Heriot’s and Watsonians are chasing a first ‘schools’ success in the Dispatch Trophy in nearly 40 years after both progressed to the quarter-finals in the event’s 118th staging at the Braids.
The last such team to lift the famous trophy in 1979, Heriot’s are on course to make the last four for the second year running and could meet Watsonians there this time around in the Golfclubs4cash-sponsored tournament.
Heriot’s are in the title hunt again as the event gets to the business end after a hard-earned 3&1 win over the Stephen Gallacher Foundation.
John Archibald holed “an unbelievable putt” at the 13th as he joined forces with Rory Smith to make the difference in that one, finishing three up at the front on Scott Knowles and Cameron Gallacher.
Watsonians literally produced a powerful performance to beat newcomers Dunbar 5&4, with some prodigious hitting from former pro Greg Nicolson impressing his opponents.
Partnering Paul Francis at the back against Wilson Morton and Jamie Duguid, Nicolson had already driven the eighth and 12th before smashing one through the back at the 16th.
Silverknowes, bidding for a seventh success in total and sixth in the last 14 years, turned on the style to end Gullane’s first run in the event, winning that one 7&6, which was more comfortable than some might have expected.
The top Silverknowes pairing of Tam Caldwell and Murray Paterson bagged an eagle – Caldwell hit a rescue at the 11th to 12 feet – and three birdies against Scott Walker and Stephen Marshall.
Behind them, Keith Reilly and Paul Ross were just as impressive, reeling off three birdies on the spin from the fourth, with Reilly chipping in at the sixth, as they also came out on top against Kenny Wright and Robert Jack.
“Both our pairings were really good tonight,” said Reilly. “Losing on the first weekend last year wasn’t great, though in fairness that was to eventual winners in a tight match, but that has only made us all the more determined this time around.”
Cramond had hoped to be the team facing Silverknowes in the last eight but that task went instead to Harrison as they moved a step closer to a first triumph since 2000 after coming out on top 2&1 in a tight tussle.
Harrison’s front pairing of Stuart More and Dougie Waugh responded to being hauled back to all square by winning the 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th, the middle two successes gained by birdies, in a telling thrust against Ian Doig and Chris Milligan.
At the back, Donny Munro and Allan Stewart were steady rather spectacular as they limited the deficit against Craig Scott and Kenny Alexander to just one after being two down at the turn.
“Cramond are effectively the other half of Silverknowes’ Summer League team, so we are pleased to get through,” said Waugh. “We now face a tough one against Silverknowes but every game, really, is tough in the event these days.”
Holders Carrickvale haven’t really been tested yet, following up a comfortable Sunday success with an equally smooth 8&6 passage against Silverknowes Generations.
“In fairness, the boys played well and never gave us anything but, at the same time, we never made any mistakes,” said Allyn Dick after joining forces with Craig Deerness, Paul Cunningham and Craig Elliot, the same quartet from 12 months ago, to set up a Thursday tie with newcomers Murrayfield.
Seventeen-year-old Bobby Gibson and Cameron White, 19, were Murrayfield’s main men in a hard-earned 3&2 win over Stevenson & Cheyne, finishing five up on Fraser Smith and John Hunter.
Substitute Ali Thurlow and Aussie Lloyd Dunlop were up early on against Gary Stevenson and Gregor Emmerson before a combination of their scrappy golf and a couple of birdies from their opponents saw them end up two down.
“It’s a fun event and I’m enjoying playing foursomes,” said a beaming Gibson, who is getting his first taste of the tournament.
Stewart’s Melville came up agonisingly short in trying to join Heriots and Watsonians in the last eight, losing on the last to Colinton Mains.
“That was a good one,” said Graeme Millar, smiling, after he finished six up at the front alongside Ross Fergus to cancel out a five-hole deficit at the back.
Murrayfield were left to fly the flag for the 11 new teams who set out after Edinburgh Western, semi-finalists two years ago, pipped County Cup champions Tantallon by one hole in a match that finished in near darkness.
THIRD ROUND RESULTS
Silverknowes (T Caldwell and M Paterson 4; P Ross and K Reilly 3); Gullane (S Marshall and S Walker 0; R Jack and K Wright 0).
Silverknowes win 7&6
Cramond (C Milligan and I Doig 0; C Scott and K Alexander 1); Harrison (S More and D Waugh 3; D Munro and A Stewart 0).
Harrison won 2&1
Stevenson & Cheyne (F Smith and J Hunter 0; G Stevenson and G Emmerson 2); Murrayfield (C White and B Gibson 5; A Thurlow and L Dunlop 0).
Murrayfield won 3&2
Carrickvale (C Deerness and A Dick 3; C Elliot and P Cunningham 5); Silverknowes Generations (J Irving and L Wilson 0; L Reilly and B Carswell 0).
Carrickvale won 8&6
George Heriot’s A (J Archibald and R Smith 3; W Kerr and D Campbell 0); Stephen Gallacher Foundation (S Knowles and C Gallagher 0; C Wilson and S Johnston 0).
George Heriot’s A won 3&1
Colinton Mains (R Fergus and G Millar 6; C McKinnon and K Brown 5); Stewart’s Melville FP (D McIntosh and D Millar 0; A Ritchie and D Donaldson 5).
Colinton Mains won one hole
Watsonians (A Helm and R Craig 2; P Francis and G Nicolson 3); Dunbar (S Black and S Kennedy 0; J Duguid and W Morton 0).
Watsonians won 5&4
Tantallon (J Stewart and F Symon 0; M Davidson and L Brown 2); Edinburgh Western (D Wilson and B Reid 3; D Cameron and B Kennedy 0).
Edinburgh Western won by one hole