Silverknowes inspiring new generation of Dispatch Trophy players

A new generation of Dispatch Trophy players is being inspired at Silverknowes by a mix of memories of past successes and being introduced to the historic event from as early as five-years-old.

Monday, 6th June 2022, 1:31 pm
Silverknowes are being represented by Keith Reilly, Chris Milligan, Graeme Robertson and Connor McWatt in this year's Dispatch Trophy at the Braids. Picture: National World
Silverknowes are being represented by Keith Reilly, Chris Milligan, Graeme Robertson and Connor McWatt in this year's Dispatch Trophy at the Braids. Picture: National World

“There are photographs from the Dispatch Trophy all over our clubhouse, so it is good to be part of one,” said 26-year-old Connor McWatt, one of two newcomers in the Silverknowes side for the 121st staging at the Braids.

McWatt, who plays off one, is partnering Graeme Robertson in the Golfclubs4cash-sponsored event, with scratch player Chris Milligan also on duty for Silverknowes for the first time alongside Keith Reilly.

“I think Chris is the 12th or 13th partner I’ve had up here and I’ve burnt them all out,” quipped Reilly, who is hoping the quartet can land a sixth success this weekend.

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They face Harrison in the last 16 on Tuesday, with five extra holes being required when the two teams met in the final of the Edinburgh Municipal Clubs’ Winter League earlier in the year, when Silverknowes eventually prevailed.

Having won the club championship for the first time, George Ackroyd is leading the Harrison team on this occasion and, with Donny Munro, Stuart More and Brian Byers also involved, it is definitely one of the most experienced.

A Silverknowes 50+ side containing Ian Connelly, Ian Doig, Jimmy Keggie and Kenny Alexander has also been around this particular block a few times, while a Young Team is flying the Silverknowes flag as well in the third round.

“I was dragged round here since I was five,” said Aidan Renton, son of Kala, one of the club’s stalwarts, who is joining forces with Jack Carlin, Liam Stewart and Ian Leadbetter.

Aidan Renton, far right, was just five when his dad, Kala, took him up to the Braids to watch the Dispatch Trophy and is now playing in the historic event for Silverknowes Young Team. Picture: National World

They are up against a Murrayfield team that includes Stuart Thurlow, who has just finished at New Mexico Junior College and is planning to follow older brother Ali into the paid ranks.

Stuart Macrae, who is partnering Thurlow, saw his motorised trolley end up in a flower bed in front of the starter’s box after they’d won on Sunday. “That was our worst drive of the day,” he quipped.

Playing for Kilgour Wealth Management, David Downing produced an early contender for the shot of the week by hitting a 2-iron to a couple of feet for an eagle-3 at the tenth on Sunday.

“It was so good that I even took a picture of it,” said partner David Miller, who is making a welcome return for a fifth different team, having previously represented Carrick Knowe, Westermont, Equilibrium and Temple.

It’s team No 2 for Bill Buchan, but the former Bank of Scotland man is feeling a bit of added pressure after being drafted in for Mortonhall’s bid for a historic title hat-trick.

“Playing with three stalwarts of the winning teams in 2018 and 2019, I didn’t want to let anyone down,” he admitted after helping Mortonhall set up a last-16 clash against Kilgour Wealth Management.

Grant Fleming, who shot a 59 at his home club last year, is among three newcomers in a Craigmillar Park side, with the fourth man, David Wilson, in contrast, having “played around 30 times now”.

Though knocked out on Sunday as part of a Tantallon A team, 12-year-old Aidan Lawson made his debut in the event and, having enjoyed it, he’ll definitely be back.

Tuesday’s third-round ties

4.30pm Craigmillar Park v Hailes B

4.40pm Mortonhall v Kilgour Wealth Management4.50pm Edinburgh Leisure v Silverknowes 50+

5.00pm Silverknowes Young Team v Murrayfield5.10pm Harrison v Silverknowes5.20pm Granton Golfing Society v Hailes A

5.30pm Harrison B v Heriot’s Quad5.40pm Tantallon B v Royal Burgess