Games Day Report – 13th August 2016
After a very wet week the day dawned warm with sunny skies and mainly dry. A couple of light showers did nothing to mar the happy and exciting atmosphere of a busy games field.
Although gate numbers were down around 100 on the previous year, over 3,000 athletes and spectators enjoyed a grand days sport and entertainment. As usual there were plenty of trade and charity stalls, showing a stunning array of goods.
New Games Field Announcer
Regular visitors to these Games will have noticed that there was a new announcer this year. We were delighted to welcome Graeme Allan to this important task, taking over from Hamish Scott who was the voice of the Abernethy Games for 19 years. Graeme is no stranger to Highland Games and in fact he still competes, and holds the Abernethy Games records for junior weight for distance set in 1999. His shot putt record, also of 1999 was smashed this year by youngster, George Evans.
Graeme’s parents, Elspeth and Neil have also given long service to these Games as athletics judges so we are delighted to have this Allan family connection.
John Hunter stepped down as Treasurer of the Games Association after 6 years during which time he was too busy to see the Games. The committee felt that his appointment as Chieftain was the proper way to mark their appreciation of his hard work.
John’s parents in law, Lindsay and Janet Henderson, were themselves joint Chieftains in 2001.
On the field 18 heavies competed in four events. Six competitors fought it out in the local heavy events with Conon Quinn (Nethy Bridge) taking overall first, JD Macleod (Newtonmore) second and Brian Harrold (Nethy Bridge) third.
Katie Stark (Inverness) won the girls 17-19 junior heavy competition and George Evans (Inverness Harriers) won the overall boys junior heavy 17-19 year age category.
The overall open heavy competition was won by Sinclair Patience (Inverness), Jamie Gunn (Halkirk) was second and Greg Walker (Fettercairn) was third.
New Games Record
Junior heavy George Evans broke the record for putting the shot with a throw of 16.14m beating the previous record of 15.34m which has stood since 1999.
For the second year running there was a strong field in the athletics competition with sixty five entrants. The younger age categories continue to be very popular particularly the 100yds, 200mts, 1500mts and high jump.
Hugely entertaining, the Tug o’war kept spectators happy and in good voice as 4 pipe band teams battled it out. Adopting an aggressive tactic, pulling hard from the start, City of Inverness Youth Pipe band managed to gain an advantage, finally claiming first place and the Walter Grant Memorial Trophy.
RSPB Road Race
Although the weather held fair for the RSPB Abernethy 10 mile road race, the conditions in the forest sections were challenging due to the recent heavy rain, this however didn’t stop first time entrant Alasdair Anthony from Edinburgh gaining an impressive and clear win in a time of 58min 56 sec over the rest of the field.
The first lady home was Sarah Liebnitc in 4th overall, enabling Inverness Harriers to win the team prize. The local Badenoch and Strathspey resident winners were Penny Lawson and Alan Riach. In the Vets race the mens winner was Stuart Mackay 67:09 and 1st lady vet was Megan Wright 67:59
There was a very good entry in the Highland Dancing, 120 dancers in all, some from far afield, from Wick to Fife as well as 2 dancers from Canada. The standard was high, to be expected as some will be competing in the world championships in Dunoon in 2 weeks time.
The Elsie Ross Trophy for Overall Premier Dancer went to Laura Smith of Huntly, from the Brenda Gordon School.
The morning programme of childrens events was well attended, with the wheelbarrow race drawing a huge entry requiring 10 heats; one spectator was moved to comment however that it was a wheelbarrow race, not a ploughing competition – one team got it back to front! More competitive than the kids, the parents obstacle race was a noisy affair, much appreciated by the crowd.
At the piping board, with this year’s Junior Open competition entries up 70% on 2015 there was keen competition.
Two drummers, new to competition, did exceptionally well in the Open Solo with Scott Dingwall taking 1st prize and Glenn Morrison in 2nd, both from Huntly and District Pipe Band. The Solo Junior competition was won by Liam McIntosh from Huntly and District Pipe Band.
Pipe Band Competition
All 6 pipe bands attending participated in the Pipe Band Competition for the Pipe band Challenge Shield, deservedly awarded to Huntly & District Pipe Band.