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Intermittent rain throughout the afternon failed to dampen the spirits of the competitors and spectators alike who converged on Royal Stuart Way for the annual Stirling Highland Games. Despite the conditions a good crowd which included many overseas visitors witnessed some excellent competition.

Entries in the Open running events may not have reached the numbers of a few of the recent meetings but in no way did it detract from the quality of the competition, in contrast the Youth events had a big entry boosted by a strong contingent from the Borders. Half a dozen bikers battled through the rain softened ground in the cycling events while in the centre of the arena five of the top heavy event competitors on the circuit entertained the crowds throughout the afternoon.

There was a thrilling finish to the Open 90 metres final with backmarker Allan Hamilton, Edinburgh AC[4.25m] getting up in the last stride to collar Sharon Wilson,Lochgelly[24.5m] on the line, it was a repeat of the heat in which Wilson qualified for the final as a fastaest loser. Inches back in third place was the previous weeks Perth SHGA 90 metres Championship winner Greg Turnbull,Jedburgh[8m]. Kieran Kilvin,Edinburgh[8.5m],Kieran Halliday,Central AC[12m] and Willie Bates,Tullibody[17m] made up the six runner final.

There was another tight finish in the Open 200 metres Handicap where Terry Marshall,Jedburgh[34m] stayed on gamely to hold off the strong finishing Greg Turnbull[30m] by half a metre with Sharon Wilson[57m] once again running a good race to take third place.

Turnbull[31m] had to settle for the runners up spot once again in the Open 400 metres when he was out-battled by Craig Robertson,Logierait[37m], Kyle Potts,Hawick[43m] who was returning to the circuit after recovering from being spiked at the recent St Andrews Games finished third.

Craig Robertson made it a double on the day when he came through from the backmark of 45 metres to win the Open 800 metres Handicap, Matthew McKenna,Cambuslang[87.5m] was runner up with Sarah Ross,Pitreavie AC making good use of her 190 metres start to finish third.

There may have been only six runners in the Open 1600 metres but it was one of the races of the day with the first three across the line seperated by only a couple of metres, victory went to Matt Dougall,TLJT[120m] who won the home straight tussle with Fraser Logan,Central[200m] who finished second with Willie Bates,Tullibody[225m] and Dean Whiteford,Innerleithen[145] third and fourth respectively.

It was encouraging to see four full heats in the Youth's 90 metres Handicap. With 12 runners in the event it was no surprise to see runners from the Leithenburn club finish in the first and second places, victory went to Struan Wells[14.5] who also did the 90 – 200 double at Markinch at the start of the season, his club mate Sam Archibald[17m] finished second with Samantha Turnbull,Peebles[19m] running well to place third.

The Youth's 200 metres saw the first two places from the 90 reversed with Archibald[38m] having to dig deep to stave off the challenge of Wells who was running from a penalty handicap of 27m, Aaron Russell[34m] made it a Leihenburn clean sweep by finishing in third place.

To complete a great day for the Borders club they also filled the first three places in the Youth's 400 metres Handicap with 9 year old Aaron Glendinning[125m] leading home 16 runners to the delight of the crowd, to win his first race on the games circuit. Nairne Wells[115m] finished runner up with Josh Landers[115m] in third.

A fine run from backmarker by Edward Lecrivain,Aberdeen[135m] saw him win the Youth's 800 metres from Aaron Glendinning[245m] and Scott Douglas,Forfar[195m].

The cyclists had to endure very heavy under-wheel conditions, front marker Alan McLean,Giffnock won the opening 800 metres handicap from Paul Gallacher,Kirkcaldy and Davy Mathieson,Newburgh. Gallagher then went on to do the double of 1600 metres and 3200 metres handicaps.McLean and James Melville Dumbarton followed him home in he 1600 with Melville and Neil Withington,Carlisle filling the minor berths in the 3200. Withington, a one time Deil tak the Hindmost specialist turned the calendar back a few years to outwit Gallacher in the concluding elimination event, the Englishman traditionally used to wear the 'Devil Mask' at the final Deil of the year at Pitlochry Games.An under the weather Ryan Keir,Newburgh made up the cycling field.

Five of the the top heavy event competitors on the circuit contested the throwing events. Not for the first time this season it was World champion Scott Rider who emerged as the overall winner, Scott won the 16lb shot[54'3''],28lb distance[76'3'',16lb hammer[130'2''],22lb hammer[107'9''] and 56lb for height[15']. Lukasz Wenta won the 22lb shot[45'] with his brother Sebastien Wenta the victor in the Caber.Kyle Randalls finished runner up in both hammers with Stuart Anderson fourth in both caber and weigh for height.

Both the Long and Triple Jumps were won by Allan Hamilton,Edinburgh who earlier this season broke both the long standing Scottish records for these events at the Mull Games.

Published: 2016-08-20 21:32:26