Golf: Duddingston want 9 ‘Ian Poulters’ in final

John Shepherd will be a key man for Duddingston
John Shepherd will be a key man for Duddingston
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DUDDINGSTON are hoping some Ian Poulter-style Ryder Cup performances can dethrone Royal Burgess tomorrow.

The two teams meet in the final of the Pollock (Scotrans) Ltd Edinburgh Summer League at Dalmahoy, where the Barnton club are aiming to secure a remarkable sixth title on the trot.

Duddingston recorded the last of their record eight victories in the event in 2006 but have displayed renewed vigour to be the latest team to try and stop the Burgess bandwagon.

“Myself and the players are look forward to a hard game on Sunday,” said Duddingston team manager Chris Reid.

“Credit where credit is due and [Burgess team manager] Richard Hughes has done a fantastic job turning them into the force they are now.

“But my players have assured me that nine Ian Poulters will be turning up at Dalmahoy and the trophy will be heading back to the east of the city.”

Home advantage counted in the two meetings between the teams in the qualifying section, which Duddingston topped.

They also won at Dalmahoy and are returning there with a full-strength line-up.

“Selection for the final has been tough as we used 20 different players in getting to this stage,” added Reid. “We are going to go with the team of David Miller, Cameron Hay, Stuart Knox, Stewart Hogg, Mike Armstrong, Derrick Williams, Gary Thomson, Conor Scott and John Shepherd. Every player is well-equipped to tame the long East Course at Dalmahoy.”

In some respects, it’s almost a bonus for Burgess to be back in the final after they just squeezed through to the knockout phase following a nightmare start to their latest title defence.

“We look forward to the final with relish as it appeared all season that our amazing run of five consecutive titles was coming to an end,” admitted Hughes. “We lost our first game at home in the qualifying section and since then we have been stuck ‘behind the 8 ball’.

“After losing four of our first six matches most would have agreed our chances were slim at best.

“We never lost faith, though, and the team’s dogged determination and simple refusal to lie down saw us win our last four matches and squeeze through to the quarter-finals by the narrowest possible margin as runners-up in our group.”

An away win at Kingsknowe in the quarter-finals was then followed by an equally-impressive win against previously unbeaten West Linton in the semi-final.

“But we go into the match with quite a few problems from a selection point of view,” added Hughes. “We know that we will be without James Ross, who is back in the States, and John Yuille, who is in Portugal.

“It is especially sad for John as he had the chance to top the MVP table had he been here.

“We have a few other players that may be missing, too, so we will not be sure of our line up until pretty much the last minute. I feel it is indicative of this season that we have constantly been up against it, but I have always maintained that our biggest strength is the depth of our squad.

“So, regardless of the team that represents us tomorrow they will be ready to fight for every point and hopefully we can prevail again.

“We are under no illusions, though. Duddingston are a very strong side with a great history in this event and we will have
 to produce another top performance to win our sixth consecutive title.”

If it comes down to experience, Burgess will once again take all the beating in the title decider.

But, having already landed the Lothians Team Tournament and the Edinburgh Inter-Club this season, Duddingston are determined to put the cherry on the cake.