Curtain falls on South’s open athletics season

Dylan Ali breaks the tape in the 400m Handicap Open in Morebattle (picture by Bill McBurnie)
Dylan Ali breaks the tape in the 400m Handicap Open in Morebattle (picture by Bill McBurnie)

Morebattle Games might have been night and day and a far cry from the big-time spectacle of the World Athletic Championships in London

In a way, however, the Tofts running track meeting and the world championships were one and the same, for both conjured up plenty of drama, excitement, and the sight of athletes giving their best.

On a day that brought an end to the open athletic season on the Border circuit, Hawick’s David Lauder (15.5m) produced his best running of the term by soaring to victory in the 110 metres handicap, following heat and cross tie wins in times of 11.82 seconds and 11.84 seconds,

A former winner of the New Year sprint, Lauder was up against four fellow Hawick sprinters – Glyn Desport (6m), Corey Wilson (12m), Daivd Hush (25m) and Kyle Potts (11m) in the last showdown as well as Eyemouth, youngster Marshall Smith of TLJT (14m).

A closely contested final was on the cards and it ended up being just that. Indeed, matters were so close it took the photo finish system to bring about the result.

Following a long consultation by the judges, the verdict went the way of Lauder in a winning time of 11.87 seconds.

Hush was placed second with Wilson and Potts deadheating for third.

Lauder said of his win: “I have been trying hard all season to win a sprint and, at last, it’s happened. It was my fourth sprint final but the wait has been worthwhile when you get that win. It’s the second time I have managed to win the Morebattle Games 110 metres, as I won the race 15 years ago to the day.”

The 400m handicap also brought about a dramatic ending. Caris Brus of TLJT (74m) headed the field down the home straight but challenges were coming in from the back and, in a cracker of a finish, she was caught on the tape by Dylan Ali, of Hawick, who hurled himself over the line.

Going from a back mark spot of three metres, this was a phenomenal show of running by Ali, whose winning time was 52.44 seconds.Brus and Fraser Neil of Kelso (26m) emerged second and third.

Apart from triumphing in the quarter mile, Ali won the best performance of the day award for his excellent display.

Representing the TLJT club, Fraser Gorvett of Berwick (120m) showed lightning can strike twice when emerging an impressive winner of the 1600 metres handicap, the same event he won a year back. Coached by Henry Gray, 18-year-old Gorvett, who trains with World Athletic Championship British star Guy Learmonth, gained the race leadership on the last lap. The recent victor of the Langholm Games mile handicap, Gorvett duly strode on to win well in 4 minutes 31.40 seconds. The other placings went to Hawick pair Greg Walker (120m) and Alan Inglis (310m).

Victory in the 800 metres handicap went the way of Wallace McGown of Sauchie (115m). The inform McGown, who has had an excellent season hit the tape in 1 minute 59.66 seconds. Edinburgh’s Graeme Armstrong (38m) who has also been well to the fore, came out on top in the 200 metres handicap. As has been the pattern throughout the entire season, the junior and youth events on the Morebattle card brought about some exciting racing.

In the final of the 90 metres youths’ championship, Brodie Cowan of Jed AC (15m) did coach Brian ‘Chico’ Woods proud when soaring to an excellent win. Sam Archibald, of John Motion’s Leithenburn school, emerged with flying colours in the youths’ 200 metres handicap.Following a fine heat win, up and coming prospect Archibald stormed home from a back mark spot to win in 24.44 seconds.

Aaron Glendinning (180m) also starred for Leithenburn, showing the field a clear pair of heels in winning the youths’ 800 metres handicap.

In the junior 200 metres handicap final, Connor McLeod of Hawick (45m) got into the winning frame through a great run from start to finish. Langholm girl Iona Jamieson (320m), a member of Hawick’s Teviotdale Harriers, gained the honours in the youths 1600 metres handicap.

Ben Rutherford of Kelso (50m) pulled out the stops to take the youths’ 400 metres in great style, while Laura Munro of TLJT (18m) won the ladies’ 90 metres handicap.