HEAVY rain began to fall on Friday and come Saturday, the downpour continued.
The question being asked was: Would Selkirk Games take place at all?
The answer was an emphatic yes.
The Philiphaugh meeting went ahead and, despite the weather, the event was far from a washout as some top-notch running and exciting racing kept matters afloat.
On a track that was in remarkably good condition given the pounding it had taken from the rain, Jedburgh’s Greg Turnbull made a big splash, winning the main event on the card – the 110m handicap.
A member of the TLJT Club but being trained nowadays in Edinburgh by leading coach Charlie Affleck, 22-year-old Turnbull showed the day could well be his when powering to a convincing heat win in 11.97 seconds from his 3.5m mark.
Now a policeman in the Edinburgh area, Turnbull then showed he was well and truly on the beat in his cross, with another rip-roaring winning run in 11.82.
Facing Kelso’s John Fleming (8.5m) and David McKay (13.5m) as well as Hawick pair Dylan Ali (9m) and David Grieve (15.5m) plus Sean Grant of Innerleithen (10.5m) in the final, Turnbull produced his best run of the afternoon when blitzing home in 11.70 to take the £1,000 first prize. Fleming gained second spot and Grant third.
A delighted Turnbull told TheSouthern: “The Selkirk sprint is one of the major races on the Border circuit and it is an honour to win it. I have twice been second in Selkirk finals, so it’s just fantastic that I have now won.
“Due to work, I have not been able to focus on training as much as I would have liked, however, I have been coached well by Charlie Affleck and I am very grateful for the help he has given me and I definitely benefited from that today.”
Luke Lowther of Jed AC (16.5m) pulled out the stops to take pride of place in the 90m handicap (confined to Border region). The recent victor of the Earlston Games 90m handicap, 17-year-old Lowther raced to a heat win in 10.07 seconds.
With this being the second slowest time of the opening runs, the Jedburgh teenager appeared to have a big task on his hands if he was to do anything in the final. Coached by Brian “Chico” Woods, Lowther, however, rose to the challenge with a superb run to break the tape ahead of fellow Jed AC man Darrin Tomlinson (11.5m) and David Grieve of Hawick (12.5m) in 9.81 seconds.
Hawick’s David Rae chalked up his first win in the Borders for six years when hitting the tape in the 200m handicap.
Running for the TLJT club, Rae stormed to a heat win in 22.56 seconds. This gained him a final spot along with Selkirk’s own Geoff Keen (24m) who had clocked up the fastest time of the heats, plus Cameron Grieve of Jed AC (17m), Andy Cullen of Corstorphine (28m) and Ryan Charters of Dolphinton (17m). Come the final, Rae hit full throttle from the gun and powered to victory in 22.75. The other placings went the way of Keen and Grieve.
Reflecting on his winning show, Rae said: “Geoff Keen ran very well in his heat and I felt he was the man to beat in the final.
If I was allowed to run my own race I thought I would be in with a chance, though. I got into a good position coming down the home straight which was very important and just went for it after that.”
Langholm’s Iain Little (52.5m) followed up his Hawick Games 800m handicap triumph by winning again over the same distance.
A well-balanced smooth looking runner, Little took the lead on the last lap when overtaking Francis Cannon of Hawick (180m) who had led from the start.
A newcomer with a lot to offer, the man from the ‘Muckle Toon’ then left the field in his wake by striding out to cross the finish line in 1 minute and 57.75 seconds. Back-marker Colin Welsh of Kelso (5m) finished strongly to come in second, while Andrew Thomson of Jed AC (75m) was third.
Making his first appearance at Selkirk, Fergus McGaw of Dunfermline (175m) made it a winning one, with an excellent run from start to finish to take the honours in the 1,600m handicap, from Jim Thomson of Coaltown (135m) and Jacob Adkin of Moorfoot (150m).
The Kingdom of Fife also produced the victor of the 400m handicap in Graham Lister of Kirkcaldy (12m). Sara Ross, also of Kirkcaldy (30m), headed the pack down the home straight, only to be overtaken by New Year Sprint winner Lister and Iain Little of Langholm (22m). Lister surged on to win in 53.13, with Little and Ross emerging second and third.
The Leithenburn club pulled off a splendid double, generating the winners of the junior 90m and 200m handicaps. After winning her heat in grand style, 12-year-old Bryony Patterson (8.5m) hit the high spots again in the final when edging out Caris Brus of Gala Harriers (8.5m) and Brodie Graham of Hawick (7m) in a fast time of 11.18 seconds.
Nine-year-old Craig Angus (24m) duly got into the winning frame for Leithenburn in the 200m handicap. A youngster who always gives his all, Angus was beaten in his heat, but qualified for the final as a fastest loser.
Having won the junior/youths’ 800m handicap at Hawick Games, Angus was bidding for his second win in successive weeks.
This came about in a ding-dong final in which the Leithenburn runner gained a photo-finish victory over Hawick’s Barrie McLean (22m) and Jack Amos of Jed AC (32m) in 28.47 seconds.
Leithenburn coach John Motion told us: “We are a small club, so it was just brilliant to get two wins today. It was Bryony’s first win and I was very pleased for her as she trains really hard.
