NEWCOMERS Royal Musselburgh were beaten but certainly not disgraced as they made their debut in the Pollock (Scotrans) Ltd Edinburgh Summer League at Mortonhall.
It ended 6-2 in favour of the home side but the East Lothian men put up a brave fight and look like being a good addition to the set-up.
“A good solid performance by our team against ‘the new kids on the block’,” said Mortonhall team manager Graeme Stark.
“We didn’t know the guys on the Royal Musselburgh team, so didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out they were all experienced golfers playing in the East Lothian League.”
On a night when putts were dropping in all over the place, which was perhaps a compliment to the Mortonhall greens, Royal Musselburgh’s Craig Johnstone marked his debut in style. His opponent, Jamie Kennedy, was level-par yet lost by 5 and 4 as Johnstone raced to the turn in 31, five-under.
Chris Ratcliffe delivered Royal Musselburgh’s other point at the opposite end of the order, beating Chris Timms. But they sandwiched home wins from Martin Hopley, Duncan Hamilton, Martin Fitheridge, Scott James, Michael Boddie and Ian Dickson. “I was particularly pleased for our junior Michael Boddie, who came in as a late replacement and won his first match playing in the big boys’ team,” added Stark. “I’m happy to have that match out of the way and come out of it unscathed as I see Royal Musselburgh well capable of winning points away from home, which is always difficult to do.” The two teams meet again tonight in the return match in East Lothian.
In the only other match played so far – the new season starts in earnest this week – Turnhouse had to dig deep to make home advantage count against Musselburgh. The visitors led 3-2 after the top five matches were completed, but wins from Olly McCrone, Stevie Robb and Tommy Cadger turned it round for Turnhouse.
Royal Burgess, bidding for an unprecedented fourth title in a row, start their campaign tonight at home to Musselburgh.
“Four consecutive titles is beyond our wildest ambitions and I suppose everyone looks at us being one of the favorites again this year,” said Burgess team manager Richard Hughes. “But we have a tough section, with Duddingston, Turnhouse, Merchants and Monktonhall all very hard to beat on their own track. We will not have everything our own way and I think there are any number of teams who could challenge for the title.”
“We have Varun Varadharajan staking a claim for a regular place in the team, which is great, but on the down side we have lost Grant Hill, who has joined Archerfield,” added Hughes.
Results: Turnhouse 5, Musselburgh 3: S Armstrong bt K Wright 4 and 3; L McCathie lost to B McLeod 3 and 2; N Anderson bt C Burgess 5 and 4; L Bain lost to S Reid 2 and 1; D Black lost to T Cordery 3 and 1; O McCrone bt S Greig 4 and 2; S Robb bt S Menzies 3 and 1; T Cadger bt I Fyfe 6 and 4. Mortonhall 6, Royal Musselburgh 2: J Kennedy lost to C Johnstone 5 and 4; M Hopley bt R Cochrane 5 and 4; D Hamilton bt C Mackie 2 and 1; M Fitheridge bt J Ramsay 4 and 2; S James bt K Fee 3 and 2; M Boddie bt D Watters 4 and 3; I Dickson bt J Hall 2 and 1; C Timms lost to C Ratcliffe 4 and 3.
lYesterday’s play at Dalmahoy in the Lothians Championship was washed out by rain.