After torrential rain on Wednesday, the prospects for a dry day on Erray Park were far from certain, but the boys from the Met Office got it spot on as the sun shone on the thousands who had made their way up from the seafront to witness a day of spectacular competition at the 2016 Mull Highland Games.
From the outset, Allan Hamilton from Edinburgh laid down the gauntlet in the Scratch 100 yards breasting the tape in 10.66 seconds, holding off Earlston’s Lee Goodfellow. He repeated the feat in the handicapped event about 30 minutes later, this time keeping the fast approaching Kyle Potts of Hawick at bay, returning a time of 10.25 seconds. Not to be outdone in winning doubles, a brace of gutsy runs from Hawick’s Rory Anderson won both the scratch and handicapped half mile events turning in perhaps unexpected times of two and a half minutes in the scratch race and 2 minutes 17 in the handicapped version, running from scratch in both!
Anderson then picked up his third win of the day in the mile keeping Stewart McGeachie of Campbeltown and the local man Wallace McGown in the minor places. There was a little controversy on the quarter mile after it appeared that first across the line, Kyle Potts of Hawick, may have cut inside the running line on the home straight. After a Stewards’ Enquiry, he was not adjudged to have broken any rules and the result stood.
There were no entrants this year for the Chieftain’s cross race but that could not be said for the Visitors and Children’s races which were swamped with competitors looking for the Mull Games rosettes or the bottle of Scotland’s finest as prizes. No fallers on the first bend in either the ladies or gents races but that did not stop runners going wrong in the last few strides providing a French winner in the Ladies race and a winner from Sheffield in the Gents.
A field of international heavies worked hard with some great performances from Scottish and overseas talent with recently crowned World Heavyweight and Caber Champion, Scott Rider from Kent coming out on top in four separate events and sharing first place in a fifth.
Word on the street in advance of the Games was that there was to be a serious challenge to the long standing light field jumps events. And so it proved to be. Not content with his brilliant wins in both 100 yards races, he then took the Triple Jump with a new Scottish record of 50’ 1” which I believe is the first 50 feet jump recorded on the highland games circuit. He followed this up with an astonishing 24 feet 6 ½ inches in the Long Jump and took three out of three winning the high jump with a height of 1.80 metres. By this time the crowd on the embankment were on their feet cheering him on. Hamilton took the Kenny McIntyre trophy for overall jumps winner, a recipient of whom I am sure Kenny would have been truly proud.
Published: 2016-07-21 19:06:54