Airth: Heavy rain fails to put a dampener on the Games

Pic by Alan Murray; 27/07/2019; Airth Highland Games;
Pic by Alan Murray; 27/07/2019; Airth Highland Games;

Torrential rain failed to dampen the spirits of participants at the 148th Airth Highland Games last Saturday.

The running track was waterlogged in places but this didn’t detract from the quality of racing.

The first three prizes in the Open 90 metres handicap went to women with Samantha Turnbull (TLJT) beating her twin sister Natasha to first. Motherwell AC veteran Fiona Steel finished third.

The 200 metres final produced one of the day’s best finishes, Fraser Neil (Kelso) getting the verdict after a photo finish from Geoff Keen (Selkirk).

The 400 metres was won by GB under-20 international Praise Olatke (Kilbarchan) who splashed his way through from the backmark to take the tape ahead of David Allan (Clydesdale AC) and Fraser Neil.

Allan, who leads the SHGA middle distance league, boosted his points tally with victory in the 800 metres handicap coming home ahead of recent Balloch and Burntisland winner Sean Bates (Tullibody) with Forfar veteran Craig Bell in third.

Bell took third place again in the 1600 metres where Sean Bates and Jamie Massie (Forfar ) fought it out for first place with Bates prevailing. Massie was again runner up in the 3200 metres with victory going to Dean Whiteford (Innerleithen) who has only returned to action following an injury. Sean Bates finished in third place.

There was first time winners in both the youth 90m and 200m handicaps. In the 90m Charlie Hunter (Dunfermline Track Club) inched home ahead of Kyle McFarlane (Pitreavie AC) with Anna Suttie (Anstruther) in third place. In the youth 200m, games debutant Josh Cairns (Tullibody) got the verdict ahead of his training companion Steven Bates, with Kyle McFarlane in third place.

The youths’ 800m was won by Erin McFarlane (Pitreavie AC) who crossed the finish line ahead of Archie Suttie (Anstruther) and John Faulds (Falkirk Victoria).

The nine bikers probably won’t endure worse under-wheel conditions all season. The opening 1600 m went to debutant Lewis Stewart (Glasgow). Paul Gallacher (Kirkcaldy) landed a double, with victory in both the 3200m and 4800m. Stewart chalked up his own double.

Dan Carlin (Renfrew) won all disciplines outright in the heavy events and shared top spot in the caber.