Dispatch Trophy bug is biting new blood in 'fun event at brilliant Braids'
It’s still predominantly an event featuring golfers on the back nine in life and it was brilliant to see Scottish rugby legend Andy Irvine making his debut at the age of 71 as the 123rd edition got underway at the weekend.
But new blood is starting to come through and, like those who fell in love with the event years ago and relish it coming around again, the Dispatch Trophy bug is biting.
“It is so much fun,” said Jamie Duguid, a 24-year-old who got his first taste of the double foursome format for Dunbar but is playing in this year’s tournament for newcomers Duddingston.
Part of the reason for that fun factor, of course, is the venue, with the quirkiness of the Braids providing something different to what players are used to at their home clubs.
“The course is brilliant,” added Duguid, who won the Lothians Boys’ Championship on it in 2016 and is now hoping to keep Duddingston, the Edinburgh Summer League title holders, on track for a dream debut in this event when they take on Kingsknowe club Hailes in the last 16 on Tuesday night.
Fellow 17-year-olds Jake Johnston and Rory McClafferty played for Kilgour Wealth Management on Saturday and, though both unavailable for the third round, they’ll be back in years to come.
As will Archie Wyatt, a 19-year-old who is making his debut for Murrayfield - Harry Hawthorn is another newcomer for them this time around - and tackled the Braids for the first time on Saturday.
“Stevie Anderson showed me the way,” he said of useful advice from the Murrayfield team manager, another of those people to have been smitten by the historic event and would be delighted to see his beloved Capital club’s name etched on it one day.
Wyatt, who plays off plus three, has only just returned home for the summer after completing his first year at college in Colorado, where he has two fellow Scots - Liam Duncan and Jamie Roberts - for company.
“It took me a while to get used to it out there, but I did well from New Year onwards and it’s helped my game massively as it’s a good level of competition,” said Wyatt.
Defending champions Heriot’s Quad are through to the third round, as are Heriot’s, with the respective teams reflecting the welcome contrast in terms of age and experience in this year’s edition of an event now staged in association with Edinburgh Leisure.
“They are the stalwarts,” said one of the Heriot’s top-team players of the Quad, “while we use #nextgen in our group chat.”
Other teams heading back up to the Braids for a night that inevitably faces a race against the clock to get finished include Watsonians, who had former Hibs player and now Raith Rovers man Jamie Gullan on duty at the weekend.
For their tie against Dalmahoy, Kilgour Wealth Management have called in former Lothians champion Sean Marc and John Shepherd as replacements for the aforementioned Johnston and McClafferty.
4.30pm Duddingston v Hailes
4.40pm Dalmahoy v Kilgour Wealth Management
4.50pm Merchants v Granton Golfing Society5.00pm Harrison B v Murrayfield
5.10pm Heriot’s Quad v Royal Burgess
5.20pm Bank of Scotland v Colinton Mains
5.30pm Cramond v Heriot’s
5.40pm Watsonians v Bass Rock