Jedburgh teenager takes top honours at Tofts

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Running in his first season as a senior, Jedburgh Grammar School pupil Craig Smith emerged top of the class at Morebattle Games on Saturday.

For the flame-haired flyer set the Tofts track alight by blazing to victory in the 110 metres handicap.

Running under the banner of TLJT, 16-year-old Smith showed he was a special student in his heat when romping home in 12.24 seconds, from a mark of 8 metres.

Smith then earned himself a spot in the final with a cross- tie triumph in the self-same time of his heat. Could the student continue to teach lessons in the final was the question on the blackboard.

Smith answered this by writing his name all over it in the last showdown.

Facing TLJT club mate Tommy Finkle (11m), Kevin Amos of Jedburgh (14m), Kelso pair Dave McKay (12m) and Matthew Fleming (12.5m) plus Geoff Keen of Selkirk (10m), the Jedburgh young gun blasted away the opposition to emerge a positive winner in 12.21 seconds. McKay was second and Finkle third.

Coached by John Steede and Bruce Scott, Smith said: “It’s my first season in the seniors and to begin with I found it really hard as it’s a lot different than running in the youths.

“However, as the weeks have gone by things have got better. I won the 200 metres at Lauder Games last week and this came as a bit of a shock as I didn’t think I would win anything this season. It was an even bigger shock to win the sprint today.”

The mile and the two mile, there may be a mile apart but they are one and the same for Langholm distance runner Ryan Milligan.

For the 18-year-old pulled off a superb double, coming out on top in both the 1600 metres and 3,200 metres handicaps. This was a remarkable feat and even more remarkable is the fact that Milligan does not belong to a running school, hasn’t got a coach and trains alone.

Milligan started by nailing his colours to the mast in the 1,600 metres. Competing from a mark of 160 metres the man from the Muckle Toon strode to a convincing win.

Despite having been pulled 30 metres for his mile win and going from 150 metres, Milligan did it all again in the 3,200 metres. Showing purpose in every stride he emerged a convincing victor.

Langholm Legion footballer Milligan, who won the 1,600 metres handicap at Langholm Games, said: “As I train by myself I don’t know how good or bad I am.

“So when I run in a race, I just run my hardest and hope for the best. I did this today and it worked for me – I just run hard and see what happens.”

Another Borders teenager to hoist the winning flag in a senior event was Andrew Thomson of Jed AC. Coached by Brian ‘Chico’ Woods, Thomson (50m) excelled when winning the 800 metres handicap in fine style.

Veteran Wallace McGowan of Sauchie (37m) held off challenges from the back to snatch victory in the one lap handicap from Kelso pair Fraser Neil (18m) and Euan Pettigrew (11m).

McGowan commented: “I found my legs going near the end in the final, but I managed to get there. It’s the first time I have broken the tape this season.”

Running from scratch, 12-year-old Josh Abbot of Kelso, who is a real up-and-coming prospect, fired on all cylinders to take the junior one lap handicap while Cameron Clamp of TLJT (14m) gave a top notch show to take the youths’ equivalent.

In the youths’ 800 metres handicap, Berwick’s Scott Tindle (100m) showed the field a clean pair of heels with a great run.

Showing great determination from the gun, nine-year-old Madeline Collins of Moorfoot (450m) headed the pack in the youth’s 1,600 metres handicap until the closing stages. Jedburgh’s Jack Amos (195m), who had strode purposefully out from beginning to end, then took over the leadership to gain the honours.

Harry Fuller of Chirnside (21m) buzzed to a splendid win in the youth’s 90 metres handicap.