Highland Gathering 1st January 2014
Overcast skies and occasional rain did little to dampen the
enthusiasm from the spectators for the 153rd Maryborough Highland
Gathering. With scenes that resembled any gathering in that period, the only
changes being the sound system and starting blocks, we may have been watching a
gathering from many decades ago. Highland secretary, Dennis Turner, has handled
the once thought impossible task of replacing Max Martin with apparent ease.
The huge program of bands, dancing, highland contests, athletics and assorted
presentations went to time with a minimum of fuss. Added to these events is the
co ordination of the street parade in the morning, the concert in the evening
and finishing off with the fireworks display at 10 pm. The running surface was once again in
excellent condition and the MHS provided ample judges, time keepers, starting
assistants and officials to provide a smooth day of competition.
The position is still unfilled for the prestigious and career progressing task
of writing the Rye wrap. At the moment we have declined the offers of William
Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, Danielle Steel, Barbara Cartland and Xaviera
Hollander. Anyone wishing to rise to the top of the literary world and possibly
gain an invitation to the ABC book club tea party please see Brian Marantelli
or Tom Burbidge.
National Real Estate 70m
Nathan Riali (3.5m) continued on with his 2013 form by
winning the first sprint of 2014 by a clear margin in 7.81. Nathan recorded the
fastest heat time by 1/100th , followed with the quickest semi final
and lined up for the final looking to be a sure winner. In the final he
defeated William Kerr (8m) by nearly a metre with Cam Dunbar (4.5m) in third
place. Melanie Purkiss (12m) who ran a fast heat time and recorded a good semi
final placing failed to repeat her efforts and finished last in the final.
Riali won the recent Northcote gift final and is coached by Scott Rowsell.
Maryborough Gift 120m
After the running of the eight heats the main event always
looked to be a race in two with Noddy Angelakos (12m) and Lee Forrest (7m)
recording 12.54 and 12.52 respectively. The next quickest was Ryan Camille, a
Stawell Gift finalist last season, who recorded 12.66. The semi finals went the
way that was expected with Noddy now the leader with a 12.45 as against
Forrest’s time of 12.49. In the final Angelakos began brilliantly from his mark
to hold a clear lead, but in the last few strides Forrest was able to power to
the lead and win by half a metre, the winning time 12.34. Dean Scarff was able
to grab third place from Darren Whittaker (12m). The winner pocketed the first
prize cheque of $8000, with second ($2920) and third ($1500), a handy way to
start off the new year. The winner is coached by Marcus Arnold in Albury.
VAL under 20s 800m
The Victorian Athletic League sponsored underage distance
events continued at Maryborough with Ashley Cowen (42m) winning his first event
in VAL ranks with a clear win in the under 20s 800m final. Ashley made up the
leeway on the front markers gradually over the first lap and it was evident
that with 300 metres to travel it was a battle between himself and Jacob Reed
(36m). Jacob had a handy sit on Ashley coming to the home turn and looked
likely to do the better in the run home but Cowen was equal to the task and was
a convincing winner. Addison Ogilvie (104m) battled on for third. Cowen has
kept the Hipworth stable “ticking along” in Victoria whilst the rest of the
Hipworth crew have been enjoying a leisurely holiday in sun drench Tasmania.
Ashley showed a win wasn’t far away with a solid fourth in the 1600m at Ararat
Supplies Women’s and Veterans’ 1600m
Greg “ Floater” Whitecross has had a few quiet seasons on
the VAL circuit lately, but this season he has hit his best form with back to
back wins in the women’s and veterans’ events. His Maryborough win came on the
back of a very easy win at Meadowglen, with also a finals appearance in the 550
metres at Bay Sheffield. The front markers at Maryborough had the race to
themselves from early on as Robert Kenshole (400m), Floater and Gary Blake
maintained a huge break on the rest of the field coming to the bell. Whitecross
cleared out heading into the back straight with only Blake a possibility. The
top three held their placings for the last lap and Whitecross recorded the
winning time of 4.31.44. Ashley Sandison was the best of the back markers
finishing in fourth place. Floater is coached by Mark Zuckerberg.
The South Australian pair of Tim Earle and Matt Konetschka
have been on a working holiday in Victoria for the last few days and have
acquired some healthy pay cheques in the process. Earle defeated Konetschka in
the 1600m at Ararat on Monday, then waltzed the 800 metres in at Maryborough
before scratching from the 1600m to give Konetschka (130m) a winning opportunity. Matt took the chance
with both feet as he cruised into 3rd place at the bell and ran to
the lead with ease and cleared out to defeat the improving Phillip O’Brien
(140m) and Charlie Brooks (195m). The winning time of 4.06.85 was the fastest
of the season. Konetschka is coached in Adelaide by Michael Buckler.
Foundation 120m Novice
After five extremely even heats David Fenollar (9.75m) was
able to win his first official VAL event with a comfortable margin over Brendan
Glidden-Green(11m) and Rhys Gillson (11m). The fastest heat was won by William
Kerr (13.5m) in 12.91 with the slowest being 13.04 by Jason Bailey (8m). David,
a winner of a 300m promotional event at Melton harness has been close to a win
with some very competitive recent performances. He was able to carry on with
his good form by winning a heat of the main event later in the afternoon. David
is coached by John Henry.
