It’s a long and winding road from Glenrothes to Morebattle, but flying Fifer Billy Martin was right on track on Saturday.
And it was the winning track at that.
For 26-year-old Martin made the trip from the Kingdom of Fife to the Borders more than worthwhile by winning the 110m handicap at Morebattle Games in fine style.
Following excellent heat and cross-tie victories from his 10.5m mark, Martin found himself in the final along with TLJT pair Tommy Finkle (11.5m) and James Park (9m) plus Andrew Hogarth, Kelso (14m), Jack Wilson, Hawick (13m) and Jack Beattie, Rosyth (14.5m).
Odds-on betting favourite, Martin appeared to be the man to do the business in the last showdown – and he sure was as he blitzed to victory in 12.02 seconds, Finkle coming in second and Wilson third.
A victorious Martin told The Southern: “I do most of my running at the Highland Games and haven’t ran much in the Borders, but I did compete at Selkirk Games earlier on in the season and managed to get into the final of the sprint.
“I’ve been performing quite well this season in having won three handicaps and felt I was in with a good chance of making it four today, and everything just worked out great for me.”
In-form Wayne McIntosh Kelso (240m) got into the winning frame yet again when triumphing in the 3,200m handicap.
From the Adie Gray school, McIntosh emerged a clear winner, the other placings going the way of Rory Muir of Dundee (130m) and Hawick’s Derek Scott (340m).
McIntosh said: “I’ve been very lucky this season as I have won six times. I won the 800m at Morebattle in 1995 and now I have now won the two-mile handicap.
“I have never won the mile, but hopefully one day this might happen.”
Over the season, Hawick’s Rory Anderson has made his mark as a top-notch distance runner. But on the pastures of the Tofts track he showed he was much more than that when gaining pride of place in the one-lap handicap.
Competing from a mark of 38m, Anderson showed he had something special to offer when powering to his heat win – and in the final he did it all again.
A somewhat surprised Anderson said: “I have been doing a lot of speed work at training, so I decided to enter for the one-lap race just to see how I would get on. I didn’t expect to win anything, though.”
Wallace McGowan of Sauchie (115m) caught and overtook race leader Francis Cannon, Hawick (215m), down the home straight to take the 800m handicap, with veteran Cannon emerging a creditable second.
John Thomson of Coaltown (190m) won the 1,600m handicap, with Kelso duo Colin Welsh (50m) and Steven Black (170m) in second and third.
The one-lap races for juniors and youths conjured up high excitement.
In the junior event, Sarah Davenport TLJT (32m) headed the field in the final, only to be pipped at the post by Josh Abbot of Kelso (5m) who had produced a barnstorming finish.
The final of the youths’ race was also a humdinger. Hawick’s Phillipa Robertson (27m) pulled out the stops to get a photo-finish verdict over Anna Forsyth of Leithenburn (38m) and Cameron Fisher, Jed AC (27m).
Cameron Fowler, Eyemouth (11.5m), gave a splendid account of himself to win the junior 90m, while 14-year-old Robbie Renwick, Peebles (3m), put on a five-star show to take the youth’s equivalent. Leithenburn’s Michael Smith (395m) won the youths’ 1,600m handicap.