Hawick’s Common Riding festivities came to an end last Saturday – but a day later the Border town was still celebrating.
This time around there was no sign of a Cornet on horseback along with his mounted followers.
On the Sunday, at a sun-kissed Volunteer Park, there was instead the sight of six Hawick athletes galloping to victory.
And leading the charge was young flyer Dylan Ali, who got the bit between his teeth in more ways than one, by pulling out the stops in winning the main event on the card – the 110 metres handicap.
Representing the recently formed Hawick Sprint Club, Ali firstly showed his mettle when blitzing to a heat win in 11.57 seconds from a mark of 6.5 metres.
Coached by Che Campbell, 19-year-old Ali then stormed to a cross tie triumph in 11.50 seconds, earning himself a final spot along with Selkirk’s Craig Bruce (10.5m), David Mackay of Kelso (17m), Connor Hedley of Elington (11m), Greg Turnbull of TLJT (6.5m) and Craig Knowles of Corst AAC (9m).
The last run for the £1,000 first prize turned out to be a real thriller. Indeed it ended up a photo finish. It was Ali who got the judges’ nod though, with Hedley emerging a close second. Knowles was placed third.
Following his win Ali told The Southern: “The Hawick sprint is the one that I have always wanted to win.
“It’s just a magical feeling and I am really thrilled. I have had a very quiet Common Riding in getting prepared for the sprint but it’s been worth it.
“My coach Che Campbell has helped me a lot and I owe him a big thank you. In winning today I have become Hawick Sprint Club’s first ever winner and I am really chuffed about this.”
Corey Wilson (4.5m) was first to put victory Hawick’s way when doing the business in the Novice 110 metres, a new event on the Borders Games circuit.
Distance runner Jordan Taylor (70m) then excelled in producing the goods to the full to take the honours in the 800 metres handicap.
Next to get into the winning frame for Hawick was Ellis McKean (24m). After buzzing to a heat win, the 11-year-old surged to victory in her cross tie. Come the final McKean did it all again when winning a keenly contested race.
Strong-running Glyn Desport (27m) powered to victory for Hawick in the 400 metres handicap before council bin man Drew Bryson (44m) cleaned up in the final of the 200 metres.
Selkirk’s Alistair Laurie (365m) led from start to finish to take the 1600 metres handicap.
After having been beaten in the cross ties of the 110 metres handicap, Earlston Games sprint winner Cameron Tindle of TLJT came back with a vengeance to soar to a highly impressive win in the 100 metres invitation sprint.
Sarah Davenport of TLJT (160m) gave an excellent account of herself to take pride of place in the youth’s 800 metres handicap.
A thrilled Davenport, 13, from Lanton said of her victory: “I have never won a big race before and I didn’t expect to win this one.
“It’s a bit of a shock but I am really pleased.”
Cameron Caldwell of TLJT, a real up-and-coming prospect, sailed to a tip top win in the youths’ under 17 championship.
Fourteen-year-old William Darling of Gala Harriers (25m) produced some great running to gain first spot in the youths’ 400 metres handicap.
Carlisle schoolgirl Megan Bugby (26m) made the trip over the Border worthwhile in being the victor of the youths’ 200 metre handicap.