EDINBURGH THISTLE pulled off the first big shock in the 113th Evening News Dispatch Trophy then were brought crashing back to earth 24 hours later on the opening weekend of the Edinburgh Leisure- supported event at The Braids.
The two-time champions beat Carrickvale, recent hat-trick winners, at the 20th in a fiery first-round tie on Saturday but were unable to follow that up on day two, losing 6 and 5 to a Caermount team led by the father-and-son pairing of Ian and Mark Dickson.
Thistle’s Richard Gill, a former Scottish Boys’ runner-up, was penalised over a controversial incident surrounding a free drop at the first extra hole against Vale but the Braids quartet put that behind them to claim a huge scalp at the next.
“Unfortunately, we just didn’t get going,” said Gill’s playing partner, Donald Anderson, of the subseqeuent defeat, in which the Dicksons, who are joining forces with Gary Henshaw and Martin Hopley, were approximately four-under in beating Simon Sumner and Martin O’Hara.
Caermount’s last-16 opponents tomorrow night are FORE, who have former Lothians champion Mark Timmins in their ranks but had back couple Gary Scott and Robert Jack to thank for their comfortable second-round win over Harrison Golf Society.
It was a mixed couple of days for Harrison. The top team are also out, losing on the last green to Braids United, for whom Glen Marsters was the hero as he rolled in a six-footer up the slope at the 18th. But the B boys are still in the hunt, having pulled off another early upset by beating a Watsonian side that looked to be stronger than their opponents on paper.
“We always knew it was going to be a tough game and I think it was a case of local knowledge winning the day,” said Harrison’s Stuart More.
Next up for him, John Cafferty, Ian Ashley and Cameron Bruce is a third-round meeting with Network Cooling, who have Mike Currie, a winner with Rhodes in 2003 and Nick Faldo’s caddie when he won the Craigmillar Park Open, in their ranks.
On two sun-kissed days – it’s not often you hear Dispatch Trophy competitors complaining it’s “too hot out there” – players reckoned the Braids greens were slower than they normally are at this stage of the year but praised the overall condition of the course.
Silverknowes, bidding to match Carrickvale’s hat-trick after lifting the trophy for the last two years, are safely through to the last 16 after two comfortable wins so far.
In the second of those, Alan Benson, the event’s green ranger, had to step in as a late replacement for the Royal Bank of Scotland after they were hit by an unexpected withdrawal.
The Bank quartet held their own early on – indeed they were one up in both matches after six holes – but eventually succumbed 9 and 8. “We’re not interested in that – we just concentrate on the team we are playing,” said Keith Reilly when asked what the Silverknowes reaction had been to seeing Carrickvale crash out at the first hurdle.
Riccarton, the 2005 winners, were set to be kicking themselves all the way back to Baberton after they lost at the 21st to Stewart’s Melville after being seven up at one point and still two up with two to play.
“That was a complete get out of jail job,” admitted Stew Mel’s Kevin Cattanach after he’d holed from eight feet for the match-winning birdie at the third extra hole, where the top couple halved in 6s.
Other teams still standing include Barnton Hotel, last year’s beaten finalists, and British Rugby Club of Paris, who have former Scotland rugby star Gavin Hastings in their ranks.