Ex-partners Tait and Gilmour to battle in Dispatch Trophy

Kevin Cattanach of Stewart's Melville (left) shakes hands with Paddy Ledingham of RICS during the fourth round
Kevin Cattanach of Stewart's Melville (left) shakes hands with Paddy Ledingham of RICS during the fourth round
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CARRICKVALE versus Silverknowes will not be the only intriguing clash in tomorrow’s semi-finals of the Evening News-sponsored Dispatch Trophy.

Brian Tait and Sandy Gilmour were playing partners when RICS reached the final at the Braids 12 years ago.

Tait is still sporting the same colours in the event’s 115th staging but Gilmour has changed his to Heriots Quad.

Only one of them will make the final this time as they’re locking horns in the last four of the Edinburgh Leisure-supported event.

“Brian’s enthusiasm for this event is second to none so we know what we’re up against,” admitted Gilmour.

He was speaking on a night when all four quarter-final clashes looked tight on paper – but didn’t really turn out that way.

The Heriots quartet, for instance, won 8&6 against Lochend, with Gilmour and Innes Christie finishing two up after 16 on Duncan Ireland and Robert Binnie.

Gilmour, who used to play at Craigielaw but is “in between clubs at the moment”, is enjoying his return to the event.

“I’ve not played for a while due to the fact I was working in Glasgow,” he said, having gelled well with Christie in the circumstances.

“I’d never met Sandy before this week and it was the same with Rory Smith, who was my partner in the first round,” he revealed.

The Heriots team is named after the city school’s ornate quadrangular building. “Technically, we’re the second team,” added Christie.

On many occasions in the event, Heriots stalwart David Campbell had to suffer some hideous pairs of trousers worn by John Archibald.

He has the less colourful Ian Smith for company on this occasion and they got off to a flyer by starting with four 3s against David Graham and Neil Donaldson.

Asked if he had any medals to his collection, Smith joked: “If losing in the first round counts, then two!”

As well as Tait, Mike Armstrong was in the RICS side that fell at the final hurdle – in extra holes – in 2002. He also has a new partner in Justin Lamb, who has guaranteed himself a medal at the first attempt with RICS.

“I’ve played for both Miller Homes and Napier University in the past, but this is my first appearance for a while,” said the Glencorse man.

He rolled in a good birdie putt at the 15th that helped secure a 4&3 triumph over Stewart’s/Melville. “It was one of those classic match-play moments,” noted Armstrong, who plays at both Duddingston and Luffness New.

With Derek Millar unavailable for Stew/Mel, Kevin Cattnach came in to partner Dave Donaldson, but they finished two down to Tait and Paddy Ledingham.

The score was the same at the back as Armstrong and Lamb shook hands with young guns Stuart McLaren and Douglas Maxwell on the 16th green.

Twelve months after meeting in the final, Carrickvale and Silverknowes will have to settle for a rematch a round earlier.

The top Carrickvale pairing of Allyn Dick and Craig Deerness were four-under for seven holes on the back nine in their 5&4 win over 2012 champions Caermount.

After birdies at the tenth and 11th, Dick set up a third with a superb pitch and run at the 15th, where Caermount’s Rob Ainsworth almost had a full-toss eagle 2.

Dick’s birdie putt at the next dangled on the edge of the hole before dropping in, effectively sealing the success.

Behind, Craig Elliot and Paul Cunningham failed to fire on all cylinders but it was job done for the holders.

“I’ve not felt nervous at all,” insisted Cunningham, who has replaced Thomas Beattie from last year’s winning line-up.

“Craig and I didn’t play too well tonight but hopefully we’ll be back on form for Saturday.”

Silverknowes’ top couple – Tam Caldwell and Graham Robertson – were in sparkling form in a 7&6 success over Turnhouse team BBT. “We had seven birdies and were six-under for the holes played,” reported Robertson as they finished eight up at the front.

Both teams are relishing a lip-smacking semi-final. “It will be a tough game as it was a year ago,” said Robertson while Dick added: “We’ve played each other that often and it will be a game amongst friends.”