ROYAL BURGESS are two wins away from regaining the Edinburgh Summer League title after pulling off the only away win in the quarter-finals.
Former Scottish Boys’ champion Stephen Buckley secured a dramatic shoot-out win for the Barnton club over newcomers Longniddry to set up a clash with Turnhouse in the last four.
Turnhouse defeated defending champions Bruntsfield Links to progress to the semi-finals, where the line-up is completed by Duddingston and Mortonhall.
On a rare sunny summer’s night, Longniddry and Royal Burgess fought out an extremely close match on the East Lothian coast.
Longniddry were up or square in seven matches after ten holes played, so were looking the favourites, but the visitors produced a great fightback.
Trailing 4.5-2.5, they won the last two matches through seasoned Summer League campaigners Sandy Gray and Brian Tait.
Earlier, Buckley had produced a great up-and-down to earn a half in the top match against Michael Bacigalupo before winning at the 19th.
“Our initial reaction is extreme disappointment at losing at this stage,” admitted Longniddry team captain Alistair Robertson, “but for our first year in the Edinburgh Summer League I think our team and players have done extremely well and should be proud of what they have achieved.”
Dethroned last year after lifting the title six seasons in a row, Royal Burgess now travel to Craigmillar Park on Sunday, August 23 to take on a Turnhouse team bidding for a first triumph in the event.
Maintaining their form from the round-robin phase, Turnhouse ended Bruntsfield Links’ gutsy effort to hang on to the title with a 6-3 success.
Helped by a lucky bounce off the out of bounds wall at the 15th, Lindsay Gordon secured a valuable point for Turnhouse with a win over Stuart McLaren, while Lewis Bain won the last to beat former Scottish champion Zander Culverwell in the top match.
“It was a fantastic match against a very strong and experienced Bruntsfield team and a lot closer than the score line reads,” said Turnhouse team manager Moray Hanson. “We played extremely well and what was heartening to see was that those who hadn’t been picked for the team came out to support on the night.
“We have a great team spirit and that has gone a long way to obtaining the fantastic results we have had this season.
“It will be a tough match against Royal Burgess, but I am confident that our guys can come home with a great result.”
For Douglas Livingston, it was his final match as the Bruntsfield Links team manager. “I will be stepping down at the end of this season having been in charge for several years,” he said.
“The highlight was obviously winning the trophy last year and I have made many new friends over the years.
“This is a great competition and every effort must be made to sustain it despite the difficult times that most clubs are currently experiencing.”
Duddingston and Mortonhall set up their mouth-watering semi-final at Prestonfield after making home advantage count against West Linton and Newbattle respectively.
Gus Santana kept his unbeaten run going for Duddingston with a great 4&3 victory over Lothians Championship finalist Stephen Smith and he was backed up with solid wins from Gary Thomson, Paul Heggie, John Shepherd and Derrick Williams. “A great home win played in really tough conditions,” said Duddingston team manager Alan Banks. “West Linton were very complimentary about the condition of our course, as have all our opponents this season.”
Mortonhall counterpart Graeme Stark was equally pleased with his side’s success against a Newbattle team that had enjoyed its best campaign in recent times.
“Another great performance against a determined and well-supported Newbattle outfit,” said Stark.
“We maybe just had the edge at the halfway stage in a match which showed the highest quality of golf from both sides.”
Ian Dickson and Steven Scott managed to turn their games around on the inward half for the hosts against Graeme Reid and Fraser Jervis, while Newbattle’s Stuart Thorburn had six birdies in a row from the 11th in beating Greg Nicolson.
“There were plenty of birdies and eagles in all games in a match played in good golfing spirits,” added Stark.
Mortonhall 6.5, Newbattle 2.5: Greg Nicolson lost to Stuart Thorburn 3&2; Ian Dickson halved with Graeme Reid; Aodan Donnelly bt Colin Church 3&2; Rob Paterson bt Craig Surgeon 3&2; Stuart Cochran bt David Patterson 3&2; Steve Scott bt Fraser Jervis 2&1; Alex Main bt Scott Stables 3&2; Chris Timms lost to Scott Rutherford 3&2; Mark Dickson bt Dean Brock 5&4.
Turnhouse 6, Bruntsfield Links 3: Lewis Bain bt Zander Culverwell one hole; Ricky Moffat lost to Alan Anderson 5&4; Doug Imrie bt Graeme Nisbet 3&2; Steven Armstrong bt Kevin Cattanach 4&2; Mark Napier bt John Liddel 5&3; Lindsay Gordon bt Stuart McLaren one hole; Euan McIntosh lost to Ally Ritchie 2&1; Olly McCrone lost to Ross Brydon 3&1; Andrew Young bt Sandy Reid 3&2.
Duddingston 6, West Linton 3: David Miller halved with Sean Walter; Gary Thomson bt Andrew Young 6&5; Cameron Hay lost to Kenny Mail 3&2; Gus Santana bt Stephen Smith 4&3; Paul Heggie bt Adam Stott 3&2; Scott Dickson lost to Scott MacKay 6&5; John Shepherd bt Paul Neil two holes; Shaun Gordon halved with Nick Barr; Derrick Williams bt Scott Walker 3&2.
Longniddry 4.5, Royal Burgess 4.5: Michael Bacigalupo halved with Stephen Buckley; Marc Owenson bt Joe Lockie 5&4; Connor Farrell lost to M Pennycott 6&5; David Connolly bt G Archibald 4&2; Duncan Martin bt S Cochrane 5&3; Jack Rogan lost to Viran Varadharajan 3&2; Nick Aiken lost to Sandy Gray one hole; Kevin Girdler bt John Yuille 2&1; Jonathan Watt lost to Brian Tait 3&1.