Gents fashion salesman Craig Grieve cut a handsome dash on Saturday when cruising to victory in the main sprint event at Oxton Games.
Having won the Invitation Sprint at St Ronan’s Games the previous weekend, the 22-year-old from Jedburgh flew out of the blocks again to take the 110m title that he last won in 2011 at the Justicehall Haugh track.
A delighted Greive, who works at Burtons in Hawick, told The Southern: “I feel as though I have been running well this season and knew I had a win in me. It was just a case of getting it right on the day.”
And get it right he certainly did.
Lining up against David McKay (Kelso) 14m, Greg Turnbull (TLJT) 3m; Fraser Neil (Kelso) 7.5m, Connor Hedley (Bedlington) and Tommy Finkle (TLJT) 13.5m, the TLJT athlete, running from his mark of 5m, was focused from the start and hit the tape in 11.34 seconds to take the honours. Finkle was second, with Fraser Neil taking third place.
Grieve said: “I have been training hard five nights a week, along with Cameron Tindle from Berwick who is my training partner, and everything has been going really well, so it was great to get the win today to make it all worth it. It has been a fantastic day and I’d like to thank the Oxton Games committee for their hard work in bringing back this event and making it a success once again.”
The Andy Gilchrist Memorial Cup was presented to Grieve by Oxton sisters Barbara Moffat, Rena Miller and Isabel MacRae.
Brilliant sunshine brought a large crowd to Justicehall for the 2014 Oxton event, with the Galashiels Ex-Servicemen’s Pipe Band adding an extra sparkle to the day.
As always, the Games were preceded by the traditional Hill Race, which was won by Kelso’s Daryl Hastie.
Kicking things off on the track was the youths’ 800m for the Jock Moffat Memorial Shield, donated by the Oxton Tug of War team of which Jock was a long-time member. A former British and Scottish champion, Jock passed away in December last year and the race this year, sponsored by his wife Barbara, was won by 11-year-old Olivia Rodden from Jedburgh.
Soldier Stuart Fraser from Hawick was the victor in the senior 800m event following a win at Burntisland earlier in the week.
“Winning at Oxton today has just topped off an excellent week for me,” said Stuart, who returns to his company this week following a spell of leave.
Another Hawick winner was 14-year-old Phillipa Robertson who took the Youths’ A 90m sprint title under the TLJT banner.
Coached by David Rae, Phillipa told us: “I came fourth at Langholm on Friday and was really hoping to step up a gear here today.
“It’s been really tiring running one day after the other in this kind of heat, but getting the win makes it worth it.”
Eleven-year-old Gala girl Emma Brus – trained by dad Tim – notched up a win when taking the tape in the Youths’ B 90 m.
Having not made much of an impression on the 2014 circuit, there was double delight for Selkirk athletes at Oxton.
Veteran distance runner Alistair Laurie was the first of the Souters to shine when he held off challenges from John Thomson (Glenrothes) and Innerleithen’s Craig Rendle in the 1,600m race.
Running from his front mark of 385m, the ex-policeman is well used to being swallowed up in the latter stages of his races. But Saturday proved different and Laurie dug deep to find the extra speed to see him across the line in pole position for the first time this season.
He told us: “I have had a few seconds and honestly didn’t think I would get the win.
“I have always been there or thereabouts and am pleased with my running, but I usually hear them coming up behind me and that’s it. I’m really chuffed to have held on today.”
Also flying the Selkirk flag was sprinter Geoff Keen, who fought off competition from Jack Beattie (Rosyth) and Keith Redpath (East Kilbride) to win the Open 200m.
Keen told us: “I have hit some good form this season.
“Much of this is down to training with Davie Lauder and Graeme Armstrong, which has really made a difference. I had a few niggles at the start of the season, but that seems to have settled down now and I’m enjoying a wee bit success.”
In the Youths’ 200m events 12-year-old Brodie Cowan (Jed AC) won the B race while clubmate Cameron Fisher, 14, took the title for the older age group.
Craig Angus, 11, of Leithenburn Running Club, made a great effort in the Youths’ 1,600m race when cutting his way through the front runners, from his mark of 350m, and holding off threats from older athletes to win the Stephen Douglas Memorial Cup.
All in all, the recently reinstated Oxton Games proved a great success this year and Games Committee chairman Malcolm Edgar was keen to acknowledge the many people involved in making the event happen.
“Once again, I thank Hamish and Anne Reid for the use of Justicehall Haugh, as well as our race sponsors and advertisers who, as always, have been very generous,” he said.
Mr Edgar also thanked Games Mascots Jack Bell and Mairi Stovens who were chosen in a ballot at their primary school.