor placings.

Tyler White is enjoying a fine vein of form at present and that was maintained with victory in the 3200 metres handicap.Running from the 235 metres mark he stayed on resolutely to hold off Scott McDonald[60m] who just failed to bridge the gap from the 60m mark. Rebecca Burns[350m] ran another good race to finish in third place which sees her increase her lead in the SHGA women's league.

Not for the first time this season, and probably not the last, the cyclists had to endure tacky under-wheel conditions. Steve Jackson ,Glasgow was the man in form winning three of the races on the card, the 1600 metres,4800 metres and Deil tak the Hindmost. Paul Gallacher,Kirkcaldy thwarted the clean sweep with victory in the 3200 metres. James Melville,Paul Anderson and Alan McLean completed the cycling line up.

There was a good field of nine throwers in the heavy events, results to follow.

Published: 2017-07-22 21:54:45