BIKER JAMES CLAIMS TOP ACOLADE AT SUNNY BIRNAM
BIKER JAMES CLAIMS TOP ACOLADE AT 150th BIRNAM GAMES
SHANE FENTON reports from Little Dunkeld
The sun shone on Little Dunkeld for the 150th Birnam Highland Games and it was also a glorious afternoon for cyclist James Melville. The Dumbarton rider won three of the four races on the card and was runner up in the other. His wins came in the 800 metres, 3200 metres and Deil tak the Hindmost and he chased home Davie Mathieson, Newburgh for 2nd place in the 1600 metres.
Melville's performances brought him further reward when at the close of proceedings he was named as the track 'Athlete of the Day' to the delight of his fellow riders as this acolade would more than not be usually won by an athlete on two feet rather than on two wheels!
It wasn't an easy decision as there were some notable performances on the track from the runners. There was a TLJT 1 - 2 in the final of the Open 90 metres handicap with Jedburgh veteran Jock Steede clinging on for victory in 9.92 seconds from Tommy Finkle and the strong finishing Fraser Neil, Kelso. The 2nd and 3rd gained consolation later in the day with Finkle taking the Veterans 90 metres handicap and Neil racing to victory in the scratch 100 yards championship in 11.38 seconds.
With the 'Games' celebrating their 150th anniversary two special 150 metres handicaps were run, one Open and the other for Youth's. Both races produced good finishes and there was a family double with Lee Goodfellow TLJT winning the Open race and his brother Grant alsoTLJT taking the Youth's. Lee outsprinted the field to win the Open race in 15.91 seconds from Kyle Potts TLJT and Wallace McGown Sauchie with Grant having to negotiate his way through the field before claiming victory in the Youth's race in 16.80 with Eve Huxley,Pitreavie AC and Laura Munro, TLJT following him over the line in 2nd and 3rd.
One of the best runs of the day came from Fraser Neil, Kelso in the 400 metres handicap, the Borderer powered his way around the track before breaking the tape in 53.03 seconds, Rory Muir Dundee Hawkhill and Willie Bates Tullibody filled the minor placings.
One of the closest finishes of the day came in the 800 metres scratch Championship, Colin Welsh, Kelso and Craig Robertson Pitreavie AC eye-balled each other all the way up the home straight and it was Robertson who retained his title with a last gasp surge seeing him nail Welsh on the line in 2m 11.50s.
Robertson also lined up in the Open 800 metres handicap looking to land the double, he had to settle for the runner up spot on this occasion with victory going to Rory Muir, Dundee Hawkhill who timed his run to perfection to win in 2m 02.34s.
The 1600 metres handicap was won in good front running style by Rebecca Burns, the Pitreavie athlete has had a good season on the circuit with wins at Markinch, Bridge of Allan as well as the CERF meeting, Rebecca strode out in good style before stopping the clock at 4m 38.32s. Following the race the winner was presented with her prize by Scottish international athlete Laura Muir who represented Scotland and GB at the recent Commonwealth Games and European Athletic Championships, Laura, who was also a Highland Games competitor in the earlier stages of her career was at the games to support her brother Rory who finished 2nd in the race behind Rebecca.
The best race of the day was the Youth's 90 metres handicap with 5 of the 6 finalists flashing across the line in unison, following a lengthy look at the photo finish the decision went to Angus Bryce TLJT who by a hairs breadth edged out sisters Caris and Emma Brus, Gala in 10.19s. The Youth's scratch 100 yards was won by Ryan Houten Cardrona in 11.62 seconds from Connor Gillan Kelso and Grant Goodfellow TLJT.
The Youth's 800 metres and 1600 metres handicaps may only have had three and two runners respectively but both produced exciting finishes for the crowd, in the 800 metres Cameron Clamp TLJT won his first ever race over the distance after out-pacing Zaynah Aziz Kelso in the home straight and crossing the line in 2m 07.75s. In the the 1600 metres it was Zaynah's turn to win the race to the line, after a last half lap battle with sole rival Sean Bates Tullibody she forged into the lead in the last few metres to win in 5m 02.90s.
There was some good competition in the heavy events with Lukasz Wenta thrilling the crowds with a new ground record of 15'9'' in the 56lb Weight for Height. Lukasz aslo won both the light and heavy shot putt competitions, the overall winner on the day was Lorne Colthart who had wins in the light and heavy hammer, 28lb weight for distance and caber.
Published: 2014-08-30 20:54:21