Dispatch Trophy 2019: Mortonhall celebrate back-to-back title triumphs
Mortonhall are now unbeaten in 11 matches in the Edinburgh Evening News Dispatch Trophy after becoming just the third team in more than 30 years to record back-to-back wins at the Braids.
The Capital club took advantage of the rules being relaxed to enter the golfclubs4cash-sponsored event for the first occasion 12 months ago and have wasted no time becoming a new formidable force.
They were worthy winners at the first attempt and it was the same on this occasion, pipping newcomers Dirleton Castle on the last green in the semi-final and repeating the feat against Royal Burgess in the trophy decider.
“It’s amazing – in fact, I can’t quite believe it,” admitted Duncan Hamilton after joining forces with Ian Dickson, Steve Scott, Alex Main and Graeme Clark once again to come up with the winning blend in the tournament’s 120th staging.
Playing at the front against Neil Sneddon and Grant Heeles, fellow 59-year-olds Hamilton and Dickson got off to a flying start in the final as the latter chipped in for an eagle-2 at the first.
Just more than three hours later following a high-quality tussle, Dickson had a six-foot birdie putt at the last to clinch victory but pulled his putt, leaving the back pairings playing the last with Mortonhall standing one up. Extra-time looked to be on the cards when Main’s tee shot ended up in a gorse bush on the right but, after John Fraser left the second shot for Royal Burgess down in ‘The Graves’, the hole ended up being halved in bogey-5s.
“It was a pity that it ended like that as it was a terrific final,” added Hamilton, who had been empty-handed in more than 20 appearances in the event split between Stewart’s Melville FP and SUGs before striking gold two years in a row.
Dickson is now a three-time winner, having also been part of a Caermount team – his son Mark was also in the line-up – that lifted the magnificent trophy in 2012.
“It’s still sinking in,” admitted an emotional Dickson, who plays off scratch, as he savoured his latest success. “This is fantastic for the team and the club.”
Main, a 32-year-old, holed some key putts as he linked up effectively once more with 30-year-old Scott at the back against senior star Fraser and teenager Angus Rigby.
The plus-one man rolled in a 40-footer for a birdie at the eighth then repeated the feat from just under 20 feet at the 12th. He also played a lovely chip from the side of the par-3 13th to secure a half there.
“It is really good to have come out as winners again,” said Main. “I didn’t expect it, to be honest. It’s tough to win this event once, so to do it two years in a row is amazing.”
Scott, who plays off one, added: “This is better than the first time as I felt I enjoyed the final on this occasion. It was also a really good match, with a lot of good golf being played.”
In the semi-finals, Main and Scott had finished five up at the back on Dirleton Castle’s Benn McLeod and Stuart Menzies as Dickson and Hamilton lost four down in the game ahead against Greg Houlston and Murray Saunders.
“I struggled this morning,” admitted Hamilton, “and I had Ian, Alex and Steve to thank for pulling us through. I then played a bit better in the final.”
Clark played in the opening round against Colinton Mains before stepping aside as Main then came in to help secure subsequent wins over Silverknowes Over 50s, Kilspindie and Stewart’s Melville FP.
“It was a real team effort this week,” declared Dickson while Main added: “We dug in when we had to, grinding out a couple of our wins.”
In their semi-final, Royal Burgess were nine up overall early in the back nine but needed a 15-foot birdie from Rigby at the last to scrape through against Turnhouse.
Only Carrickvale and Silverknowes had previously triumphed back-to-back since 1986, with Mortonhall now having a chance of matching Carrickvakle’s record-breaking hat-trick from 2007-09.
“We’ll definitely be back to try and win again,” said Scott as the curtain came down on another superb week.
DISPATCH TROPHY RESULTS
Dirleton Castle (G Houlston and M Saunders 4; S Menzies and B McLeod 0); Mortonhall (D Hamilton and I Dickson 0; S Scott and A Main 5).
Mortonhall won by one hole
Turnhouse (R Moffat and J McVey 1; K Watt and S Armstrong 0); Royal Burgess (N Sneddon and G Heeles 0; J Fraser and A Rigby 2).
Royal Burgess won by one hole
Mortonhall (D Hamilton and I Dickson 0; S Scott and A Main 1); Royal Burgess (N Sneddon and G Heeles 0; J Fraser and A Rigby 0).
Mortonhall won by one hole