Keuth Reilly praises Lothians in Scottish Area Team event

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Captain Keith Reilly hailed a “great effort” by Lothians in the Scottish Area Team Championship at Newmachar despite the record 13-time winners falling at the final hurdle for the second year running.

They lost 3.5-1.5 to hosts North East in the title showdown after winning the stroke-play qualifying stage by a staggering 17 shots with an impressive 28-under-par aggregate.

“It was another very successful effort,” said Reilly, who also saw his side come up agonisingly short at Dalmahoy 12 months earlier. “Every player played really well and our qualifying scores were amazing.”

That is something that a side consisting of Stuart Blair (Royal Musselburgh), Kieran Cantley (Liberton), Euan McIntosh (Turnhouse), Stuart McLaren (Bruntsfield Links), Benn McLeod (Musselburgh) and Mark Napier (Turnhouse) can certainly be proud of.

The same applies to 3-2 wins over North and Renfrewshire in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively but it was a case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the final.

“Played in really heavy and wet conditions, it was shortened to 18 holes and I had the winners’ speech written out,” admitted Reilly. “We appeared to be cruising to victory after winning the foursome. But, in the space of 20 minutes, we lost a lot of the closing holes.”