Some Murrayfield magic is rubbing off on the Capital club in its first appearance in the Dispatch Trophy, which gets down to the nitty gritty at the Braids tonight.
The Edinburgh Junior Inter-Club title has fallen to Murrayfield for the past two years while the women’s equivalent was recently claimed by the club for the first time since 1984.
Now, an even bigger prize is in Murrayfield’s sights, although it is going to take a monumental effort by a quartet consisting of Cameron White, Bobby Gibson, Ali Thurlow and Lloyd Dunlop to win the 118th Dispatch Trophy as debutants.
Holders Carrickvale stand in their way in tonight’s quarter-finals, with either Silverknowes or Harrison awaiting the winners in the last four of the Golfclubs4cash-sponsored event.
“We are delighted to have made it to this stage in the first year that we have entered a team,” said Murrayfield stalwart and chief cheerleader Stephen Stuart.
“It’s even better that three of the players in the team now set to take on Carrickvale are lads the club has invested heavily in.”
He’s referring to 17-year-old Gibson, 19-year-old White and 21-year-old Thurlow, with Australian Dunlop being the old man among the quartet at 28.
“Murrayfield has really helped these guys by getting our pro, Jonnie Cliff, and his team involved in their development and it’s paying dividends,” added Stuart.
“In fact, there’s a real feelgood factor all round at Murrayfield at the moment. Everything has really kicked on over the last four of five years, including the course, which is great.”
Among those delighted to see one of the 11 new teams who set out still standing as it gets down to trying to secure a coveted medal is Carrickvale’s Allyn Dick.
“I really hope some of the players competing in the event for the first time this week has caught the Dispatch Trophy bug, as I did a few years back,” said the former Scottish internationalist.
“I’d never heard of the event and never heard of the Braids when I played most of my golf through at Shotts but I caught the bug straight away and love this event. Now I just hope that new teams this year can embrace it and, in turn, encourage more new teams to enter next year.”
Pick of tonight’s ties is probably hosts Harrison, bidding for a first triumph since 2000, taking on six-time winners Silverknowes, who have looked impressive thus far.
They were knocked out on the opening weekend by Carrickvale last year but look to have been galvanised by Paul Ross and Murray Paterson coming in to partner Tam Caldwell and Keith Reilly.
“Murray is a very good young player who hits it a long way,” said Caldwell of his playing partner. “He’s also a confident putter – and that’s what you need up here.”
Reilly echoed that view as he praised Ross, who is back playing in the event this year for the first time since being on a winning team in 2000. “He’s very good on and around the greens,” said the Lothians captain.
Getting to the green – a lot of the times with one mighty blow – hasn’t been a problem so far for Greg Nicolson, a member of the side trying to land a first Watsonians’ win since 1976.
“The distance Greg hits the ball certainly makes my job a lot easier out there,” said Paul Francis, smiling, as he looked forward to Edinburgh Western being next up for the schools’ side, with Heriot’s taking on Colinton Mains in the other tie.
4.30pm: Silverknowes v Harrison
4.50pm: Murrayfield v Carrickvale
5.10pm: Heriot’s v Colinton Mains
5.30pm: Watsonians v Edinburgh Western