Dispatch Trophy 2019: Bragging rights on line as Stewart’s Melville take on Heriot’s
Bragging rights are on the line as two of the schools teams go head-to-head in the opening weekend of the 120th Edinburgh Evening News Dispatch Trophy at The Braids.
“The tie makes sure we are focused from the start,” said Stuart McLaren of Stewart’s Melville facing George Heriot’s FP in Sunday’s second round after being among 13 teams to receive byes in the golfclubs4cash-sponsored event.
Heriot’s bridged a 38-year gap when lifting the trophy in 2017 but they suffered a first-round exit at the hands of Harrison 12 months ago.
It’s been 14 years since Stewart’s Melville made it to the final, but McLaren has high hopes for a team that also includes two-time Lothians champion Alan Anderson, Ally Ritchie and David Donaldson.
“I don’t think we could have asked for a better opening tie, to be honest,” added McLaren, last year’s Lothians Order of Merit winner. “We’ve had a number of good battles over the last few years with Heriot’s, with us prevailing in the Queen Elizabeth, though Heriot’s did get the better of us en route to their Grafton Morrish title in October, so we are out for revenge!”
Heriot’s will be led into battle once more by Dispatch Trophy stalwart John Archibald, but David Campbell’s presence in the team is in doubt after he went over on his ankle playing in the Summer League this week.
“Stewart’s Melville have a very good team,” observed Archibald, “but our win over them in the Grafton Morrish last year was very enjoyable and we are looking forward to it on Sunday in an event that is very dear to my heart.”
Mortonhall used an opening win over Stewart’s Melville last year as a springboard to become the first course-owning club to claim the coveted prize.
“We are aiming to use the same pool of five players who were successful last year,” said Ian Dickson of joining forces once more with Graeme Clark, Steve Scott, Duncan Hamilton and Alex Main. “We are all looking forward to another interesting Dispatch event round the famous Braids. I played the course last week and thought that it was in very good shape.”
Tantallon have again entered two teams after picking up silver and bronze medals 12 months ago, with the East Lothian club looking to strike gold on this occasion. A Tantallon 1 line-up comprising of Gareth Pugh, Liam Brown, Valdemar Hundeboll and Duncan Forbes is already through to the second round due to Mount Vernon being a late withdrawal.
It’s a first-round, cracker, meanwhile, for Tantallon 2 quartet Chris Low, Fraser Symon, Richard Gill and Michael Davidson as they take on six-time winners Silverknowes.
“It would be great to win back the trophy,” admitted Keith Reilly, who is teaming up with Graham Robertson, Murray Paterson and Tam Caldwell for Silverknowes “But it is so hard now with all the new teams. Every game is tough, especially with our ageing side!”
A little bit younger than their Silverknowes clubmates, a Cramond side featuring Craig Scott, Paul Heggie, Ian Doig and Chris Milligan - three of the four have won gold medals - is up against Munro Heating.
Talking of age, a youthful element will once again be provided by the Stephen Gallacher Foundation and the Lothians Golf Association.
“We are delighted to be playing in the Dispatch again,” said Stuart Johnston of SGF being represented by Jack MacDonald, Liam Currid, Connor Currie and Calum Robinson. “It gives our kids a great chance to play and compete with adults, which is something we have found hard to do. Our team this year is younger than previous years, but we think the boys are good enough and more than capable of doing well.”
Lining up for Lothians against Harrison B in the first round are Kyle Wilson, Lewis Irvine, Sam Hall and Joseph Cookson while a Lothians Boys side to take on British Rugby Club of Paris on Sunday will comprise of Ciaran Paterson, Neil Canavan, Josh Beveridge and Sean Gallacher. “Both teams are made up of juniors,” said Lothians president John Allan. “This gives them experience in this tournament and hopefully they will continue to play in it for many years to come.”
Harrison A, semi-finalists last year, will be looking to get in the medal mix again with a team of Dougie Waugh, Stuart More, Scott Knowles and Allan Stewart, with Donny Munro, Justin White, Brian Byars and Simon Moggie in the B team.
“Both teams will be hoping to get off to a winning start, making it through to next week, when anything becomes possible,” said Byars.
Turnhouse, bidding to add this prize to a string of team successes in recent years, have Barry McDermott, Jack McVey, Keith Watt and Stevie Armstrong flying the flag while Murrayfield are set to start out with a quartet comprising of Bobby Gibson, Grant Edkins, Stuart Thurlow and Lloyd Dunlop.
DISPATCH TROPHY 2019 – OPENING TIES
First round (Saturday): 7.00 RICS v BBT; 7.15 Hailes A v Edinburgh Leisure; 7.30 Stephen Gallacher Foundation v Braids United; 7.45 Dunbar Castle v Sunflower Financial Planning; 8.00 Dirleton Castle v Rhodes; 8.15 Bank of Scotland v Watsonian; 8.30 Caermount v Harrison; 8.45 Prestonfield v Kilgour Wealth Management; 9.00 Mortonhall v Colinton Mains; 9.15 Cramond v Munro Heating; 9.30 Merchants v Edinburgh Thistle; 9.45 Edinburgh Western v Hailes B; 10.00 Carrickvale v Lochend; 10.15 Carrickvale B v Dunbar; 10.30 Mount Vernon v Tantallon 1; 10.45 Lothians Golf Association v Harrison B; 11.00 Tantallon 2 v Silverknowes; 11.15 Royal Burgess v Swanston; 11.30 Royal Bank of Scotland v Harrison Generations.
Second round (Sunday): 8.00 Mortonhall or Colinton Mains v Silverknowes Over 50s; 8.15 Kilspindie v Silverknowes Generations; 8.30 Murrayfield v Hailes C; 8.45 Stewart’s Melville FP v Heriot’s FP; 9.15 Lothians Boys v British Rugby Club of Paris; 9.30 Turnhouse v Heriot’s Quad; 9.45 Kilgour Private Clients v Ye Monks of Ye Braids.