There was a sullen grey sky and an ice cold wind gusted over Earlston Games.
But as far as Jedburgh brothers Luke and Eoin Lowther were concerned, the sun was shining as the dynamic duo from the Burgh town pulled off an excellent double triumph in winning the senior and youths’ 90m handicap races respectively.
This was a great achievement for the Jed AC pair and a feather in the cap for their coach Brian “Chico” Woods.
An unknown on the games circuit prior to his Earlston victory, 17-year-old Luke was beaten in his heat by Kirsty MacNab of Tweed Leader Jed Track (18m).
First and second, however, qualified for the cross-ties and due to dead-heating with Bruce Scott of TLJT (12.5m) for second place, Luke found himself in the semi-finals.
Come his cross-tie outing, Luke raised a few eyebrows by soaring home in 9.60 seconds, which was the fastest time of the event.
Running without blocks and competing from a standing start, Luke then did it all again in the final.
Facing TLJT trio Dylan Ali (7.5m), Darrin Scott (7.5m) and MacNab (18m) plus clubmate Martha Douglas (19m) and Ryan Charters of Dolphinton (6m), Luke produced a powerhouse run to break the tape in 9.62.
Ali and Douglas emerged second and third.
Talking to TheSouthern, Luke said: “I ran in youth races a few times last year, but this is my first season as a senior and I didn’t expect to do well. Chico Woods gave me some good advice before I ran, though, and I was thrilled to get into the final.
“However, I did not think I would win it and can’t really take it in that I have.”
Prior to Luke’s victory, Eoin had hoisted the winning flag for the Lowther family in the youths’ sprint.
Winner at the same distance at Blackford Games the week before, Eoin (15.5m) buzzed to a heat triumph in 9.90.
In the final, Eoin excelled again when gaining victory from Ryan Houten of Cardrona (12m) and John Feeney of TLJT (14.5m).
Reflecting on the family double win, Eoin added: “I was very pleased when I won my race and thought I had the bragging rights over my brother.
“However, Luke won as well so we are both the same and I am quite happy about that.”
Innerleithen teenager Sean Grant (20m) pulled out the stops to take the honours in the 200m.
Trained by Charlie Russell, up-and-coming prospect Grant, who showed up well when running as a youth before graduating into the senior ranks this term, surged to victory in the final in 22.30.
The other places went the way of Cameron Grieve of TLJT (17m) and Ryan Trimby of Hawick (23m).
In the 800m, Hawick’s Mark Young (65m) showed the field a clean pair of heels to emerge a convincing winner.
From the Ross Weir stable, the 23-year-old looked to have a lot to do during the last lap, but a scorching burst from out of the blue saw Young take the lead and cross the line ahead of Andrew Thomson Jed AC (75m) and Rory Anderson of Hawick (45m).
Adam Craig of TLJT (65m) turned on the style to take the honours in the 1,600m. Looking the part from the gun, the stylish Craig won well from Rory Anderson of Hawick (75m) and John Thomson of Coaltown (120m).
A well-pleased Craig said: “I have had a little niggling injury and was a bit concerned about it, but I didn’t feel it during the race.
“I have been training hard and I felt the benefit of this today.
“Last season I got two wins, so to have got a victory so early on this season is a brilliant start for me.”
Craig Grieve of TLJT, who has all the makings of notching up successes during the forthcoming weeks of the games circuit, won the 60m invitation race in 9.15.
David Rae of Hawick and Kieran Kivlin of Edinburgh dead-heated for second place.
Selkirk’s Geoff Keen (2.5m) powered to a fine win in the veterans’ 90m, while the junior and youths’ events conjured up some exciting running – and there were many budding stars on view.
Shining in the junior 90m was 10-year-old Amy Campbell of Hawick (12.5m), who gave a five-star show.
Following an impressive heat win in 11.75, Campbell found herself in the final which also included her elder sister, 12-year-old Nicole. But it was Amy who blitzed home in 11.81, with Phillipa Robertson of Hawick (7.5m) and Angus Bruce of Morebattle (9m) claiming the other spots.
Coached by John Motion and Darren Dougal, and running under the banner of the Leithenburn Club, 10-year-old Sam Archibald (31m) showed a lot of potential in taking pride of place in the junior 200m, while Grant Goodfellow of TLJT (37m) gained a narrow victory over Kelso’s Euan Pettigrew in the final of the youths’ 200m in a real thriller of a race.
Gala Harriers youngster Cameron Burnett (70m) chalked up his first success on the games front by emerging a convincing victor in the youths’ 800m from Moorfoot pair Kazya Stevens (190m) and Niamh Shaw (165m) in 2 minutes 29.96 seconds.
And, competing from a back mark position of 70m, Nathan Cox of Berwick clocked up a winning time of 4 minutes 46.06 seconds in the youths’ 1,600m.