THRILLING FINALE AT PITLOCHRY
THRILLING FINALE AT PITLOCHRY
Shane Fenton reports from the Recreation Ground
The phrase saving the best until last is certainly one that can be attributed to Pitlochry Highland Games. The Recreation Ground once agin provided a fitting finale to the 2014 Games season.
An appreciative and enthusiastic crowd of around 8000 surrounded the arena cheering every heavy, runner, cyclist, dancer,pipe band and probably the loudest for the tug o war teams. Commentator Colin Liddell frequently reminded everyone that this was the biggest assembly of competitors seen at any Highland Games in recent times. For most of the afternoon they were bathed in warm autumnal sunshine.
No where else on the circuit do the crowd interact with the competitors like they do at Pitlochry, they lifted 67 year old Sam Bates over the line in the 800 metres to win his first race at Pitlochry in over 20 years of trying, (Video of closing stages of 800m) and they were on their feet again as they roared home the diminuative 10 year old Hannah Jordan who was competing at her first games as she hung on on determindley to hold off over 30 rivals in the girls 400 metres. From the opening inter-schools relay to every throw of the shot, hammer and caber to the grand march past of pipe bands everyone got their share of appreciation.
There were record entries for all the track and field competitions, the Scottish Junior Jumps Championship which was first held in 2013 again proved popular with Ewan Bradley, Inverness going one better to take the overall title and SHGA Championship medal.
Entries for the Scottish Athletic Clubs junior relay championship have been increasing year on year, this year three heats had to be run, and it saw the 1st & 2nd positions from 12 months ago reversed with the Innerleithen Runners quartet of Ryan Houten, Connor Gillan, Eve Huxley and Briony Paterson coming home ahaed of the the team from East Kilbride.
Winning team Innerleithen, team standing in front of stage - Thanks to all clubs which supported this, sponsor and Pitlochry HG for hosting and also Ian Gurr for organising the event.
Running at his local games, Craig Robertson Pitreavie AC won the SHGA and Championship of the Highlands 1600 metres title for the 6th year in succession after a thrilling last lap battle with Edinburgh AC's Robert Bough. See video of finish here
The biggest track prize of the day goes to the winner of the Open 90 metres handicap and it was won for the 2nd successive year by a female athlete with Chloe Mason East Kilbride AC all out to hold off Fraser Neil, Kelso and Laura McCracken, VP Glasgow who were 2nd and 3rd respectively, Hawick trio Davie Grieve, Jack Wilson and Corey Wilson filled the minor placings.
The 200m final had one of the closest finishes of the day with Sarah Ross Pitreavie AC edging out John Paxton, Hawick and Fraser Neil, Sarah who travels 100s of miles on public transport to compete on the games circuit was further rewarded with her win clinching what has been a succesful inaugural SHGA league for female athletes.
The 400 metres races have produced some of the closest finishes on the circuit this season and the Pitlochry instalment proved no exception when after consulting the photo finish equipment a dead-heat was announced between Cumbie Bowers Glenrothes and Willie Bates Tullibody with Craig Robertson close up in 3rd.
The crowd roared the veteran Sam Bates to victory in the 800 metres handicap, Sam, who has been trying for over 20 years to win a race at Recreation Park held on grimly from Jason McIntosh Kelso to the delight of the crowd.
Edinburgh AC runners won both the 1600m and 3200m handicaps, Robert Bough gained consolation for being edged out in the SHGA championship by coming home ahead of John Thomson, Glenrothes in the 1600 metres, he then had to settle for 2nd place again in the 3200 metres behind club mate Rhuarid Miller.
Boosted by the those running in the junior relays the Youth races saw the biggest fields of runners on the games circuit this summer, there were 9 heats in the 90m so cross-ties also had to be run, Mark Dunn, Clydesdale AC emerged the only boy in the 6 runner final breaking the tape ahead of Samantha Turnbull, Peebles, Emma Thomson, Oban,Eve Huxley Pitreavie and Jessica Wodehouse and Daisy Peacock both Leithenburn.
It was an amazing sight to see fields of over 30 runners in both the girls and boys 400 metres dashing around the Recreation Park circuit, one of the biggest cheers of the day was reserved for Hannah Jordan Clydesdale AC who was the smallest competitor in the field as she hung on for the win from Vhairi Jordan Perth and Jade Milne, Clydesdale.
One of the most impressive performances came in the Boys 400 metres with one of the backmarkers George Kelly East Kilbide AC workng his way through the huge field to snare Leithenburn duo Craig Angus and Michael Smith on the line.
Not for the first time this season Tony Daffurn Kilbarchan ruled supreme in the jumping events landing a treble of Long, High and Triple, Tony has also won the SHGA season long league for Jumps events. Oliver Lawson was runner up in both the HJ & LJ with Corey Wilson 2nd in the TJ.
The Youth's 800 metres was only meant to be one race, but such was the size of the entry seperate races for boys and girls was run. Zayna Aziz, Selkirk who has had a fine season on the circuit produced a good run to take the girls race from Zoe Nicholson Pitreavie AC and Iona Allan Clydesdale. Pitreavie's Ben Grant powered home to win the boys race from Cameron Corrigan Kilbarchan with James Adams also Pitreavie in 3rd.
Glasgow cyclist Stevie Jackson has had a great season on the games circuit and that continued at Pitlochry where he won the 3200 metres Championship of the Highlands.
The Youth's cycle events say Kyle Cartwell, Forres win the 800 metres and Marco Caira Markinch the 1600m.
A big field of heavy event competitors thrilled the crowds all afternoon, most have been in action from day one on the circuit back in mid-May and will have competed at in the region of 30-40 different games, despite tiredness and aching limbs beginning to take their toll they continued to produce a high level of performance for the watching crowds.
The save the best to last theme continued in the Tug of War as once again the Pitlochry contest proved to be one of the best on the circuit, with the crowd who were at that part of the ground almost 8 deep enthralled and very vociferous.[Full results for Heavy events and TOW to follow].
Published: 2014-09-14 11:43:36