“Craig is a little laddie, but he has a big heart and it was his sheer determination that helped him get his win.”
The rest of the junior/youth racing on the Selkirk card also produced some really exciting stuff. None more so than in the youths’ 200m handicap. Following four keenly contested heats, the final turned out to be a real humdinger.
Thanks to a five-star show, Hawick’s Logan Wooley (32m), a member of the Billy Edgar stable, emerged a narrow victor over Jasmin Tomlinson of Jed AC (35m) and Megan Shiel of Hawick (37m). The watch recorded a winning time of 23.50 seconds.
In the youths’ 90m handicap, Ryan Houten of Cardrona (10.5) excelled for the second week in a row. Fresh from his youths’ 90 metres victory at Hawick, he won his heat in 10.25 seconds and in the final surged home in front of Hawick pair Daniel Elliot (14m) and Kyle Brunton (15m) in 10.22 seconds.
Michael Smith of Leithenburn (205m) was out in front as the bell sounded for the last lap in the youths’ 800m handicap. Position in the race began to change rapidly after this, however, and it was Kelso’s Jason McIntosh (105m) who ended up in first place due to a piece of spot-on running that never faltered from the gun.
McIntosh registered a time of 2.02.12. Niamh Shaw of Moorfoot finished second and Jack Amos of Jed AC (180m) third.
90M CONFINED: 1, L. Lowther (Jed AC) 16.5m; 2, D. Tomlinson (Jed AC) 11.5m; 3, D. Grieve (Hawick) 12.5m. 9.81 seconds.
YOUTHS’ 800M: 1, J. McIntosh (Kelso) 105m; 2, N. Shaw (Moorfoot) 165m); 3, J. Amos (Jed AC) 180m. 2 minutes 02.12 seconds.
800M: 1, I. Little (Langholm) 52.5m; 2, C. Welsh (Kelso) 5m; 3, A. Thompson (Jed AC) 75m. 1 minute 57.75 seconds.
JUNIOR 90M: 1, B. Patterson (Leithenburn) 8.5m; 2, C. Brus (Gala Harriers) 12m; 3, B. Graham (Hawick) 7m. 11.18 seconds.
YOUTHS’ 90M: 1, R. Houten (Cardrona) 10.5m; 2, D. Elliot (Hawick) 14m; 3, K. Brunton (Hawick) 15m. 10.22 seconds.
110M: 1, G. Turnbull (TLJT) 3.5m; 2, J. Fleming (Kelso) 8.5m; 3, S. Grant (Innerleithen) 10.5m. 11.70 seconds.
JUNIOR 200M: 1, C. Angus (Leithenburn) 24m; 2, B. McLean (Hawick) 22m; J. Amos (Jed AC) 32m. 28.47 seconds.
YOUTHS’ 200M: 1, L. Wooley (Hawick) 32m; 2, J. Tomlinson (Jed AC) 35m; 3, M. Shiel (Hawick) 37m. 23.50 seconds.
200M: 1, D. Rae (TLJT); 2, G. Keen (Selkirk) 24m; 3, C. Grieve (Jed AC) 17m. 22.75 seconds.
1600M: 1, F. McGaw (Dunfermline) 175m; 2, J. Thomson (Coaltown) 135m; 3, J. Adkin (Moorfoot) 150m. 4 minutes, 37.53 seconds
400M: G. Lister (Kirkcaldy) 12m; 2, I. Little (Langholm) 22m; 3, S. Ross (Pitreavie) 30m. 53.13 seconds.
CLASSIC POINTS LEAGUE AFTER HAWICK
JUNIOR SPRINT: 1, S. Archibald 21 points; 2, P. Robertson 15; 3, B. Patterson 13; 4, A. Bryce 11; 5= A. Campbell, J. Abbott, C. Angus 10; 8, B. McLean 6; 9= E. Hood, C. Brus 5.
YOUTH SPRINT: 1, R. Houten 25; 2= E. Lowther, D. Elliot, L. Wooley 11; 5= G. Goodfellow, L. Elliot 10; 7, E. Pettigrew 7; 8= J. Feeney, M. Henderson 6; 10= M. Shiel, J. Tomlinson 5.
OPEN SPRINT: 1, D. Rae 15; 2, S. Grant 14; 3= L. Lowther, Craig Grieve, M. McMahon, G. Turnbull 10; 7, D. Ali 9; 8, Cameron Grieve 8; 9, G. Keen 6; 10= K. Kivlin, J. Fleming 5.
YOUTH DISTANCE: 1, C. Burne 16; 2, N. Cox 12; 3, J. McIntosh 11; 4, C. Angus 10; 5, N. Shaw 9; 6, M. Wallace 6; 7= K. Stevens, J. Logan, J. Amos 5; 10= S. Collins, J. Abbott 1.
ADULT DISTANCE: 1, I. Little 20; 2, A. Thompson 14; 3= M. Young, A. Craig, G. Smith, F. McGaw 10; 7, R. Anderson 9; 8, J. Thomson 8; 9= W. McIntosh, C. Welsh 5.