Dunbartonshire Amateur Athletics Association: 1952 – 56

Start of DAAA organised Balloch – Clydebank, 1952:  a confined race to member clubs.

The 1951/52 cross-country season ended and the summer season then went on until the end of June (25th) with the Inter-Counties at Westhorn Recreation Grounds in Glasgow when Lanarkshire with 63 points defeated Renfrewshire on 49 points and Dunbartonshire with 43.

The individual clubs held their own open meetings of course with the Helensburgh Meeting being on 26th July and the Milngavie open meeting at Auchenhowie on 16th August.   The latter had top class athletes all the way through the programme with Bill Jack in the sprints, Donnie McDonald the middle distance specialist, Ian Binnie in the long distance events and David Gracie in the hurdles.    The Inter-Counties medley relay was won by Dunbartonshire from Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire.   

In October, on the third Saturday, all the county relays took place on the 18th of the month.   The Dunbartonshire team race was won fairly comfortably by Garscube Harriers from the Brock Baths in Dumbarton from Vale of Leven and Garscube Harriers B Team – details below.    


Finally for 1952, the county took on Lanarkshire in the annual cross-country race sponsored and organised by the Counties themselves, via a Committee representative of these county associations.   What happened to Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, Stirlingshire or City of Glasgow is not noted, what is noted is the mammoth defeat suffered by Dunbartonshire. for whom several top men did not turn out.   The ‘Herald’report on the race said that”Eddie Bannon outstripped his rivals yesterday in the Lanarkshire/Dunbartonshire six and a half mile cross country race, held over a course planned by the Shettleston Harriers in the vicinity of their pavilion in Gartocher Road.   It was a three lap trail, almost entirely on grassland, with very little road running.    At the end of the first lap, he held a 70 yard lead, and striding out comfortably continued to widen the gap.   J Finlayson, a team mate was his closest challenger for a time, but over the last lap, a “dark horse” , W Green (Cambuslang) over took Finlayson and finished second, a quarter of a mile behind Bannon.”    

Details from the ‘Scots Athlete’ below.

The actual county championships organised by the DAAA took place on 10th January at the same Dumbarton venue as the relays.   The report and results from The ‘Glasgow Herald’ are below.

On Saturday 18th April the confined Dunbartonshire AAA Road Running Championship over the 12 mile course from Balloch to Clydebank was won by John Duffy of Clydesdale Harriers in 1:10:31 from Joe Walker of Dumbarton AAC.   The quality of the field can be seen from the photograph below with two excellent runners from Garscube Harriers trailing him out of Dumbarton just after halfway.

We know that the County was very active: championship relays in two age groups, championships in two age groups, Track & Field Championships, two road races – the confined Balloch to Clydebank 12 miles and the open Clydebank to Helensburgh 16 miles – teams in inter-counties on the track and over the country when they were held as well as helping individual clubs and organisations within the area.   Unfortunately for reasons unknown, the championships, other than the road races, were not advertised in ‘The Scots Athlete’ as those of other counties were.   There were whole pages of fixtures most years which included Lanarkshire AAA, Renfrewshire AAA and AHCA championships but seldom if ever dates for Dunbarton Championships.    Perhaps related to that, there was a hierarchy of coverage of county events in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ with Lanarkshire getting the lion’s share of the coverage and Renfrewshire next and then Ayrshire.   There are gaps, at times big gaps, in the reports on Dunbartonshire championships.

David Bowman of Clydesdale Harriers at Greenhead Road – halfway – in the Balloch to Clydebank Race

 The Milngavie Highland Games on 15th August 1953 were again a great success with Ian Binnie beating a field of 42 runners in the 10 mile road race in a record time and Eddie Bannon winning the Two Miles as he pleased; Bill Piper had the best performance in the high jump and won the pole vault and Molly Ferguson (later Wilmoth) won the 100 yards but there was no Inter-County Relay race as in previous years. 

