Royal Burgess beat Duddingston in Summer League final

The Royal Burgess players celebrate wityh the trophy
The Royal Burgess players celebrate wityh the trophy
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Royal Burgess recovered from a setback handed out by one of their own members to regain the Edinburgh Summer League title.

The Barnton club claimed the crown for the seventh time in eight years with a hard-earned victory over Duddingston in the final. It ended 6.5-2.5 at Mortonhall but Royal Burgess had to work a lot harder for that win than the scoreline suggests.

“It was a convincing victory in the end but the match was in the balance for much of the day,” admitted winning team manager Derek McGillivray.

Defending an unbeaten record in this season’s event, Duddingston were up in five matches, square in two others and down in just two after the opening six holes.

Bidding to lift the title for the ninth time overall but the first since 2006, Duddy duly put the first point on the board as a man with a foot in both camps emerged victorious in the top match. David Miller, the 2014 Lothians champion, is a Royal Burgess member but his allegiance still – and always will, probably – lies with the Duddingston club.

In a high-quality match against former Scottish Boys’ title holder Stephen Buckley, he produced sub-par figures to chalk up a 3&2 triumph.

But Joe Lockie levelled matters, beating Gary Thomson 2&1, then John Fraser saw off Mike Armstrong 4&3 before dashing off to the airport to represent Scotland in this week’s Seniors Home Internationals in East Sussex.

The match was in the balance again after Gordon Archibald fought back from four down to one down before losing 2&1 to Paul Heggie. However, the Burgess tail then wagged strongly, as first Malcolm Pennycott reversed an early deficit to see off Scott Dickson 4&2 while, at the same moment, Varun Varadharajan was closing out John Shepherd 5&4.

That double success left the Burgess needing one more point for victory and it came courtesy of Brian Tait, a stalwart of the team. He reversed an early two-hole deficit to Shaun Gordon with three birdies and an eagle in a five-hole stretch from the eighth to claim a 4&3 win and the trophy.

Paul Desoisa, playing one match ahead, went one up at the 16th, enough to secure a one-hole victory over Conor Scott, while John Yuille and Derrick Williams shared the points in the last match.

Royal Burgess had never been crowned champions in the event before finally making the breakthrough in 2008. They then lifted the title six years in a row before being dethroned by neighbours Bruntsfield Links 12 months ago.

Finishing second to Duddingston in their section this time around left MacGillivray’s men with a tough trip to newcomers Longniddry in the quarter-finals. But a superb win on the East Lothian coast raised 
their hopes of reclaiming the crown and, in the end, 
they ran out worthy winners.

“It was a tremendous victory for us against a previously unbeaten Duddingston team,” admitted MacGillivray, who has done a splendid job filling the shoes of predecessor Richard Hughes.

Unfortunately for Duddingston, they were missing three regulars, including the league’s MVP player this season in Gus Santana. But, to his credit, team manager Alan Banks refused to use that as an excuse.

“A big well done to Royal Burgess on their victory,” he said. “Unfortunately, it was unlucky 13 for us but on the day Burgess played the better golf and deserved their victory.

“Given we didn’t qualify from the group stages last year, we have definitely improved this year and we’re already looking forward to next year’s campaign.”