Callum Murray put his Selkirk gloom from a week earlier behind him in giving a radiant show to take the honours in the Beltane sprint 110 metres handicap.
Six days earlier, Murray had jumped the gun in the final of Selkirk Games 100 metres handicap. He was pinned back a metre as a penalty and his chances of winning the £1,000 first prize were washed away with the torrential rain that swept over the Philiphaugh track.
At Peebles Beltane Sports on Sunday, though, the sun came out and Murray, 18, arrived with it. The TLJT sprinter, a student, began his glory day by racing to a heat win in 11.64 seconds, from a mark of 10 metres. The former Gala Wanderers rugby player was beaten in his cross tie but qualified for a final place as a fastest loser. Murray had been given a second bite at the cherry and he certainly took it.
Facing Iskan Barskanmay of Jed AC (5.5m) as well as fellow TLJT members Angus Stanners (8m) and Bruce Scott (19m) plus Hawick pair David Hush (21.5m) and Ross Weir (21m) in the last show down, Murray turned on the style with a scorching run.
Producing the powerhouse running that earned him first place in the Earlston Games 110 metres final recently, Murray stormed to a photo-finish win in 11.25 seconds. The other placings went to Weir and Scott.
Murray told TheSouthern: “I didn’t run particularly well in my heat or cross ties mainly because I was worried that I would jump the gun as I had done in the Selkirk final. Indeed I was just happy to be in today’s final and was hoping to get a second or third place as I didn’t think I would win. It’s brilliant to have won, though, and it makes up for last weeks disappointment.”
Ewan Dyer of Pitreavie (19m) gave a five-star show to win the one-lap handicap. After impressing with a heat win in 30.83 seconds, Dyer called the shots again in the final, powering home ahead of Selkirk twosome Nyle Godsmark (29m) and Geoff Keen (23m).
Veteran athletes Keith Redpath of West Calder (142.5m) and James Whiteford of Walkerburn (135m) held the first two places at the beginning of the last lap in the 800 metres handicap. Runners from the back spots had closed in, though, and Kirkcaldy’s Graham Lister (55m) strode ahead before the final bend and raced on to win. Andrew Thomson of Jed AC (67.5m) finished strongly to come in second. Third place went to Craig Robertson of Pitreavie (15m).
Hawick’s Gary Law (410m) caused an upset in taking pride of place in the 1600 metres handicap. Law, 45, started and finished at the front. The field could not catch the Hawick man who surprised himself in breaking the tape for the first time ever in the games circuit in 4.23.35. Colin Welsh of Kelso (40m) and Craig Robertson of Pitreavie (40m) were second and third.
Trained by Ged Smith, an exhausted but delighted Law said: “The crowd were brilliant and they helped me. Towards the end I was tiring badly, but I could hear people shouting my name and cheering for me and this helped me hang on.”
Keith Murray (420m) also put victory Hawick’s way by doing the business in the 3,200 metres, holding off challenges from Kelso’s Chris Black (140m) and John Thomson of Coaltown (240m).
The junior and youths’ events also conjured up some exciting and explosive running on the Whitestone Park card.
The quest for glory in the Junior 90 metres handicap brought a thrilling final duel between Galashiels’ Matt Dougall (7.5m) and brother Josh (10m). Representing TLJT the pair locked horns in the final after heat wins. Come the last run, Josh was pulled a metre for a false start and, in a blanket finish, ended up second to older brother Matt with Calder MacLean of Leithenburn (6.5m) third.
A thrilled Matt commented: “Josh won the Junior 90 metres at Hawick Games and I was happy about that. But I am even happier today for winning myself. It’s my first win but I just managed to beat Josh.”
Ellie Temple of TLJT (20.5m), who has been knocking at the door in pulling off a win since the season began, achieved her aim by triumphing in the youths’ 90 metres handicap. Coached by John Steede, the Jedburgh youngster buzzed to a heat win in 9.78 seconds. In a thrilling final, Temple shone for a second time, edging out Jasmin Tomlinson of Jed AC (20.5m) and Euan Pettigrew of Kelso (9m). First time winner Temple said: “Although I had a fast time in my heat, I didn’t think I could win the final. I just went out and ran my best and was a little bit shocked that I won.”
In the junior one-lap handicap, Fergus Rule, 10, of Leithenburn (21m) gained the honours through some top-notch running. He beat Matt Dougall of TLJT (20m) and Euan Smith of Tullibody (32m).
Kelso’s Euan Pettigrew (21m) hit top form to take the youths’ one-lap handicap. Jack Wilson of Hawick (29m) was second and Charlie Wilson of TLJT (16m) third.
Hometown boy Jacob Adkin of Peebles (100m) excelled in winning the junior/youth 1600 metres handicap. Running a well judged race, Adkin came soaring in from the back down the home straight to burst the tape. Second was Scarlett Yates of Jed AC (280m) and third Ruaridh Britton Moorfoot (230m).
110 metre handicap: 1, C. Murray TLJT (10m); 2, R. Weir Hawick (21m); 3, B. Scott TLJT (19m). 11.25 seconds.
One Lap Handicap: 1, E. Dyer Pitreavie (21m); 2, N. Godsmark Selkirk (29m); 3, G. Keen Selkirk (23m). 30.13 seconds.
800 metre handicap: 1, G. Lister Kirckaldy (55m); 2, A. Thomson Jed AC (67.5); 3, C. Robertson Pitreavie (15m). 1 min 56.21 seconds.
1600 metre handicap: 1, G. Law Hawick (410m); 2, C. Welsh Kelso (40m); 3, C. Robertson Pitreavie (40m). 4 mins 23.35 seconds.
3,200 metre handicap: 1, K. Murray Hawick (420m); 2, C. Black Kelso (140m); 3, J. Thomson Coaltown (240m). 9 mins 48.61 seconds.
Junior 90 metre handicap: 1, M. Dougall TLJT (7.5m); 2, J. Dougall TLJT (10m); 3, C. McLean Leithenburn (6.5m). 11.48 seconds.
Youths 90 metre handicap: 1, E. Temple TLJT (20.5m); 2, J. Tomlinson Jed AC (20.5m); 3, E. Pettigrew Kelso (9m). 9.97 seconds.
Junior One Lap Handicap: 1, F. Rule Leithenburn (21m); 2, M. Dougall TLJT (20m); 3, E. Smith Tullibody (32m). 31.15 seconds.
Youths One Lap Handicap: 1, E. Pettigrew Kelso (21m); 2, J. Wilson Hawick (29m); 3, C. Wilson TLJT (16m). 31.96 seconds
Junior/Youths 1600 metre handicap: 1, J. Adkin Peebles (100m); 2, S. Yates Jed AC (280m); 3, R. Britton Moorfoot (230m). 4 mins 40.93 seconds.