Golf: BBT through after giant killing act

Gavin Hastings helped British Rugby Club of Paris win their match
Gavin Hastings helped British Rugby Club of Paris win their match
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SILVERKNOWES, winners for the last two years, and Barnton Hotel, the beaten finalists 12 months ago, both crashed out on a night of high drama in the third round of the Evening News Dispatch Trophy at the Braids.

Turnhouse team BBT ended Silverknowes’ bid for a record-equalling hat-trick in the Edinburgh Leisure-supported event while Barnton Hotel were kicked into touch by a British Rugby Club of Paris side containing former Scotland internationals Gavin Hastings and David Bell.

Three Braids teams – Edinburgh Western, Harrison B and Edinburgh Thistle B – are also through to the last eight, where the line-up is completed by Temple Golfing Society, Caermount and Scottish Univerisities Golf Society.

But, as the 113th staging cranked into action again, the stand-out result belonged to BBT quartet Neil Anderson, Stevie Robb, Steven Armstrong and Olly McCrone as they sent Silverknowes, five-times winners overall, spinning to a rare Tuesday night exit.

Three down after 11, the top pairing of Anderson and Robb won the last to finish just one down against Tam Caldwell and Iain Doig, while Armstrong and McCrone produced a spurt around the turn to beat Keith Reilly and Paul Heggie by four holes.

“Olly and I played better tonight,” said former Lothians champion Armstrong. “But there’s no point beating the defending champions and then going out in the next round.

“Since BBT was formed, one of our goals has been to win the Dispatch Trophy. We’ve always felt we were capable and this win will give the whole team a bit of belief.”

Another tough test awaits the two-time semi-finalists tomorrow night, when they will be up against Temple, the Duddingston team having also underlined their credentials by beating an RICS side that reached the last four two years ago.

David Miller and John Shepherd, playing at the front for Temple, proved the difference as they recovered from being two down after three – Shepherd holed long putts for birdie-2s at both the ninth and 13th – to finish five up on Gary Denholm and Brian Tait.

“We’ve played BBT a few times in recent years but none of us has won the Dispatch so it would be nice if we could move another step closer,” said Keith Millar, who is partnering four-time Lothians champion Stuart Smith in a tried and tested back couple.

It was a classic match of two halves as British Rugby Club of Paris made it to the quarter-finals for the first time – Bell and Colin McClung finishing six up at the front and Hastings and Alan Williams losing five down at the back.

After Steve Hunter and his young playing partner, Varun Varadharajan, had birdied the last to win that for Barnton Hotel, the pressure switched to Hastings and Craig Maiden standing down on the 18th tee as the mist started to descend.

Maiden, who had the honour, pushed his drive well right, resulting in a lost ball and his partner, Brian Hunter, having to head back down the hill and play three off the tee.

Hastings, meanwhile, hooked his tee shot deep into the gorse on the left, was lucky it was found and looked a relieved man when a halve in 5s proved good enough to take his team through.

“I actually felt fine over the tee shot but pulled it badly,” he reflected. “This is as serious as it gets for me on a golf course and it’s great that we are into the last eight for the first time.”

Waiting for them there will be Edinburgh Thistle B, who mainly had Ian Cropley to thank for their win over Hailes at the bottom of the order.

“Ian holed three good putts on the back nine – at the 12th, 14th and 17th – and that proved the difference,” said his playing partner, Barry Anderson, son of three-time gold medallist and committee member David.

Both Edinburgh Western pairings arrived at the 17th tee one down in their derby clash with Braids United but turned it around to set up a quarter-final meeting with Caermount.

“It was a real up and down affair,” said Western’s David Wilson, who won the last two holes in tandem with Gerry Curran while Danny Cameron and Sandy McFeat squared their match at the penultimate hole.

Caermount’s front couple of Mark Dickson and his dad, Ian, won the ninth to get back to one down and went on to finish four up on FORE’s Mark Timmins and David Kerr in the decisive joust in that one.

Like Caermount, Scottish Universities Golf Societies look real dark horses, especially if Duncan Martin and Niall Glen, both of whom play off scratch at Longniddry, keep up their hot form.

They bagged seven birdies and were four-under for 17 holes in their side’s comfortable win over a decent Stewart’s Melville side, with Harrison B next up for the SUGS quartet.