'Graves' escape helps keep Mortonhall on course for historic Dispatch Trophy treble

Duncan Hamilton produced a great escape from the ‘Graves’ to keep Mortonhall’s hopes of a historic hat-trick alive in the 121st Dispatch Trophy at The Braids.

Thursday, 9th June 2022, 10:33 pm
Mortonhall's Graeme Clark tees off at the first at The Braids against Hailes B in the Dispatch Trophy quarter-finals. Picture: National World
Mortonhall's Graeme Clark tees off at the first at The Braids against Hailes B in the Dispatch Trophy quarter-finals. Picture: National World

Wearing his trademark Wayne Riley-style hat against Hales B in the quarter-finals, Hamilton holed a 35-foot “snake” for a birdie at the 15th before then rolling in a 10-footer for a half at the par-3 17th.

Up front, Alex Main and Graeme Clark had finished one down after their opponents, Scott Finlayson and Andy Sanderson, had won both the 16th and 18th with birdies.

Extra holes looked a possibility when Dickson’s tee shot at the 18th found the ‘Graves’ on the right, but Hamilton somehow managed to land his pitch from there like a feather on the green.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

John Archibald has added to his Dispatch Trophy medal haul after progressing to the last four with Heriot's Quad. Picture: National World

Even then, Gavin James, who was partnering Marc Cairnie, had a six-footer to take the match into extra time, but his birdie attempt agonisingly slipped past the hole.

“It was just a case of staying focused,” said Hamilton, an experienced campaigner, as he tried to underplay his heroics. But he did admit of making it to the last four: “It’s a medal of some colour, which is nice.”

Mortonhall, the winners in 2018 and 2019 and holders of the trophy since then due to the Covid pandemic, now face dark horses Edinburgh Leisure in Saturday morning’s semi-finals.

In the shock result of the night in the Golfclubs4cash-sponsored event, Edinburgh Leisure beat Murrayfield 4&2.

“Oh god, it’s pretty hard to believe,” said Kenny Craigie, who is partnering Mathew Harper in the back pairing, of securing his medal in the event at the age of 59.

In a rare cross wind from the south that proved troublesome, Craigie’s son, Matty, and Robert Brown produced a “steady” display to finish four up at the front.

“That’s the beauty of this competition and this golf course,” said 29-year-old Craigie jnr. “Guys like us (his dad is off six) are playing against +1 and +2 players but you still have a chance of competing here.”

The bragging rights in the Johnston household went to dad Scott as he came out on top in direct opposition to son Duncan as Heriot’s Quad beat Royal Burgess 4&3.

“I’m dreading going home to tell my wife,” joked Johnston snr, a winner with Scottish Life in the event but “many years ago”.

Johnston had come in as a replacement for Innes Christie, who was playing in the opening round of the Mortonhall seniors’ championship.

Christie is available again for the semi-final so will be back partnering Dave Campbell, but, with John Liddel playing in the final of the Bruntsfield Links seniors’ event, Johnston will stay in but alongside John Archibald instead.

“I don’t know how many medals that is now - but it’s quite a lot,” said Archibald as he savoured making it to the semi-finals again.

His opponents on this occasion are Hailes A, who were unable to hole two four-footers at the 17th and 18th to close out Silverknowes before progressing at the 20th.

Father and son Steven and Nathan McCulloch finished three up at the front, helped by a brilliant up and down for a half in pars at the penultimate hole.

McCulloch jnr then holed a three-and-a-half footer at the last but handed the credit to his dad for an important two-putt par at the 16th.

"It was a good one to win,” admitted Alan Mackay, who is partnering Gary Malone at the back for the club within Kingsknowe.

RESULTSQuarter-finals

Hailes B (S Finlayson and A Sanderson 1; M Cairnie and G James 0); Mortonhall (G Clark and A Main 0; D Hamilton and I Dickson 2).

Mortonhall won by one hole

Edinburgh Leisure (M Craigie and R Brown 4; K Craigie and M Harper 0); Murrayfield (L Dunlop and R Young 0; S Thurlow and S Macrae 0).

Edinburgh Leisure won 4&2

Silverknowes (C McWatt and G Robertson 0; C Milligan and K Reilly 3); Hailes A (N McCulloch and S McCulloch 3; A Mackay and G Malone 0).

Hailes A won at 20th

Heriot’s Quad (S Johnston and D Campbell 3; J Archibald and J Liddel 1); Royal Burgess (K Walker and D Johnston 0; G Drummond and R Main 0).

Heriot’s Quad won 4&3