Musselburgh teams make their move but North Berwick go top
Sunday’s Division 1 matches hinted at a power shift to the west of the county, as both Royal Musselburgh and Musselburgh made their home debuts.
Royal marked the occasion by winning at a canter when they entertained league leaders Longniddry. The visitors put up a good showing in the early matches as Michael Bacigalupo and Iain Wilson fought hard against a strong pairing of Craig Johnstone and Chris Ratcliffe only to lose out on the final green, before Nick Aiken and Graham Clarke secured a half in match 2. But that was as far as the visitors’ challenge went, and by the time those two close encounters even reached the last hole the home team had already claimed the bottom three ties. The only remaining debate was whether Darren Fee’s 15th green win in partnership with Stuart Blair sealed the points before brother Kenny finished his match on the 14th alongside Robert Cochrane.
And there was a similar pattern up at Monktonhall, where the 3-2 scoreline didn’t reflect Musselburgh’s dominant performance. When Myles Clapperton and Benn McLeod delivered their point on the 14th green they gave their team an unassailable 3-0 lead and high hopes of an even more emphatic win. But visitors Tantallon dug deep for consolation victories in the two remaining ties. The defeat means Tantallon find themselves rooted to the foot of the table, but with a run of home games in front of them Andrew Doig’s team will be looking to put some points on the board in the weeks ahead. And if they do that they will be thankful for the fighting spirit shown by Fraser Symon & Michael Davidson, then Mike Medine & Roddy Stevenson, that kept the deficit in this match to just one point.
So that left the way clear for North Berwick to move ahead at the top. But it wasn’t plain sailing for Gordon Milligan’s side and the skipper was forced to concede his line up were fortunate to emerge with a share of the spoils. Jeff Aitken’s Gullane looked set to record a valuable away win before Mike Gray and Chris Brown stole a last gasp win in the anchor match against Rob Jack and Mike Corrie. Last season’s Division 2 runners up have done well to make their way to the top of the table, but Sunday’s match put an end to their 14 match winning home streak that goes back to January 2010. And with a visit to Musselburgh in a fortnight the first of a series of matches on the road, it seems the bigger challenges lie ahead for Milligan’s men.