Tonight’s draw for the Dispatch Trophy will involve 58 teams – six more than last year.
The increase is a timely boost for the Edinburgh Evening News-sponsored event after a gradual drop in entries in recent stagings.
Among the names going into the hat at the Merchants are four new teams – Edinburgh Bar Association, UK Accident & Repair, Gullane Comrades and Stinger Golfing Society.
“It is very encouraging to have these teams entering the event for the first time,” admitted Dispatch Trophy secretary Robin Mutch.
The line-up has also been boosted by teams returning to the fray, the most notable probably being former winners Rhodes.
It’s indicative of how tough it has become for some non-course owning clubs, though, that a few regulars are missing from this year’s entry.
They include Riccarton, the 2005 winners, as well as Watsonians and Buckstone Golf Club.
“It’s unfortunate that we have lost these teams, but, at the same time, it makes the fact we have increased the entry from last year all the more pleasing,” added Mutch.
Carrickvale go into the draw as defending champions, having beaten Silverknowes in last year’s final. The pair will hope to be in opposite halves of the draw again, but it’s open so they could just as easily come out together in the first round.
This year’s event will again be staged in conjunction with Edinburgh Leisure at the Braids, the venue that has played such a pivotal part in the rich and exciting history of a team tournament that is almost unrivalled in Scottish golf.