Carrickvale won a Dispatch Trophy “Clash of the Titans” against Silverknowes to progress to the quarter-finals in the event’s 119th staging on a biting cold night as an east wind swept across the Braids.
Also through to the last eight in the Golfclubs4cash-sponsored event are two Braids clubs – three-time winners Harrison and Edinburgh Western – 2016 beaten finalists BBT, newcomers Mortonhall, two Tantallon teams and East Lothian neighbours Gullane.
Carrickvale, five-time winners since 2007, had the top pairing of Allyn Dick and Craig Deerness to thank for a 2&1 win over six-time champions Silverknowes.
They finished eight up on Tam Caldwell and Graham Robertson as Paul Cunningham and James Kerr were losing heavily to Keith Reilly and Michael Paterson at the back.
“Apart from a couple of wee mistakes, we were brilliant tonight,” declared Dick. “The conditions were tough and it was also cold, but we were as good as I can remember.”
Based on handicaps, Tantallon 1 are one of the strongest teams in this year’s event, with plus one man Fraser Symon joining forces with two scratch players, John Stewart and Fraser Henderson, and Gareth Pugh, who plays off one.
The wind switching round to the east played into their hands as they were the first team to progress to the last eight with an 8&6 win over Lochend, who won the opening hole in the top match but soon found themselves on the back foot.
“Playing at North Berwick, I think the conditions really suited us tonight and we definitely wouldn’t mind if the wind keeps blowing from that direction for the rest of the week,” said Stewart.
“We were very steady tonight in tough conditions. After losing the first and then halving the second in pars, we steadied the ship and didn’t do much wrong, being a couple under for the holes played.”
Tantallon 1 now take on Turnhouse team BBT after they dashed hopes of an all-East Lothian clash at the top of the draw by beating Kilspindie 10&9.
Playing in the back match, Mark Scoular and Scott McPherson proved the difference in that match by winning six holes in a row from the second against Aaron Hall and Chris Stirling.
“Our opponents were a bit wayward at times and we capitalised on that by keeping it in play most of the time,” said McPherson, the youngest member of the BBT quartet at 24.
Gullane progressed with a 12&10 win over British Rugby Club of Paris, who were forced into changing their successful side from the weekend due to Gavin Hastings being unavailable.
Scott Walker and Stephen Marshall, gold medallists with Scottish Life and Riccarton respectively, finished three up at the front with Kenny Wright and Robert Jack recovering from a three-putt at the first to end up nine ahead at the back.
“We never looked back after the first and played some solid stuff,” said Wright, who played in the event for the first time last year but knows the Braids from his days competing in the Lothians Boys Championship.
As one of the clubs based at the Braids, Edinburgh Western know this course as well as anyone and they made that advantage count to beat Hailes B 6&5.
Western were three down overall on the third tee before the top couple of David Wilson and Andrew Rennie helped turn the tide by winning four holes in a row. “We then had a little hiccup by losing the 11th and 12th before getting going again,” said Wilson. “Rankin Taylor came in for us tonight and he’s been playing really well recently.”
It was a classic double foursomes affair at the Braids as Tantallon 2 beat Bank of Scotland – the top Tantallon couple finishing eight up as the bottom pair lost five down.
Chris Low and Richard Gill were eight-under for the holes played up front, with Low describing his partner’s putting as “unbelievable”.
Harrison had an easier passage than they expected, beating 2015 winners Hailes. “We expected it to be a totally different game but they didn’t play too well tonight,” admitted Dougie Waugh after a 10&9 victory.
Mortonhall, making their debut in the event, squeezed past Murrayfield in another match of contrasting fortunes.
Ian Dickson and Duncan Hamilton won five up at the front but Graeme Clark and Steve Scott had lost both the 16th and 17th before winning the last to avoid extra holes. “Our opponents played some good golf coming in,” admitted a relieved Scott.