SMITH LANDS DOUBLE FROM BACKMARK AT ST ANDREWS writes Shane Fenton.
Moffat TOW and Francis Smith recipients of the Jim Wallace memorial trophies
A warm and at times sunny afternoon brought out a big crowd for Sunday's St Andrews Highland Games at Station Park in the shadow of the Old Course Hotel.
There were many fine performances in the track and field events, none more so than that of Pitreavie AC's Francis Smith, the former Scottish 200 metres and 400 metres hurdles champion produced two excellent runs from the back mark to win both the 200 metres and 400 metres Handicaps.
In his heat in the 200 Smith got up on the line to pip Jedburgh Kebab shop owner and fellow backmarker Iskan Barskanmay in 21.25 seconds. In the six runner final he produced an even faster run of 20.71 seconds to snatch victory from Fifer Ross Kirk, Kelty and Cameron Corstairs, Lasswade AC.
Running from a reduced handicap in the 400 Smith again thrilled the big appreciative crowd by charging through in the home straight to pip Graeme Gibson, DWF and Willie Bates, Tullibody in 50.60 seconds.
These performances won him the Jim Wallace Memorial Trophy for' best athlete of the day'.
The top prize of the day was the £200 which went to the winner of the 90 metres Handicap and it was won by one of the middle-markers Jack Beattie, Rosyth, running from the 15 metre mark he held off the late challenges of Borders duo Iskan Barskanmay[5.75m] and top junior athlete Craig Grieve, Jedburgh[6m] the recent winner of both the Oxton and Innerleithen sprints. Beattie's winning time was 9.50 seconds, with a photo required to split the 2nd and 3rd.
There was a big field of 16 runners in the Open 800 metres Handicap and it saw Graeme Gibson continue his fine vein of form by coming through late to take the tape in 1 minute 58.56 seconds with the consistent Willie Bates runner up and Andrew Thomson, Jedburgh third.
There was a Borders 1 - 2 -3 in the Open 1600 metres Handicap where victory went to backmarker Daryll Hastie, Kelso, Hastie turned in a strong performance to get the better of Jedburgh pair Stuart Sommervail and Andrew Thomson crossing the line in 4 minutes 35.10 seconds.
Scottish junior internationalist Ross Matheson, Lasswade AC followed up his win at Airth the previous week with another excellent run from the backmark to win the Open 3200 metres Handicap, running from the 55 metre mark Ross, who was giving away starts of up to 700 metres relentlessly hauled in the field and found himself in front with 2 laps of the 270 metres track to run and had the luxury of coasting over the finish line in 10 minutes 15.41 seconds, the evergreen John Thomson, Coaltown of Balgonie was runner-up with Derek Whiteford, Innerleithen finishing with his customary late flourish to grab 3rd place on the line from Daryll Hastie.
There was a big turn out of youth runners boosted by around a dozen from Cumbernauld AC, and there enthusiastic cheering were infectious with the rest of the crowd and they were rewarded when Eilidh McCulloch raced to victory in the final of the Youth's 90 metres Handicap in 10.06 seconds just holding off Kris Gerrard, Selkirk and Cameron Lineen, Edinburgh.
The Youth's 200 metres went to Dylan Lindsay, Glenrothes who strode out to the line in 23.84 seconds ahead of backmarker Cameron Grieve, Jedburgh and Kris Gerrard.
Both the Youth's 800 metres and 1600 metres Handicaps were won in good style by Liah Davie, Pitreavie AC.
She crossed the line in the 800 in 2 minutes 00.75 minutes ahead of Jacob Lineen, Edinburgh and Gary Thomson, Oban.
The Lineen brothers are the sons of rugby internationalist Sean.
Despite seeing her handicap in the 1600 metres reduced by 55 metres she still proved too good for her rivals winning in 4 minutes 47.90 seconds.
The big field of heavy event competitors thrilled the big crowd all afternoon with the overall title going to the new World champion Rusty Price from California, Price won three events, both the 16lb and 22lb shot putts as well as the 16lb hammer. American Sam Grammer won the Caber contest and tied for 1st in the 56lb for height with Bruce Robb. Craig Sinclair got Scotland on the winners podium with wins in both the 22lb hammer and 28lb for distance.
Gordon Murdoch from Glasgow was the man in form in the cycling events with three wins out of four. Murdoch the tallest rider on the circuit won the 800, 1600 and 3200 handicaps but was foiled for the clean sweep by Craig Hardie, Dalgety Bay who won the concluding Deil tak the Hindmost.
Both the Youth cycle Handicaps over 800m and 1600m were won by Etienne Sadeghpoor, Dalgety Bay.
Published: 2011-08-01 21:20:06