Cup 1st Round Summary
Royal Musselburgh 4½ Craigielaw ½
This match was a lot closer than the final scoreline suggested. But in the end Royal made the most of home advantage to steal one tie after the other over the closing holes. Stuart Blair & Chris Mackie took their point at the top of the order on the 18th green to move the home team ahead, then veteran pairing John Hall & Willie Reid repeated the feat, just as their teammates Brian Fairgrieve and Craig Johnstone were finishing off their own tie on the 17th green. That made the result safe, and the home team took another point and a half from the remaining ties although both of them also went the distance.
So Royal progress to set up a home quarter final against local rivals Musselburgh, but all of a sudden Craigielaw’s season has come to a head. Nothing less than a win on 2nd Feb (away to leaders Tantallon) will be enough to keep their league title challenge alive. A daunting challenge, but one that could carry a great reward.
Musselburgh 5 Tantallon 0
Musselburgh came into this match having lost their last six league encounters against Tantallon, three home and three away. Add to that the fact that Tantallon are bidding for a first league title in twenty years whilst Musselburgh are odds on for relegation, and it was hard to see the home team as favourites in this match.
But despite all that Calum Burgess’s team showed real resilience, the skipper teaming up in the top tie with Lindsay Shepherd to hang on for a last hole victory over John Stewart and Chris Low. Reid and Henderson returned a similar scoreline for the hosts in tie 2, and that heralded the end of the visitors’ challenge with all three remaining matches going Musselburgh’s way somewhat more comfortably.
The result perhaps gives Tantallon the jolt they needed with a crunch league match against challengers Craigielaw up next.
Glen 3 Kilspindie 2
Glen prevailed in what turned out to be a tight match to set up a home quarter final against neighbours North Berwick.
Barry Ford and William Halliday wasted no time in overcoming their opponents on the 12th green in the top tie. But Aaron Hall and Josh Beveridge hit back quickly for the visitors, followed soon after by David Watters and Graeme White. That left the home side in trouble, but their blend of youth and experience came together when John McMorland and Harry Bent squeezed over the line in the 2nd tie, before Andrew Hogg and Arran Darrie won their final hole and their tie to steal a win for the home team.
The visitors know they missed a chance to go through, but they will soon become familiar with the North Berwick team they could have faced in the quarter final – the two sides still have to face each other twice in the league where they go head-to-head in the race to avoid relegation.
Gullane 5 Gifford 0
Gullane were never troubled by their visitors this week, and concluded business when the top tie won on the 15th green – the home pairing having already claimed the 2nd tie with the bottom tie conceded. The seven times Cup Winners can now prepare for a quarter final clash with second division leaders Longniddry, whilst Ross Thomson had the satisfaction of moving top of the player performance table.
Longniddry 3 Winterfield 2
In the closest encounter of the round, Winterfield fell agonizingly short in their effort to making amends for two league defeats by Longniddry this season. In the end it was the home team that prevailed over extra holes.
However the result wasn’t without controversy, with doubt arising over how the tie should be resolved. Despite it being tie #3 that finished all square, the respective #1 pairs (incorrectly) played off, with each pair featuring their respective team captain. Longniddry won, and Graham Davidson was graceful enough to accept the result should stand after the error was discovered.
Musselburgh Old 2 Haddington 3
The visitors seemed to be cruising in this match when Calder & Lorimer claimed their point on the 16th green to move into a 2-0 lead, after Blair & Martin had won comfortably. But the home team hit back with a win for the in form Scott Greig and Stuart Wright. Those exchanges all seemed a long time ago by the time the final two ties both went the distance, eventually to be shared one apiece. But the decisive point came when Fraser Leonard and Stephen Murphy holed out for a 1 hole Haddington win.
Reward for the Division 2 challengers is a home quarter final against Thorntree.