Golf: Nifty North Berwick stay out in front

NORTH BERWICK stayed in pole position in the East Lothian Winter League title race after maintaining their splendid away form with a win at Royal Musselburgh.

The hosts looked set to come out on top for most of the contest but North Berwick turned the tide their way in two of the matches.

Chris Wood and Ally Simpson edged out Craig Johnstone and Stuart Blair before Craig Hardie and Horry Lawson recovered from three down after 12 to steal a point on the home green.

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Gullane are still North Berwick’s closest challengers in Division 1 after they came out on top against Tantallon in a grandstand finish. That match hinged on the last tie out on the course and Tantallon’s Gregor Munro and Stuart Wimberley went two up on the 15th.

However, in an amazing fightback, John Clelland and Greg Houlston won the last three holes, the latter holing an eight-footer at the last to secure the victory.

It was a fitting curtain call for Houlston’s parents, David and Linda, who were looking on from the North Berwick clubhouse on the last day of their ten-year tenure as club stewards there.

The win keeps Jeff Aitken’s side two points behind North Berwick and very much in the title race, with all to play for when these two sides meet at Gullane in their next league encounter in three weeks’ time.

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Meanwhile, there was a curious twist in the encounter at Musselburgh, where four of the five matches ended all square.

In the odd one out, Peter Henderson and David Porteous raced to a four-hole lead for the visitors, before youngsters Lewis Bain and Connor Good fought back to secure the decisive win on the 16th green.

In Division Two, Gifford, Whitekirk and Dunbar all suffered painful defeats to Haddington, Glen and Kilspindie respectively.

The winning trio now find themselves within a point of each other at the top and chasing two promotion spots with two league matches remaining.

This Sunday the focus switches to the Cup, with Musselburgh travelling to Longniddry for a re-run of last week’s league match-up while Kilspindie play host to fellow promotion hopefuls Haddington.