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.
Note; 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.
Maryborough First 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.
Bendigo Bank 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 final
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 on Monday.
Wattle Office 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 Kensole (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.
Harvey World Travel 1600m
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.
Blue Ribbon 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 Electrical Veterans’120m
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.
M.H.S. Women’s Necklace
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.
Treble Jewellers Open 800m
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.
Sportzbiz 400m Novice
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.
Maryborough 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.
Darryl Wagstaff 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 metres Open
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 Devonport. Hocking is coached by John Knott in Bendigo.
Primes Discount Women’s 400m
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.