Kelso race ace has old head on young shoulders

It nestles next to the River Esk – The Castleholm, home of Langholm Cricket Club.
Number eight, Matthew Fleming, from Kelso, won the 800m open ahead of Emma Brus of TLJT (picture by Bill McBurnie)Number eight, Matthew Fleming, from Kelso, won the 800m open ahead of Emma Brus of TLJT (picture by Bill McBurnie)
Number eight, Matthew Fleming, from Kelso, won the 800m open ahead of Emma Brus of TLJT (picture by Bill McBurnie)

Normally, these pastures are filled with peace and tranquillity.

Not so last Friday, however, for Langholm Games were staged on this grassy setting.

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And, from the sound of a starters gun being fired to the blare of announcements and commentary from the excellent Craig Dunbar to the buzz of a big crowd, the place was a blast.

Making the biggest blast of the day was Kelso teenager Douglas Young, who won the 90 metres handicap through some explosive running.

Coached by Adie Gray, 17-year-old Young (3.5m) sailed into the final of the event, which had a winning purse of 1000 Guineas (£1550) with great wins in his heat and cross tie, victories in times of 9.87 seconds and 9.75 seconds.

Back marker in the last outing, the Kelso flyer found himself facing Brodie Cowan of Jed AC (18m), Scott Tindle of TLJT (7m), Graeme Armstrong of Edinburgh (17m), Marcus Archer of Aberdeen (5.5m) and Keith Hutchinson of Hartlepool (9m).

And what a final it turned out to be, as it brought about a thrilling ending, with a fraction of a second separating the first three.

Thanks to a real top-class run, it was Young who won by a photo finish in 9.62 seconds.

Cowan was second and Armstrong third.

Young said: “I won the Selkirk Games sprint last season and the Jedburgh Games invitation sprint the other week and now the Langholm sprint, and I have my coach Adie Gray to thank for all this, as he is just great.”

The Adie Gray school had another two victors on the Castleholm track card – prior to Young’s success, Matthew Fleming and Colin Welsh had both got into the winning frame.

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Fleming was first to do the business when taking pride of place in the 800 metres handicap.

Competing from a mark of 100 metres, Fleming ran a well-judged race to win in 1 minute 59.79 seconds.

The other placings went to TLJT pair Emma Brus (150m) and Gavin Taitt (130m).

Fleming said: “It was very hot and, towards the finish, I thought I was dying.

“But I managed to keep going. I was second in the same race last year, so it’s nice to have won it this time.”

Stablemate Welsh, in turn, put victory the Tweedside town way by striding home in the 1600 metres handicap in convincing style, recording 4 minutes 38.38 seconds.

Fleming came in a place behind, while Sarah Ross of TLJT (360m) was third.

Earlston’s Cameron Tindle gave a splendid account of himself in hitting top form to gain the honours in the 90 metres championship, in which all runners went from scratch.

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Representing the TLJT Club, Tindle surged through the tape in 9.87 seconds.

Douglas Young was second and Marcus Archer third.

Following his title-winning performance, Cameron Tindle said: “I didn’t get off to the best of starts but recovered and then let my running do the talking.

“This is the third time I have won the championship at Langholm and this means a lot.”

Edinburgh Festival of Running sprint winner Murray Blair of Lasswade (13m) shone in coming out on top in the 200 metres handicap.

Following a heat win in 22.11 seconds, Blair triumphed in the final in 22.00 seconds when catching Nina Cessford of TLJT (48m) and John Paxton of Hawick (35m) in the latter stages.

Jacob Aubrey of Kendal (15m) produced a great run from the back to win the 400 metres handicap in 52.04 seconds.

Daniel Paxton of Hawick (41m) and Wallace McGowan of Sauchie (56m) gained the other places.

Langholm’s own Conan Harper (30m) gave the locals in the sun-kissed crowd plenty to cheer about by coming in from the back to get first place in the youths 1600 metres handicap.

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Nine-year-old Jedburgh youngster Ava Lees of TLJT (27m) may be small in stature but she made a big impact in winning the youths 90 metres B race handicap, while Zoe Blair of Jed AC (15m) fired on all cylinders to win the youths 90 metres A race handicap.

Teigan Gibb of Leithenburn (49m) and Lana Stanger of Hawick (43m) were the victors of the youths 200 metres B and A race handicap races respectively.

Hawick’s Robbie Welsh (130m) gained first place in the youths 800 metres handicap, while Lewis Anderson of Hawick was the senior high jump winner.

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