FOR the second week in succession, a Border Games meeting was hit by bad weather.
Rain fell from a sullen grey sky and it was wet and damp at St Ronan’s Games on Saturday.
Jedburgh teenager Craig Grieve, however, was not too bothered about the elements as he had other things on his mind.
Grieve was on a mission and a rain-soaked track and dreich conditions were not going to hold him back. And, come late Saturday afternoon, the John Steede/Bruce Scott-trained athlete completed his mission, emerging victorious in the St Ronan’s 110m handicap at Victoria Park.
Competing in the last heat in the eight-heat first round, Grieve, from the Tweed Leader Jed Track (TLJT) club, showed he had something special to offer in soaring to a convincing win in 11.47 seconds from his 8m mark.
Third in the final at the Jedburgh Games 110m handicap the previous week, Grieve then blitzed to another tip-top victory in his cross-tie in 11.30 – earning him a final outing along with Hawick pair Ross Weir (21m) and John Paxton (18m), TLJT duo Bruce Scott (19.5m) and Callum Murray (9.5m) and Graeme Armstrong of Edinburgh (18.5m).
Going by the times, Grieve appeared to be in with a fantastic chance. And that’s just the way it went. The former Berwick Rangers youth footballer produced a sizzling run from start to finish to break the tape ahead of Weir and Armstrong in 11.31.
Commenting after his triumph, Grieve who also won the Kelso Games sprint two years ago, told TheSouthern: “Although the track was wet due to the rain, this didn’t really bother me as I was feeling really good after I had won my heat.
“I felt even better when winning my cross tie and thought I should run well in the final, although I was worried about Bruce Scott as I thought he was my main danger.
“The final ended up going just great for me and I was just thrilled to win.”
Wallace McGowan of Sauchie (26m) produced the goods to the full to take the 200m handicap. After winning his heat, McGowan soared to victory in the final ahead of Dylan Ali of Hawick (20m) and David McKay of Kelso (24m).
Veteran runner Keith Redpath of West Calder (150m) emerged the winner of the 800m handicap. Hawick’s Ged Smith (135m) led the pack at the beginning of the last lap, only to be overtaken by Redpath. Greg Gibson of Selkirk (75m) then hit the front and, coming down the home straight it looked all over for the 58-year-old Redpath. With Gibson tiring, however, Redpath came battling back to regain the lead and chest the tape. Gibson took second place and Rory Anderson of Hawick (45m) the third spot.
Redpath said: “I have been running at the games for more than 40 years and I have won a few handicaps in my time, but they don’t come around so much nowadays so it was nice to win this one.”
The 1,600m handicap also produced an exciting finish. Peebles Beltane Sports winner Gary Law of Hawick (390m) looked as though he could have been heading for his second win of the season as he had a good lead with a lap to go.
The field was closing in on the Hawick runner but Law was still out in front deep in the latter stages.
However, fellow Teri Rory Anderson (110m) put an end to Law’s hopes of glory with a powerhouse finish, striding ahead to gain the honours. Law emerged second and Adam Craig of TLJT (100m) third.
Anderson told us: “I just managed to catch Gary. With two laps to go he seemed so far in front I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it, and had to dig in deep to get past him late in the race.”
In the junior/youths’ 1,600m handicap, Kobe Stevens of Moorfoot (185m) showed the field a clear pair of heels with an excellent run to win in style from stablemate Ruaridh Britton (210m) and Fraser Wardhaugh of Gala Harriers (85m).
A convincing and impressive winner, Stevens said: “The track was a bit slippery, but I enjoyed the race and it was good to get my first win of the season.
“Near the end, I could hear my little sister Kazya shouting me on and that helped me finish well.”
Trained by his grandfather Stuart Renwick – a former runner on the games circuit – Robbie Renwick of Peebles (3.5m) came out on top in the juniors’ 90m handicap. After winning his heat, Renwick edged out Brodie Graham of Hawick (9.5m) and Kazya Stevens of Moorfoot (15m) in a photo-finish final.
Innerleithen’s Ryan Laidlaw (11m) pleased the home crowd by triumphing in the youths’ 90m handicap. The Charlie Russell-coached youngster followed up a heat win with another winning show in the final. Jemma Gillan of TLJT (15m) and Olivia Hood of Leithenburn (16m) came in second and third respectively.
Bethany Wardhaugh of Gala Harriers (12m) gave a fine account of herself to do the business in the junior 200m handicap. After having recorded the fastest winning time of the heats, 12-year-old Wardhaugh starred again in the final to emerge the victor. The other placings went the way of Kazya Stevens of Moorfoot (29m) and Marshall Smith of Gala Harriers (31m).
Darcy Graham of Hawick (24m) chalked up his third win of the season by taking pride of place in the youths’ 200m handicap. From the Billy Edgar stable, the up-and-coming prospect won the final with Lewis Hunter of Pitreavie (6m) second and Jemma Gillan of TLJT (30m) third.
After having tasted success by coming out on top in the Jedburgh Games invitation sprint, Craig Gillan of TLJT did it all again in the St Ronan’s invitation 110m. Jeburgh’s Gillan won from Charles Carstairs of Lasswade and Lee Goodfellow of TLJT.