The Hawick foursome of Nicky Sutherland, Darcy Graham, Dylan Ali and David Hush hit the high spots at Jedburgh Games on Saturday.
They were all winners in their respective events on the Riverside Park track. It was an extra special day for Ali, however, as the Hawick Sprint Club athlete tasted success not just once but twice.
Coached by Che Campbell, 20-year-old Ali firstly made his mark in the 100m Borders Athletics Sprint Championship. In a quality field in which all run from scratch, Ali sailed to a highly impressive victory in 10.94 seconds.
Ali was far from finished, though, and he did it all again in the 400m handicap. Competing from scratch, the Teri flyer blew away the field with a whirlwind run from the back to chalk up his fifth win on the Border Games circuit this season. Kyle Potts (25m), also of Hawick, was second.
Speaking of his double triumph, Ali told the Hawick News: “It was great to win the sprint championship and I was really thrilled about this. The icing on the cake then came when I won the 400m from scratch. I won the same race last year and it’s great to have kept the cup. It’s always brilliant to win a race at Jed Games and I’m really chuffed to have won two today.”
Swapping his rugby boots for spikes, 18-year-old Darcy Graham (1m) fired on all cylinders to win the 110m novice sprint handicap in fine style.
A Scottish under-18 rugby internationalist, Graham, who was with Hawick Wanderers last season, played for Hawick in the Scottish Cup Final at Murrayfield and was a member of the Greens side that won Hawick Sevens, recorded a winning time of 12.44 seconds.
Commenting on his victory, he said: “Because of my rugby I haven’t been able to run much at the games this season. Today was only the second time I have turned out and I didn’t expect to win anything. So I’m really thrilled to have won a special race like this.”
The novice sprint was in memory of Michelle Henderson, the daughter of former Rangers and Scotland star Willie Henderson. Michelle, who died of cervical cancer on her 28th birthday, was a sprinter and ran for a number of years.
Bob Inglis, a regular face on the Border Games circuit and who coached Michelle, has sponsored this event which has been staged at five games meetings for athletes under 21.
Ten-year-old Nicky Sutherland, who has been knocking on the door this season, got her reward by taking the honours in the junior 90m handicap. From the David Rae school, she won her heat in 9.81 seconds, and this put her into her tenth final of the term, which also included Hawick youngsters Max Hope (25m), Cian Riddell (21m) and Kay Robertson (26m).
The Wilton Primary School pupil duly raced to an excellent win in 9.69 seconds. Her training companions Hope and Riddell came in second and third.
Sutherland said of her triumph: “I’m really happy to have won a final as I’ve been trying hard to do this for a while. I’m going on holiday to Florida and will miss some games meetings so I’m glad I won before I leave.”
Veteran David Hush pulled out the stops to gain the honours in the 200m handicap.
Coached by Davie Grieve, Hush showed he had something special to offer in his heat through a great run that saw him win in 22.15 seconds. More was to come from the 53-year-old in the final as he crossed the finishing line in an improved time of 21.83 seconds.
A well pleased Hush said of matters: “I had a groin injury and didn’t run in the sprint. I wasn’t that sure about going in the 200m but I decided to give it a go and I’m glad that I did. After winning my heat my coach Davie Grieve told me to go flat out from the start as there was a lassie in front of me so I went for it and I managed to get there.”
Hawick sprinters Gordon McPherson (13.5m), David Lauder (13m), Corey Wilson (12m) and Ross Anderson (9.5m) all excelled in reaching the final of the Jed-Forest 110m sprint final. McPherson and Wilson ended up being pulled a metre for false starts. Jedburgh’s Terry Marshall won the event which had a first prize of £3,000 in 11.50 seconds. Anderson was third.
Hawick distance runner Rory Anderson (60m) was second in the 1,500m handicap, while 12-year-old Jai Patterson (180m) produced some fine running to gain third spot in the youths’ 1,500m handicap.