12th Jul 2010
The 154th famous Alva Games took place in conditions which were far from ideal. Mist and drizzle were the order of the day and that sadly meant the loss of the highland dancing to the Johnstone Centre before a single step was placed on the Boards. The colourful and intricate movements of the Queens Gurkha Engineers however helped to banish the blues of the watching public with their magnificent displays of traditional dance and martial arts. Definitely not something to try at home.
The crowd was only about half of the usual attendance but those who came - and stayed throughout the afternoon - were treated to some great sport. Eleven cyclists took to the track which resembled a skid pan by 5pm and the best of the bunch included Tim Allan of Glenrothes who took the overall points title and of course Evan Oliphant of Wick who kindly loaned back to the Games Committee the Andrew Huggan trophy for the 3200 metres Championship before taking the title again later in the day. He doubled up in the Deil, taking the Robert Snaddon trophy from older brother Lewis who was unable to defend the race following upon an accident at Newburgh Games in June.
Athletics are always the centre point of the field events and it was really a day for the back markers, particularly in the youth events. Douglas Paul from Dunfermline took all three races in which he competed (90, 200 and 400 metres) and all from the back marks of 6, 8 and 10 metres respectively. There were never going to be any records broken in the distance races but that did not stop some fantastic and exciting finishes. Back marker Scott McDonald of Alloa took the 1600m from Scratch with fellow scratch runner Michael Gillepsie from Dollar in third, separated as they were by Trevor Johnstone of Airdrie. They both went back "behind the line" in the longer races and Trevor got his revenge in the 2 miles, just holding off young Scott. He however picked up the Johnstone Trophy as the Athlete of the Day as judged by the track officials.
Heavy events were dominated by three of the seven attendees, Gregor Edmunds from Glasgow eventually picking up the top spot ahead of Polish brothers Sebastien and Lucasz Wenta. And what can we say about the Hill Racers? From 9 years upwards they set off in search of glory in the four races over Torry. Once again the story of the day was created by Alastair Dunn of Helm Hill Runners in Kendal taking his fifth consecutive title in a personal Alva best time of 20 minutes and 1 second, just missing out on his target of beating 20 minutes. Next year perhaps? The entry of 70 seniors was also an Alva record proving that the test of mettle and the generous prize fund on offer is a magnet to the fell runners of this country and abroad with Alva Australian Ross Morley coming home in a very creditable 29th place.
Australia was also represented by Guest of Honour Matthew Webster who along with partner Diane Mastrullo spent a full and enjoyable day on and off the field. Matthew dispatched the Championship Hill race and made a number of presentations of the prizes. He was fascinated by the mixture of disciplines on offer and has promised to return. We all hope that we do not have to wait too long.