HAWICK’s Ross Weir came within a metre of winning the Jedburgh 110m handicap – twenty-seven years after he first tasted success in the summer games’ top event.
Time has marched on but it’s still the one that every sprinter wants to win, and at Riverside Park last Saturday the veteran runner was second in the final, just a fraction behind 18-year-old winner Connor Hedley of Bedlington (12m).
At a meeting that had been hit by torrential rain, thunder and lightning, Weir’s trip to the final didn’t begin with a win, though, as he was beaten in his heat. However, he qualified for the cross ties as a fastest loser.
Come the semi-finals, which included Hawick’s David Hush (22.5m), who had surged to a good win in his heat, Weir (22m) hit full throttle to gain a final place with an excellent victory in 11.48 seconds.
The scene was now set for the grand finale, which apart from Weir and Hedley, included Iskan Barskanmay of Jed AC (6.6m), Sean Harris of Dunfermline (7.5m) and TLJT pair Craig Grieve (8m) and Angus Stanners (9m).
On a rain-soaked track, Weir gave his best show with a splendid run from the gun and looked a potential winner with just metres to go. But Hedley came soaring in from the back to snatch a dramatic win on the tape in 11.35 seconds, the fastest time of the day. Weir finishing second and Grieve third.
The Hawick runner had missed out on the £3,000 first prize by a metre. He told the Hawick News: “I’ve been happy with the way I’ve been running this season and was hoping to do well today.
“My first run wasn’t a great one as I was beaten, but I still did enough to get into the cross ties as a fastest loser and I was very pleased with my performance in that, as I won in a good time.
“After this I just switched off and went off to the dressing rooms in the stand to keep away from everybody, concentrate and get my head right for the final.
“I felt I’d got off to a good start, but when you’re out in front at the beginning you don’t know what’s happening behind you.
“I knew they’d be closing in on me, but as the tape drew nearer I thought I was going to hold on.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and Hedley got to me, but only just. And good for him. He’s just a young lad but he’s served his apprenticeship at the games as he has run as a youth, and comes from a good running family as his grandfather and uncle used to run at the games years ago.”
He added: “I’m very competitive and I was disappointed to lose, but at my age I suppose I should be happy being in a sprint final, especially at Jedburgh.”
Kyle Potts put victory Hawick’s way in the youths’ 400m handicap thanks to an excellent run from his 30m mark. But Potts, who runs for the TLJT club, had to go every inch of the way to edge out fellow Hawick youngster Jack Wilson (35m) in what turned out to be a thrilling duel.
The outcome of the race was indeed decided by a photo finish, with 15-year-old Potts just getting the nod ahead of Wilson. The victory was his third of the season, having previously clocked up wins in the 800m and 400m at Hawick and Selkirk respectively. He said: “I’ve been running for three years now, but that’s the first race I’ve won at Jedburgh, which is a big meeting, so I’m really pleased.”
Although not getting into the winning frame, Darcy Graham gave a fine account of himself by twice coming in second in events on what was a bumper Jedburgh card.
Competing first in the youths’ 90m handicap, 14-year-old Graham (11.5m) showed up well by winning his heat in 10.10 seconds. In the final, the Billy Edgar-trained youngster produced some grand running again, only to be beaten in a photo finish by Craig Smith of TLJT (12m) in 10.10 seconds.
Graham then went on to reach the final of the youths’ 200m handicap with an impressive victory in 24.52 seconds.
In his last run, however, Graham came in a place behind victor Ben Robbins of Edinburgh (3m) in 24.10 seconds.
Reflecting on his day, Graham said: “I can’t believe I got into two finals and I was really chuffed. It would have been great to have won one of them, but I tried my best.”
Hawick’s Dylan Ali (26m) and Ryan Trimby (30m) were second and third in the 400m handicap, with Edinburgh’s Paddy Jumelle (28m) the winner in 51.10 seconds