12th Jul 2011
POLISH POWER AT RAIN FREE ALVA writes Shane Fenton.
It was Poland against Scotland in the heavy events at the 155th Alva Games in the town's Johnstone Park on Saturday with the Polish triumvirate of Dominic Zielinski and brothers Lukasz and Sebastien Wenta doing battle with Scottish duo Neil Elliott and Bruce Robb.
The opening 16lb and 22lb shot putt events saw the European visitors occupy the top three places, the light stone saw Lucasz Wenta edge out Dominic Zielinski by 6'' with Sebastien in third. The latter was also 3rd in the heavy shot, however, the top two places were reversed with victory going to Dominic over Lukasz.
Scotland struck back with Bruce Robb winning both the 16lb and 22lb Hammer contests, Bruce then made it a hat-trick of wins in the 28lb Weight for Distance with Neil and Dominic sharing second place.
There was a Polish clean sweep in the 56lb Weight over the Bar with Dominic and Lukasz tying for 1st with Sebastien 3rd. Dominic also took the final event Tossing the Caber and this was enough to give him the overall title with 27 points ahead of Bruce with 24.5 and Lukasz 23.
There were thrills and spills in the track events and the top prize of £400 in the Open 90 metres handicap went to Francis Smith, Pitreavie AC who stormed through from the 4.5 metres mark to snatch victory from James Park, TLJT and former Alva sprint winner Ian McDonald ,Central AC. Scottish international hurdler Smith snapped the worsted in 9.82 seconds.
There was a local 1 - 2 in the Open 200 metres handicap with Willie Bates, Tullibody following up his win at the recent Ceres Games with victory in 22.53 seconds holding off the late surge of current New Year Sprint champion Martyn Paterson, Clackmannan.
Graeme Lister from Kirkcaldy is another athlete who is currently in a rich vein of form and he notched up another win by taking out the Open 400 metres handicap in 51.22 seconds from Francis Smith and Graeme Gibson of DWF.
There was a thrilling finish to the Open 800 metres handicap with Martyn Paterson [20m] failing by a stride to catch the evergreen veteran Keith Redpath, Wishaw who was one of the front markers off 157.5 metres, another of the backmarkers Matthew Gillespie was close up in 3rd, Redpath's winning time was 1m 57.22 s.
The Open 1600 metres was dominated by the front markers who filled the first three places, John Thomson, Coaltown of Balgonie also a recent Ceres winner chalked up his 126th win on the games circuit as he staved off the challenge of fellow vets Barry Davie, Pitreavie AC and Trevor Johnstone, Airdrie in a time of 4m 22.34s.
One of the best track performances of the day came in the Open 3200 metres handicap with Michael Gillespie, Shettleston producing a scintillating run from the scratch mark, overhauling all his rivals to stop the watch at 9m 16.84s. His brother Matthew finished runner up with Scott McDonald, Alloa in 3rd.
The Youth's 90 metres handicap saw a DWF 1 - 2 with Jess Concannon edging out her training compatriot Jenny Buchanan in 10.63 seconds with Dylan Lindsay, Glenrothes in 3rd. The latter was extremely unlucky in the Youth's 200 metres as he had victory in his grasp but somehow mis-judged the winning line and dipped 10 metres too soon and this caused him to lose all momentum and he finished last of the six finalists. Victory went to Erik Mitusch, Tullibody in 24.94 seconds from Jessie Concannon and Jack Allan, Monifieth.
Aiden Thompson, Pitreavie AC came through from the backmark for victory in the Youth's 400 metres in 56.10 seconds from Dylan Lindsay and Jess Concannon. There was a Pitreavie first three in both the Youths 800 metres and 1600 metres handicaps: Leah Davie claimed the 800 metres ahead of brothers Aiden and Ryan Thomson while in the 1600 the first two places were reversed with Aiden taking the tape in 4m 52.16s, with Ryan again third.
The British Championship Hill Race which this year had 55 starters saw victory go to Alistair Dunn from Kendal for the sixth successive year. Finishing 9th overall Christina Rankin, Kilbarchan took the Women's title with a new course record of 25 minutes 31 seconds.
The cycle races at Alva are always exciting and so it proved once again with the four races producing four different winners. The feature event, the 3200 metres Scottish Championship, so often dominated in the past by Evan Oliphant [who wasn't competing on this occasion] was won by his brother Lewis who was making his first appearance back on the games circuit following a crash at the 2010 Newburgh Games where he broke his collar bone. Oliphant had to pull out all the stops to hold off the challenge of Fifers Tim Allan ,Glenrothes and Brendan Roe, Valleyfield.
The latter took the opening 800 metres handicap ahead of Hans Forshaug, Glasgow and Lewis Oliphant. The only female rider taking part was Claire Archibald, Milngavie and she made good use of her front mark to take the 1600 metres handicap from Brendan Roe and Gordon Murdoch, East Kilbride.
There was drama in the final race of the day. Tim Allan looked set for victory in the Deil tak the Hindmost, leading going into the final bend of the race, disaster struck when his back wheel skipped out, and jammed and down he went. Second placed cyclist Andy Turnbull from Stirling narrowly avoided hitting Tim's bike and coasted round the last 120 metres of the track to take the hollow victory. Lewis Oliphant came through for second, and with it being the Deil race only three riders were left so Tim was able to walk the remainder of the track to claim the third prize before receiving treatment for a cut to the side of his leg.