Leon remembered in a great day of racing in Hawick

Glyn Desport of Hawick takes the tape in the 110m final (picture by Stuart Cobley)
Glyn Desport of Hawick takes the tape in the 110m final (picture by Stuart Cobley)

While Hawick’s Common Riding festivities came to an end last Saturday, the Borders town continued on Sunday to celebrate and rejoice in pulling off an excellent hat-trick of victories.

On a rain-soaked and windswept Buccleuch Park running track, Glyn Desport, Scott Watson and David Lauder all nailed their colours to the mast in fine style.

Glyn Desport gained the honours in the main event of a full card in triumphing in the 110 metres handicap which had a winning purse of £1000.

Going from a mark of eight metres, 27-year-old Desport showed he had something special to offer in his heat when storming to an impressive win in 12.00 seconds.

A member of the Edinburgh-based Graeme Armstrong running school, Desport then did it all again in his cross tie with a powerhouse run that saw him burst through the tape in 11.77 seconds.

This victory earned him a last showdown outing with TLJT pair Emily Dagg (19.5m)and Greg Turnbull (5.5m), Hawick twosome Philippa Robertson (20.5m) and Corey Wilson (12.5m), plus Jordan Charters of Dolphinton (7m).

Everything pointed to a close final but it was betting favourite Desport, however, who produced the goods.

From a spot-on start to a storming finish, with some strong, powerful running in between, the Hawick athlete hit the finishing line in 11.69 seconds. Dagg emerged second and Turnbull third.

Desport said of his winning show: “I felt good when winning my heat and felt even better following my cross tie, as I was very pleased with the way I ran. This built up my confidence and I managed to go on to win the final. It’s great to win the Hawick Games sprint, especially when you’re a Hawick man.”

Scott Watson (140m) hoisted the winning flag for Hawick in the 1600 metres handicap.

Making a return to the athletic scene last season, following an absence of eight years, Watson hit front spot when taking over the leadership from fellow Hawick runner Derek Scott (230m) on the last lap.

From the Alex Corbett stable, Watson strode on to emerge a clear victor in 4 minutes 38.25 seconds.

The other placings went the way of Scott and Dean Whiteford of Innerleithen (115m).

Former New Year sprint winner David Lauder did the business in the 100 metres invitation race.

Disappointed in being beaten in his cross tie in the 110 metres handicap, Lauder came roaring back to fire on all cylinders and gain a very creditable win in 10.81 seconds.

Victory in the 200 metres handicap went to Kelso’s Dave McKay (33m).

Bidding for honours in a very special event, sponsored by Angela Ali, the mother of young athlete Leon Ali, who so tragically lost his life in a car accident in the closing stages of last year, McKay surged to a heat win of 22.50.

In an exciting final, in which Gordon Eland of Broughton (59m) and Drew Bryson (48m) headed the field coming into the home straight, McKay soared in to overtake the leader in the latter stages to snatch victory.

Eland was placed second, Craig Smith of TLJT (19m) third, with the winning time being 22.18 seconds.

After being presented with the Leon Ali memorial trophy, put up by Angela Ali and her son, Leon’s younger brother, Dylan Ali, McKay said: “I am absolutely delighted to have won Leon’s race. Not just delighted but proud as well, for it was a very special race to me as well as for a lot of other people. I knew Leon well and it’s a great honour to have got his trophy.”

A minute’s silence was held before the start of the games in respect of Leon.

North East of England man Paul Bellingham of Cramlington (160m), winner of the Hawick Games mile handicap a year back, led from start to finish to take the 800 metres handicap in 1 minute 59.75 seconds.

Lee Stevenson of Tynedale (24m) also made the trip across the Border worthwhile when winning the 400 metres handicap in 51.06 seconds.

For the second week in succession, the youth racing was of a very high standard, with some top running being presented.

Kelso youngster Douglas Young, coached by Adie Gray, excelled when coming out on top in the youths’ 100 metres championship in 11.75 seconds.

Luke Rathie (15m) from John Motion’s Leithenburn Club, starred in winning in the juniors’ 90 metres handicap.

Finn Douglas of TLJT (10m), also shone by emerging the victor of the youth 90 metres handicap.

Besides this triumph the TLJT clubproduced three other winners.

Sam Johnstone (220m) gave a great account of himself to take the junior/youth 800 metres handicap.

Scott Tindle (26m), the younger brother of the classy Cameron Tindle of senior level, was victorious in the junior/youth 400 metres handicap.

In the junior 200 metres handicap, Kacie Tait (36m) got into the winning frame.

Peebles’ Imogen Lewis (32m) came out on top in the youths’ 200 metres handicap.