“It’s just fantastic,” said John Archibald, one of the popular team tournament’s loyal supporters, of its 121st staging. “I thought the worst when Covid struck, but here we are looking forward to the opening day again.
“I still maintain that this event beats any I have ever played in for excitement and pressure building and, of course, the Braids is just the perfect match-play course to get the adrenaline pumping!”
Archibald is joining forces with John Liddel, Dave Campbell and Elliot Innes for George Heriot’s FP, with Scott Dickson, Steven Sinclair, Sam Hall and Ewan Gordon in a second team.
“My first event was in 1976 and, apart from Covid getting in the way, I have only missed one due to a broken ankle, so my love of the tournament knows no bounds,” added Archibald.
“I have met so many nice people at the Braids and have an exceptional amount of good memories covering just about every hole, including the 19th!
“Hopefully we can get back to the traditional week next year and build on the numbers.”
Mortonhall are looking to claim a historic third victory in a row in the much-anticipated return of the event, which is being sponsored by golfclubs4cash.
“We know it will be incredibly tough to pull off but the team, largely intact from their previous victories, are looking forward to doing what they can to succeed again,” said Bill Buchan.
“Indeed, the only real change is myself joining the squad, so I guess there is a bit of pressure on me to perform!”
Silverknowes have five different teams playing this year, with Keith Reilly, another Dispatch Trophy stalwart, hoping one can go all the way.
“Having really missed it over the last couple of years, I can't wait to get back up there,” said Reilly, who is in the top team with Connor McWatt, Graham Robertson and Chris Milligan.
“The Dispatch is a big part of Silvernowes’ history. I’ve got some great and bad memories over the years and I have heard Edinburgh Leisure have the course in great condition.”
Kenny Alexander, Ian Doig, Jimmy Keggie and Ian Connelly will be on duty for Silverknowes 50+ while a Young Team consists of Liam Stewart, Aiden Renton, Jack Carlin and Ian Leadbetter.
Paul Heggie is flying the flag for Cramond along with Callum McKinstrey, Steven Garroich and Keith Tulloch while newcomers Granton Golfing Society are being represented by Alex Renton, Billy Cadona, John McCrae and David Tyrie.
The Braids clubs will be determined to put up a strong show, with Edinburgh Western A sending out Sandy McFeat, Jim Robertson, Steven Park and Garry Money on this occasion.
They also have a B team taking part in the Edinburgh Leisure-run event and that will be made up of Kevin MacDonald, Keith McFarlane, Andy Rennie and Rankin Taylor.
The Kilgour stable is also doubling up and director Mark MacLeod said: “It’s great to be back competing in the Dispatch Trophy after the pandemic.”
He joins forces with Ray Ramsay, Mark Roberts and Sean Roberts to represent Kilgour Property while David Miller, David Downing, John Shepherd and Adam Heslop are in the Kilgour Wealth team.
Murrayfield could be one of the teams in with a chance of foiling Mortonhall’s hat-trick bid, having also embraced the event since it was opened up to private clubs.
“We always look forward to this event,” said Stevie Anderson. “As for our team, we’ve had a few challenges this season as our guys have been in the US at uni, with Ali Thurlow and Andrew Ni now on the pro ranks.
“We’ve had to look at a few other options. Lloyd Dunlop will be playing as he loves this comp. We will also have Stuart Macrae, Stuart Thurlow and Ross Young all playing on Sunday.”
Merchants of Edinburgh will be represented by club stalwarts and past champions Richard Craig and Andrew Helm along with past champion Mike Leitch and club champion John Hunter.
“We have all grown up playing in the Dispatch Trophy and enjoy the camaraderie and spirit of the event,” said Hunter. “And we are looking forward to the event once again.”
Westermont, a club within the Merchants, are also making a welcome return in this year’s tournament.
They are being represented by a team that includes Adam George, son of John George, a member of the first Westermont team to win the trophy in 1969.
Westermont went on to win again in 1989 and 2002 and George is being joined for this edition by Fraser Smith, Calum Hill and Kenny Roy.