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The annual Riverton Athletic meet was held on January 15th 1976 after being postponed on December 28th 1975. Although the crowd was down on previous year it was a good appreciative crowd that turned up to see some of the best chopping for a long time.
Graham Harraway showed the benefits of intensive holiday competitions in Northland, when he won the 12 inch standing chop in 26 sec.
Harraway, won comfortably from second place getter John Pickworth and Mike Carran, third.
The crowd was clearly behind the back marker, Ray Harraway who finished in 33 sec and found his handicap too much to beat.
The older Harraway finished fourth behind Carran. Earlier, Carran looked to be in sharper form, gaining second place in the 12 inch underhand handicap with a handicap of 4 sec behind Dave Laurie of Riverton.
A high class field which included three former New Zealand representatives took part in the championships. There was nothing in it at the finish with Harraway getting the nod in a New Zealand record time of 17.2 sec for pinus wood. As one person said "It had to be a New Zealand record to beat Carran's determination.
Harraway beat Carran by one blow with Graham Harraway in third place.
The previous record was held by Les Gilsenan of the West Coast and latterly Nelson, with a time of 18.5sec. Four years ago Harraway took the record in a time of 19 sec.
At Riverton he cut seven blows on the first side after mis- hitting his first shot. then completed his effort with 11 blows on the second side, it was magnificient chopping.
Carran was not put out by this setback and in the very next cut the 13 inch undercut he set another New Zealand record when he sliced through in 23 sec. However this could not be put forward for ratification as only two watches timed the heat, one short of the required number for official approval. The time did give an indication of how well he was chopping and won the trophy for the most points in bushcraft for the day.
The defending cutters, Stan Wybrow (standing) and Ray Harraway (underhand) retained their hold on this solo series with some fast cutting.
The highlight of the athletics was Danny O'Sullivan from Invercargill in the 3200 M, for training of forthcoming invitational meets, where he will be running against Dick Quax and other top runners over 5000 M.
O'Sullivan toyed with the field and then left them for dead to win effortlessly in a time of 8.57.2 which was an outstanding time on the grass track. He ran the first mile in 4.21 with the rest of the field within sight.
There weren't enough woman registered for the 4oo M so Annette Ashmore joined in the men's race and received a handicap of 60M which she shared with St Paul's member, Lawrie Rewcastle. Annette was clearly the crowd favourite and she appeased them in winning by 3 M. This was followed by a good win in the 800 M with a time of 2.40.6.
Some of the other athletes competing were Maria Panagiotidis, Zane Butson, Niel Van Schaik and John Devery.
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