Connor Wilson is sitting a Higher today before bidding to pass his latest Dispatch Trophy test with the Stephen Gallacher Foundation at the Braids.
It’s a measure of how determined both Wilson and team-mate Cameron Gallagher were to play in the event again after making their debuts 12 months ago that nothing was going to get in the way.
Gallagher has already sat two Highers in the build up to the 118th staging of the historic team tournament while Wilson is aiming to earn pass marks in both the classroom and on the golf course today.
“I’ve got Higher Human Biology in the afternoon,” said the 16-year-old in revealing how he’ll be preparing for a last-16 clash in the Golfclubs4cash-sponsored event against Heriot’s.
It’s been a long time since Scott Knowles and Stuart Johnston had their heads buried in books, but the experienced duo are doing a good job helping Gallagher and Wilson learn the ropes in this event.
“It’s good fun,” declared Gallagher, who is chasing a first medal as he bids to get over the disappointment of letting a winning position slip in a recent Scottish Junior Tour event at Turnhouse.
Heriot’s also have a mix of youth and experience in their ranks, with youngsters Rory Smith and Willem Kerr joining forces with golden oldies John Archibald and David Campbell.
It’s the same quartet that made it to the semi-finals 12 months ago and few people try harder in this event than Archibald, one of its true stalwarts.
Silverknowes duo Keith Reilly and Tam Caldwell, two others who come into that category, have Paul Ross and Murray Paterson as team-mates this time around.
Ross is making his first appearance since he was on a winning team in 2010 while Paterson is on top-team duty for Silverknowes for the first time.
“I gave up playing for a bit but now I’m starting to get back into it again and it feels good to be back in the Dispatch Trophy,” said Ross ahead of a crunch clash tonight with Gullane.
Dunbar, another of the four new teams still standing, take on a Watsonians side that includes Greg Nicolson, a former pro who is back enjoying his golf in the amateur ranks.
“I fell out of love with the game when the financial implications of playing as a pro became tricky,” said Mortonhall man Nicolson, who now owns two sports shops in the Capital.
“Don’t get me wrong, I had three great years and have no regrets as I loved giving it a go. But I still see guys trying to make it and think, ‘Christ, when are you going to stop?’”
It’s impossible to know for certain, but there’s a good chance that Lloyd Dunlop is bidding to earn a place in the record books as a member of Murrayfield’s team.
The 28-year-old comes from Australia, after all, and the Dispatch Trophy isn’t exactly renowned for a cosmopolitan line-up.
“I’m really enjoying this,” declared Dunlop, an accountant who has been in the city for 18 months, after helping the Capital club progress to the third round, where they take on Stevenson & Cheyne.
“There’s a really good atmosphere around the event and, led by Stevie Stuart, who is keeping us all under control, it is good to see people out supporting us.”
Also representing Murrayfield is Mark Waine, who played county golf for Yorkshire with European Tour winner Graeme Storm as a youngster, with 17-year-old Bobby Gibson and Cameron Whyte completing the team.
Holders Carrickvale should, with all due respect, progress at the expense of Silverknowes Generations, but Harrison versus Cramond is a much tougher one to call. Harrison will be driven by a desire to win this coveted prize for a first time since 2000 while Cramond also have a carrot dangling in front of them.
“We could face Silverknowes in the last eight and that’s definitely in our sights,” said Kenny Alexander, who, along with Craig Scott and Ian Doig, is on Cramond duty this time around after being pipped for top-team spots on handicaps.
4.30pm: Silverknowes v Gullane
4.40pm: Cramond v Harrison
4.50pm: Stevenson & Cheyne v Murrayfield
5pm: Carrickvale v Silverknowes Generations
5.10pm: George Heriot’s A v Stephen Gallacher Foundation
5.20pm: Colinton Mains v Stewart’s Meville FP
5.30pm: Watsonians v Dunbar
5.40pm: Tantallon v Edinburgh Western