Peter Egan Bi-Rite
Craig Lancaster (24.75m) recorded his first victory for a
few seasons with a handy victory in the over thirty five event at Maryborough.
Craig’s last win was the 300 metres at St Albans, although he ran some very
competitive events at the Bay Sheffield carnival after Christmas, his best
effort, a placing in the 550 metres final. Craig recorded the fastest of the
five heats with a win in 13.39, well clear of the next best, 12.52 by Jeff
Sargent (17.25m). In the final Craig held the field at bay to win by half a
metre from Tom Hecimovic (18m) and Jeff Sargent. He improved marginally on his
heat time with a winning final in 13.36.
Jessica Payne (11) scored her biggest victory when she led
all the way to win the prestigious Maryborough Highland Society handicap. The
event carries a nice prize of $700 and also provides the winner with a
necklace. Jessica won the first heat, one of the slower heats with a time of
14.61. This appeared to be well short of Holly Dobbyn’s ( 6.75m) in heat four.
However, in the final Payne held her opponents easily to win by a metre in
14.36, a significant improvement on her earlier time. Jessica defeated Karlee
Bailey (9m) and Tierra Exum (8m), with Dobbyn only managing fourth place. The
winner is coached by Shane McKenzie.
For the first time in many years the 800 metres at
Maryborough was conducted as a straight final with a capacity field of nineteen
fronting the starters. Stefan Catalano (134m)took the lead from Martine Beer (150m)
at the bell and opened up a handy lead with Wayne James (106m) Cameron Glasson (62m)
and Charles Brooks (68m) still in contention. Tim Earle started to move after the
bell and Cam Clayton (24m) was making good progress from the rear. Recent
professional 400 metres champion Sam Baird was making heavy work of the race
off his tough handicap of eight metres. But with 300 metres to travel Earle
quickly chased after Catalano and Glasson and had their measure at the 200
metres point. He raced away to win as he liked from Cam Clayton and Glasson in
the slick time of 1.50.95. An interesting late entry was the Scottish athlete
Matthew Turner (16m), in Australia on a touring holiday, having his first VAL
run. Out of the action early Matthew started to run on late and passed many
tired runners in the last 200 metres.
It was another win to a Michael Buckler trained runner.
The very popular Sportzbiz novice series continued at
Maryborough with keenly contested heats and an exciting final. The three heats
were all won in the low 47 seconds to mid 47 second range with Jessie Hart (90m)
the fastest at 47.24. She reproduced that run again to lead nearly all the way
in the final and defeat Kyle Hilson (84m) and Danielle McDowell (94m) in 47.26.
Advertiser 200m Open
In one of the closest finishes seen for some time William Little
(20m) got the judges verdict by 1/1000th of a second from Justin
Templar (21m) in the final of the open 200 metres. Close up in third place was
Jay Blake (25m) who just managed to hold out Derek Collinge (15m) for the minor
prize. Little and Templar were the only two athletes to break twenty one
seconds in their heat and with them drawing side by side in the final it turned
out to be a great battle up the home straight. After an extended period of
deliberation the judges finally posted the placings with the winning time of
20.954 for Little and 20.955 to Templar.
Funeral’s Veteran’s 300m
In another frantic drive to the finishing line Andrew
Drummond (38m) over powered the tearaway leader Martin Armour (78m) in the home
straight to claim first prize in the veteran’s final. Armour looked sure to win
in the shadows of the post but Drummond pushed hard to win by half a metre.
Leigh Rowbottom (32m) was third with the winner recording 35.42. The first two
were the only heat winners to break thirty six seconds and they had the race to
themselves over the last hundred metres.
Mitre 10 400
Mitchell Hocking (19m) completed a rare treble when he took
out the final of the open 400 metres at Maryborough on Wednesday. Mitchell’s
win was his third Maryborough 400 metres win in the last four years, bringing
back memories of Dallas O’Brien’s three consecutive wins in the Wangaratta 400
metres in the early 80’s. Once again there were only two heat winners to break
48 seconds with Hocking recording 47.37 and Jacob Reed (40m) winning in 47.30.
Mitchell proved marginally too strong for Reed and was able to finish a metre
clear with Samuel Baird (6m) putting in a giant effort to run a close third,
off his difficult back mark. Baird recently defeated Alex Rowe and Matthew
Hargreaves in the Australian professional 400 metres championship in
is coached by John Knott in Bendigo.
Tarryn Fisher (48m) made a one act affair of the women’s 400
metres when she led all the way to defeat Kim McDonough (44m) and Julia Boatman
(44m).Fisher defeated McDonough in the heat and produced the same effort to
take the final. Tarryn’s winning time was 54.46 and she had four metres to
spare at the finish. Tarryn is coached by Kyneton mayor elect Gordon Muir.