New Year sprint draw produces host of plumb ties

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THE countdown to the 142nd New Year sprint is well and truly on after last week’s draw threw up several exciting clashes, writes John Slorance.

Hawick has produced nine winners over the years – in T. Williamson (1881), J. Jackson (1890), Tommy Dickson (1965), Andrew Walker (1982), John Mallin (1990), Malcolm Elliot (1992), David Lauder (2002), Leigh Marshall (2008) and Daniel Paxton (2009) – and the town will once again be well represented at Musselburgh racecourse on December 31 when nine Teri peds get down on their marks in the 12-heat event which carries a first prize of £4,000.

A potential winner could come from the opening heat in which Clackmannan’s Martyn Paterson (6.5m) looks the likely victor. Rarely seen on the Border Games scene, Paterson caught the eye in reaching the final of the Jedburgh Games 110m handicap. Competing then from a standing start instead of blocks, Paterson certainly has a lot to offer on this showing.

Heat three sees the first appearance of Hawick runners when Royal Albert footballer Douglas Prowse (8m) and Lee Notman (7.5m) clash. Also in this one is Jedburgh teenager Sebastian Harrison (7.75m). Coached by Brian ‘Chico’ Woods, Harrison won the Hawick Games sprint in great style in June. The young Jed flyer did little for the remainder of the season, but watch out for him at Musselburgh.

Hawick-trained Colin Bruce, of Selkirk, goes off 11.5m in heat four.

Strong-running Teri Ross Borthwick (9m), who notched up several creditable wins during the summer months, has been drawn in heat five.

The sixth heat sees Hawick’s John Paxton competing off 14.5m. Lining up against Paxton is Langholm’s Jordan Maxwell (10m), a product of Hawick’s Lee Notman/Drew Bryson stable. The stylish Maxwell is liable to show up well in a hot heat which also includes Jedburgh’s Greg Turnbull (4m), a beaten finalist last year.

Hawick pair Drew Bryson (19.5m) and Leigh Marshall (5.75m) face each other in heat seven. Victor in the New Year sprint in 2008, Marshall could well have what it takes to triumph again – which would be some feat.

Training companions Ryan Trimby (10m) and Gary Wilson (13.5m), from the Billy Edgar school, find themselves up against each other in heat eight.

In the eleventh heat, Hawick’s David Rae (7.5m) bids for a cross-tie spot, along with flying Turk Iskan Barskanmay (5.5m), formerly of Hawick but now of Jedburgh.