Dispatch Trophy 2018: Tantallon teams set up semi-final showdown

Murray Naismith performed well in Tantallon 2's win over Gullane. Pic: Neil Hanna
Murray Naismith performed well in Tantallon 2's win over Gullane. Pic: Neil Hanna
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Tantallon will have a team in the final of the Dispatch Trophy in just their second bite at the Braids event after their two representatives in the 119th staging set up a last-four showdown.

“We are taking this seriously – we are not here to mess about,” said Fraser Symon after Tantallon 1 and 2 beat BBT and Gullane respectively on a sun-kissed night in the Golfclubs4cash-sponsored event.

Newcomers Mortonhall will meet three-time winners Harrison in the other semi-final on Saturday morning after wins over Edinburgh Western and Carrickvale respectively.

North Berwick club Tantallon, bidding to emulate 2003 winners Rhodes from the Glen, joined a number of new teams to enter this historic event for the first time last year.

Both their teams are now guaranteed medals this time around and one will be picking up either gold or silver after the final on Saturday afternoon.

“We are looking forward to our semi-final clash,” admitted Chris Low, a plus two-handicapper, who is partnering Richard Gill in Tantallon’s front pairing.

It was the front Tantallon 1 duo of Gareth Pugh and Jim Stewart who produced some of the best golf of the night in balmy conditions high above the Capital.

They lost the first to Neil Henderson and Mark Scoular but never really looked back after Stewart hit a “nice 9-iron” stiff at the second then won the third as well.

Anderson, the sole survivor from BBT’s silver medal-winning team in 2016, eagled the tenth and also won the 12th as they put up a brave fight but ended up three down.

“We were four or five under for the holes played,” reported Stewart before turning his attention to that semi-final and declaring: “This is the big one!”

At the back, Symon and Fraser Henderson weren’t firing on all cylinders but just managed to keep their noses ahead against Mark Scoular and Scott McPherson. “It was a bit scrappy and, as a result, not many holes were halved out there,” said Symon, the Tantallon champion who plays off scratch.

“The boys up front have been rock solid for us so far and we just have to try and make sure we don’t do much wrong.”

Murray Naismith, who came in as a replacement, and Steve Govenlock did the heavy lifting for Tantallon 2 by finishing four up on Robert Jack and Kenny Wright at the back.

Mortonhall are medallists at the first attempt and are now just two wins away from adding this prize to a first Edinburgh Summer League title triumph last year.

“To make the last four is pretty good for our first appearance,” said Ian Dickson, who won with Caermount in 2012 and is partnering Duncan Hamilton in the front Mortonhall pairing.

Due to Graeme Clark being unavailable, Alex Main came in to partner Steve Scott at the back for just his second game at the Braids.

In the closest match of the night, the tie stood all square overall as Main and Scott stood on the last tee and it was decided when their opponents found trouble off the tee.

“It was good that captain Ian had trust in me and I’m glad we won as it would have been a shocker for me otherwise,” said a relieved Main.

Harrison, bidding to lift the trophy for the first time since 2000, beat 2015 winners Hailes on Tuesday and followed that up with a hard-fought victory over Carrickvale, five-time victors since 2007.

“That’s a great win for us as it was a tough match,” admitted Dougie Waugh, who is joining forces in the Harrison team with Donny Munro, Scott Knowles and Alan Stewart.

Waugh and Munro came back from four down after 12 to finish all square against Allyn Dick and Craig Deerness at the front.

At the back, it was also advantage Carrickvale early on before Knowles and Stewart got the better of things against Paul Cunningham and James Kerr to secure a 3&1 success for the Braids club. “We are definitely having to do it the hard way,” said Stewart.

FOURTH-ROUND RESULTS

Tantallon 1 (Gareth Pugh and Jim Stewart 3; Fraser Henderson and Fraser Symon 1); BBT (Neil Anderson and Andy Williamson 0; Mark Scoular and Scott McPherson 0).

Tantallon 1 won 4&2

Gullane (Stephen Marshall and Scott Walker 0; Robert Jack and Kenny Wright 0); Tantallon 2 (Richard Gill and Chris Low 0; Steve Govenlock and Murray Naismith 4).

Tantallon 2 won 4&3

Edinburgh Western (David Wilson and Andrew Rennie 0; Rankin Taylor and Robert Kay 0); Mortonhall (Duncan Hamilton and Ian Dickson 0; Steve Scott and Alex Main 1).

Mortonhall won one hole

Harrison A (Donny Munro and Dougie Waugh 0; Scott Knowles and Alan Stewart 3); Carrickvale (Craig Deerness and Allyn Dick 0; James Kerr and Paul Cunningham 0).

Harrison A won 3&1