Former Lothians champ Miller ruled out of Dispatch Trophy

AN old football injury has thwarted David Miller's hopes of being part of a second team triumph this year on the Capital golf scene.

Friday, 20th May 2016, 5:30 am
David Miller
David Miller

Miller joined forces with Duddingston clubmates Derrick Williams and Gary Thomson to win the Lothians Team Tournament at Kingsknowe earlier this month.

But he’s been ruled out of the Dispatch Trophy, which gets underway at the Braids tomorrow, after undergoing keyhole surgery on his knee on Wednesday.

“An old football injury is coming back to haunt me,” admitted the 2014 Lothians champion, who was due to be in the Temple Golfing Society line-up in the event’s 117th staging. “I had my right knee operated on over ten years ago but further surgery is now required.”

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Miller, who played for both Craigroyston and Spartans in the East of Scotland League, added: “My inner and outer cartilages both have large tears on them and the MRI scan identified that my cruciate 
ligaments have completely gone.

“I’m likely to be out for three or four weeks and 36-hole competitions are not going to be on my radar for a bit.”

On the radar for Hailes in an event that has golfclubs4cash as its sponsor for the first time is the chance of a successful title defence.

The Kingsknowe club bridged a 40-year gap when they claimed the iconic trophy 12 months ago and are returning with the same quartet of Alan Mackay, Gary Malone, Steve McCulloch and Marc Cairnie. “We are looking forward to being the defending champions,” declared MacKay, who chipped in from 40 feet for an eagle-2 at the 18th to secure a dramatic one-hole victory over 2014 winners Silverknowes in last year’s final.

“Coming up against Harrison Seniors in the first round means taking on another Braids team, which is similar to last year as we played both Harrison and Braids United.

“There was a buzz when the draw came out and there’s potential for some big games early on.”

Silverknowes, for instance, could come up against Carrikvale in Sunday’s second round and that would certainly be a tasty tie.

Last year’s beaten finalists make one change, with Dispatch Trophy veteran Iain Doig coming in for Kenny Alexander to join Keith Reilly, Craig Scott and Tam Caldwell.

Alexander reverts to Cramond duty along with Chris Milligan, Ian Randall and Jimmy Keggie, with Paul Ross coming in on Sunday if they get through.

Barnton Hotel lifted the trophy for the one and only time in 2001 but, as was the case back then, the Hunter brothers – Steve and Brian – are heading up the Braids again with a couple of useful partners. Ben Alexander, a Renaissance Club member, has been giving a good account of himself as as an amateur on the MENA Tour and has hot-footed it back to Edinburgh from an event in Thailand.

With Ross Noon making up the quartet, don’t be surprised if the Barnton boys have their best run since Mark Kerr and Elliot Saltman helped the Hunters lift the trophy.

Caermount, who did that in 2012, are returning with the core of that team. “My son, Mark, is unavailable but will be replaced by Dr Eric Mair who is a GP colleague, a Bruntsfield and Gullane member,” reported Ian Dickson. “He will partner me as first couple with Martin Hopley and Gary Henshaw as second pairing.

“We have a strong draw against Scottish Unis, which should hopefully be a good match.”

With Duncan Hamilton unavailable this year, the quartet on duty for Scottish Unis comprises of Roddy Forgie, Tim Pakenham, David Greenshields and Alex Room.

“We will be looking to replicate last year’s Sunday upset against BBT,” said Pakenham.

Braids United is the host club for this year’s event, which is being run by Edinburgh Leisure.