Robert dominates as Ceres Games to remember

The cyclists make their way round the Ceres track bathed in glorious sunshine. Pic by Jamie Calaghan.
The cyclists make their way round the Ceres track bathed in glorious sunshine. Pic by Jamie Calaghan.

With the Bow Butts bathed in glorious sunshine, the Ceres Highland Games attracted its biggest crowd for a number of years.

They were treated to an afternoon of action packed entertainment, ground records were broken in the heavy events, there was a record entry of 110 Highland dancers while on the track there was trebles for St Andrews athlete Robert Sparks and Kirkcaldy cyclist Paul Gallacher.

Sparks, from St Andrews, who was making his games debut, showed excellent form to win the open 800 metres, 1600 metres and 3000 metres handicaps.

In all three races he started from the backmark.

In the 800, along with fellow backmarker Ewan Bradley (Inverness) they had to work hard to reel in the frontmarkers Lauren Corbett (Hawick) and Craig Bell (Forfar).

In the home straight it was Sparks who hit the front to come home ahead of Bradley and Bell in 2:03.16.

The 1600 metres saw veteran John Thomson (Glenrothes) lead for much of the race before being hauled in by Sparks and Rory Anderson (Hawick).

Again it was Sparks who found the extra gear in the closing stages to take the win with Anderson runner up and Thomson in third.

The 3000 metres saw Sparks penalised 80 metres for his previous wins and placed on the scratch mark.

Again the race developed into a duel between the Fife AC runner and Rory Anderson, the latter made a bid for glory down the back straight on the final lap.

The move was covered by Sparks who raced to the front off the final bend to go on and land his treble to the applause of the big crowd.

One of the best performances of the day came from open 90 metres handicap winner Praise Olatoake (Kilbarchan AC).

Running from the virtual backmark of four metres, he powered to victory in his heat in 9.87 seconds.

He bettered that by two hundredths in the final breaking the tape in 9.85 seconds as he got up close home.

The open 200 metres handicap went the way of the veterans with Colin Christie (Livingston) and Tam Bradley (Edinburgh) fighting out the finish.

It was the former who prevailed by a metre with Geoff Keen (Selkirk) back in third.

As he has done for most of the season, Gaspard Lecrivain (Aberdeen AC) dominated the youth races with two wins and a second place.

In the 90 metres he broke the tape in 10.21 seconds as he edged out American Flynn Williams and Archie Suttie (Anstruther).

In the 800 metres and running from a reduced handicap Lecrivain again proved too strong for his rivals.

The Frenchman was thwarted of the treble when he just failed to catch Rhys Nuttall (Anstruther) in the final of the 200 metres with Robbie Welsh in third.

With the track firm and riding fast, the cyclists thrilled the crowds as they sped around the tight 200 metres circuit.

The main event for the riders was the SHGA Scottish 1600 metres Championship which saw Charles Fletcher (Grantown on Spey) retain his title after getting the better of Paul Gallacher (Kirkcaldy) on the last lap.

The rest of the day belonged to Gallacher with the Lang Toun rider landing a treble with wins in the 800 metres and 3000 metres handicaps as well as the Deil tak the Hindmost.

In the heavy events there were ground records in the 56lb weight for distance and Ceres Stane for Sinclair Patience of Tain. Lukasz Wenta (East Kilbride) won the shot putt with a throw of 53’ 1’, as well as the tossing the caber and 56lb weight over the bar.