Greg Hadley Wins His Fourth Canadian Highland Games Championships

Congratulations to Greg Hadley on picking up his fourth Canadian Highlands Games Championships and many thanks to Francis Brebner for piecing together a report on the action.

Canadian Highland Games Championships by Francis Brebner

Greg Hadley earned his fourth Canadian Highland Games Championships title this weekend in a very close competition between himself and Jason Johnston. The Games were held in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Hadley's hometown, where nearly 10,000 fans and spectators turned out each day despite the drizzling rain throughout most of the competition.

The opening event of the Championships was the 23-lb. Braemar stone, which was won by Matt Doherty with a putt of 40' 5" for a possible new Canadian record and "an absolutely awesome throw," Hadley said. Jason Johnston was second with 38' 9" and Hadley was third with 36' 11".

In the 56-lb. weight for distance, it was a very close competition, indeed, with Hadley coming out on top with a distance of 41' 7". Jason Johnston was in second with 40' 2" and Lyle Barron was in third with 39' 10".

Hadley won the 22-lb. hammer with a throw of 106'; Johnston was in second on 102' 2" and Barron was in third with 101' 9".

The caber was 20' 6" long and weighed 90 lb., but it had gained a few pounds with the rainfall; it was light and crooked, which left it pretty much to a shootout, with Peppard taking the top honors with two 12:00 tosses; Hadley and Wand both having one 12:00 each, but Hadley going ahead on countback for second and Wand placing third.

In the 56-lb. weight over the bar done in the traditional standing style, it was Danny Frame who dominated the event with a fine throw of 16' 6" in front of a cheering crowd; this gave him the win and it was a new PR for him, also. Doherty placed second with 16' and Wand third with 16'.

Here are the points after day one:

1. Greg Hadley, 50.5 points
2. Jason Johnston, 49 points
3. Matt Doherty, 43 points
4. Jamie Peppard, 40.5 points
5. Lyle Barron, 39 points
6. Dirk Bishop, 38.5 points

After this first day's competition, Hadley said, "The weather didn't cooperate for us; it was raining most of the day, making the field difficult to throw on. I was a tad let down by my performance, but am looking to rebound tomorrow."

The second day of competition opened with the 17.2-lb. open stone. Doherty won this event with a putt 49' 1", pushing Hadley into second place with 48' 9", and Johnston was third with 46' 7".

In the 28-lb. weight for distance, surprisingly, it was Johnston who took the win over Hadley, with a throw of 78' 10". Hadley finished in second with 75', and Barron was in third with 74' 11".

In front of a huge crowd of 10,000 people, the Canadian Highland Games Championships came down to the last scored event, the 16-lb. hammer.

Going into that event, Greg Hadley held a razor-thin lead of 1.5 points over rival Jason Johnston. After getting psyched up in front of the home crowd, Hadley hit 130' 5" in his first attempt, which ultimately turned out to be enough for the win in the event and in the overall.

Final positions were Hadley as the champion, followed by Johnston, Doherty, Bishop and Barron.

Hadley said, "It was a tremendous weekend of hospitality and athletics in Antigonish. On Thursday evening, all athletes were treated to an all-you-can-eat lobster and steak dinner before being officially introduced at the local pub in front of a raucous crowd of 700 people."

"The weather didn't cooperate as much as organizers had hoped. During the days leading to Saturday and Sunday, Antigonish experienced record heat, which made the field tinder dry, making footing an issue. On Saturday it rained, making grip more of an issue. This may have been a factor for all athletes, including myself, throwing significantly under what they usually do."

Next for Hadley is the Uxbridge Highland Games in Toronto, Ontario, this upcoming weekend.

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