HAPPY Hibbies George Alexander and Justin White both saw their dream weekend continue on the second day of the 117th Dispatch Trophy at the Braids.
Alexander was on cloud nine after his memorable day at Hampden was followed by both Carrickvale teams making it to the last 16 of the golfclubs4cash-sponsored event. And, with the A team beating arch-rivals Silverknowes to get there, it was no surprise to hear Alexander admit: “If Carlsberg did weekends, then this was definitely the one for me!”
The top Carrickvale couple of Allyn Dick and Craig Deerness recovered from three successive three-putts early on and falling behind at the sixth to finish one up on Tom Caldwell and Iain Doig.
Behind, Craig Elliot, who holed a monster 60-footer for birdie at the seventh, and Paul Cunningham held off a back-nine fightback to win by the same margin over Keith Reilly and Craig Scott.
“There was a big doubt about me making it up here this morning,” added a smiling Alexander of the celebrations that followed Hibs ending their Scottish Cup Final hoodoo after 114 years. “But I’m glad I made it as this great win coupled with the B team also making it through to the third round has made it a memorable weekend.”
White managed to get into Saturday night’s “private party” at Easter Road and was pictured on Facebook with a winner’s medal draped around his neck. But, despite being bleary-eyed on the first tee, he helped Harrison B beat Edinburgh Western after the top Harrison team had progressed earlier in the day.
“I’m happy with that after just three hours sleep,” admitted White, who bagged three birdies in partnership with Donny Munro.
Carrickvale’s next opponents are the Stephen Gallacher Foundation after the newcomers in an event being run for the first time by Edinburgh Leisure won at the 20th over Hailes C.
“It makes sense to let them know what the Dispatch Trophy is all about rather than giving them an easy first run-out,” quipped Scott Knowles of 15-year-olds Cameron Gallagher and Connor Wilson having nerve-shredding debuts.
Thirteen-year-old Malachy Hayword was also involved in a match that required extra holes but his Colinton Mains side bowed out at the 19th to Third.
Stephen Marshall’s approach to five feet in the second group settled that tie after Third had threatened to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory after being three up with three to play.
Third’s last-16 opponents, Turnhouse team BBT, also sneaked through at the 19th against Silverknowes 50, who followed both Silverknowes and Cramond in making an early exit on this occasion.
Heriots Quad, the beaten finalists in 2014, are on the trophy trail again and now meet Harrison, with the top Heriots side pulling off one of two stunning fightbacks.
They were eight down overall to RICS early in the back nine but clawed their way back into game before winning the last in both matches to come out on top.
At the back, Willem Kerr’s exquisite approach to six feet was converted by David Campbell after their opponents had piled on the pressure by holing from longer than that for par. “Nothing will ever compare to myself and Brian Erskine once being eight up after nine in a final yet ending up on a losing side but that is certainly one of the best comebacks I’ve had up up here,” admitted John Archibald.
Celebrating his 40th anniversary in the event this year, Archibald has Rory Smith, who plays off one at Dalmahoy, as a useful partner on this occasion as they now take on Edinburgh Thistle. Braids United, this year’s host club, also turned their tie around on the back nine, recovering from being seven down to stun Stewart’s/Melville, whose front couple dumped three balls in the gorse at the 16th.
Hailes, the defending champions, overcame a slow start to win comfortably against Harrison Seniors, setting up a tasty Tuesday tie against Temple Golfing Society.
“When myself and Steve McCulloch lost the first, it was like ‘oh no’ but it turned out fine for us in the end,” admitted a relieved Marc Cairnie.
McCulloch’s son, Ciaran, is also still standing as part of the Hailes B team. “Ciaran was making his debut and played very well,” reported playing partner Alan Crabbe.
Barnton Hotel, the 2001 winners, are the remaining team still in the title hunt, with Carrickvale B next up for them.