Winter 1953/54 started in the traditional fashion with the short relays.   The McAndrew promised a good season to come when Victoria Park won their own McAndrew Relay with Ian Binnie setting a new course record, taking 5 seconds from the existing one.   Their B team was third with Shetleston separating the two.   The first Dunbartonshire team was Garscube in fourth place.    The Dunbartonshire championship relay took place on 17th October at the Garscube Harriers HQ at Westerton.   They turned out the same quartet that had run so well in the McAndrew but not in the same order – Robertson had been on the last leg in the Scotstoun race with Kidd running first.   They all ran again in the Midland District where the team finished sixth – Robertson, Dunn, Coupland, Kidd was the order this time round.  They were a very good team, of that there is no doubt at all, but what is surprising is that not one of the four was in the list of season’s best times for any endurance event on the track as published in the ‘Scots Athlete’.   Alex Kidd had taken up marathon running and performed well in several 20+ mile races.    He had been fourth of the fifteen finishers behind two experienced English runners and Joe McGhee in the Perth to Dundee race and fourth in the SAAA Marathon Championship in a time of 2:43:15 behind J Duffy (Hadleigh), A McLean (Glenpark Harriers) and J McGhee (St Modan’s).   The Dunbartonshire result was printed in that magazine as follows:-

The Championship results are not available at present  so it is on to the following spring and . . . .

The Dunbartonshire Balloch to Clydebank 12 Mile Road Race in 1954 took place on 17th April and was won, as per expectations, by Alex Kidd by fully 600 yards in 68:30.   Fellow Garscube Harrier Stan Horn was the man in second and J Timmins of Dumbarton AAC third in times respectively of 70:23 and 70:52.   FJ Lacey of Vale of Leven was fourth in 71:32, J Duffy, Clydesdale Harriers was fifth in 72:06 and DM Bowman, also Clydesdale, sixth in 72: 09.   Pictured below are Willie Howie, David Bowman and John Duffy of Clydesdale Harriers after the Balloch to Clydebank.

The winter relays were held on Vale of Leven’s territory on 16th October 1954 and the home team won from reigning champions, Garscube Harriers.   The two men whose names stand out over 60 years later were the two men who had the fastest times – Pat Moy and Alex McDougall of the Vale.   Moy was an Irish international runner and a performer of the highest class who won events on the track, over the country and on the roads, while McDougall was a Scottish internationalist, a medal winner at SAAA level and an Empire Games competitor.   They would both be big names for some time to come.    

The Championships were held early in the New Year – 8th January 19545- and were won by Clydesdale’s Cyril O’Boyle, picture below, in 38:16.   Results:


George White to John Wright for Clydesdale Harriers in the DAAA Cross-Country Relay

The Balloch to Clydebank race was on 16th April in 1955 and featured a hard race between Cyril O’Boyle of Clydesdale Harriers and the tough Alex McDougall of Vale of Leven.   O’Boyle won by 700 yards in 64:15 from McDougall (65:49) and Stan Horne of Garscube, the winner in 1953, was third .   Remaining placings:-  4.  G Dickson, Garscube, 71:20;  5.  J Timmins, Dumbarton, 73:54;  6.  W Ross, Garscube,  76:36;  7.  M Stewart, Clydesdale, 76:42.   Alex Kidd, the winner the previous year, did not run.   The report from “Athletic Review” (1/3d) of June 1955 by CS Barber is below the photograph.

Cyril O’Boyle leading Alex McDougall in the Balloch to Clydebank Road Race, 1955

The cross-country relays in October 1955 were held on 15th October and the winners were Garscube Harriers with Clydesdale second and Vale of Leven, the holders were third.   The report in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ covered all three county events that weekend and the report – minus the results for Renfrew and Lanark – is below.

So much for the Relays, the championships were held at Dumbarton with the senior title being retained by Clydesdale’s O’Boyle from Pat Moy of the Vale Harriers.   The ‘Glasgow Herald’ report is below.

The first significant road race of the following summer season (1956) was on 7th April and was the Clydebank to Helensburgh 16 miler.   Another good report on the race from the ‘Glasgow Herald’ 

The Balloch – Clydebank was held on 14th April, 1956, and was won by McDougall after a hard race with Garscube’s Kidd, O’Boyle having dropped out with foot trouble, report below. 

McDougall would run for Scotland in the Empire Games Marathon in Cardiff and have a very good career as a marathon runner domestically.   A hard, tough man he had some very good races with O’Boyle a runner of real class from Ireland.    Along with the immensely talented Pat Moy, McDougall gave the Vale of Leven AAC the foundations for a very good team.    The club had several top class men – Walter Lennie who won the Midland District championship was one and Willie Gallacher was another.   Gallacher, younger brother of the boxer Skeets Gallacher (Scottish and British flyweight champion and unofficial champion of the world) , left the Vale for just over a year and ran for Shettleston Harriers before returning to the club.