Monday, May 31, 2010

Hi Ho Silverknowes regain Dispatch Trophy

Carrickvale's incredible winning run in the Evening News Dispatch Trophy is over – and, in the end, the identity of their conquerors at the Braids was probably predictable.
Silverknowes, the last winners before Carrickvale embarked on their historic hat-trick roll, regained the famous trophy with a 5 and 4 success in the 111th event's final on Saturday. It was Silverknowes' fourth triumph in the tournament since 1984 and George Alexander, the captain of Carrickvale, was certainly being sincere when he declared: "If we had to lose it to someone, then I'd glad it was them as the two clubs have close links."
Watched by the largest crowd to witness a final for a number of years, Carrickvale won the opening hole with birdie-3s in both matches, Allyn Dick pitching stiff at the front before Craig Elliot rolled in a 35-footer at the back a few minutes later.
But Silverknowes hit back straight away by winning the par-3 second in each of the encounters and thereafter on the front nine Carrickvale produced some great scrambling to keep things tight.
Dick conjured up an amazing recovery from close to a gorse bush at the sixth to earn them a half there before his partner, David Ewen, holed from four feet and eight feet at the eighth and ninth respectively to stop Silverknowes winning those holes.
A terrific approach from Elliot at the sixth set up a hole-winning birdie for Carrickvale at the back and it took a 25-foot putt from Paul Ross, who was partnering Keith Reilly, to stop Silverknowes from slipping two down at the back.
An excellent pitch from Darren Coyle gave Elliot the opportunity to hole from ten for a half two holes later and Carrickvale held a one-hole lead over the double foursome at the turn. But, after Dick had tugged his drive out of bounds at the tenth, the pendulum quickly swung Silverknowes' way.
They also won the 11th, with a birdie, in the top match and, at about exactly the same time, Reilly and Ross squared matters with a par-5 at the tenth.
Caldwell then holed a curling ten-footer for a crucial half at the 13th, where Ewen had found the heart of the green for Carrickvale, and that hole certainly proved lucky for Silverknowes after Reilly's fantastic chip from well right of the green saw them win it with a par to go one up at the back.
With the finishing line now in sight, Robertson hit a great drive at the 16th and Caldwell sank a 25-footer across the slope for an eagle-2 which, coupled with the birdie putt from Reilly soon afterwards, saw Silverknowes clinch victory in style.
For Reilly and Caldwell, both 45, it was their third triumphs, having also been in the winning teams in 1998 and 2006, while Robertson, 33, played in the second of those wins. But for 27-year-old Ross it was his first taste of success and, what's more, it came at his first attempt."
It doesn't get any better than this," declared the postman. "I was up watching the boys when they won in 2006 and always wanted to play in the Dispatch. I felt under a bit of pressure as I knew there was a bit of expectation so it is nice to have delivered by winning it for the club."
Reilly and Caldwell agreed this triumph was just as sweet as the first one, while Robertson felt he'd contributed more on this occasion as a result of feeling more relaxed.
Dick, the Lothians champion, admitted Carrickvale were "gutted" to have lost their grip on the trophy. "I felt we played poorly in comparison to the last three years and that makes it hurt more but all credit to Silverknowes as they played great," he said.
In the morning semi-finals of an event being staged in association with Edinburgh Leisure, Silverknowes had to dig deep to beat RICS, who eventually succumbed at the 19th – the first match to require extra time in the whole week.
At the turn, Caldwell and Robertson were three up on Stuart Agnew and Brian Tait, but Reilly and Ross were four down at the back against Gary Denholm and Mike Corrie.Both matches tightened up on the back nine and a key moment came at the 17th in the second match.
Corrie missed from ten feet for RICS to go two up and then watched Ross hole from half that distance for a half.Unfortunately for Agnew, his approach at the first extra hole hit the bank at the front of the green and Silverknowes won with a par-4, good enough to take them through after the back RICS couple were unable to wipe out that damage.
"We've had a good run and it is something to work on," said Agnew, for whom it proved a medal-winning return to the event after a lengthy absence.After their close shave in the quarter-finals, Carrickvale were relieved to make things a bit easier for themselves as they accounted for Stewart's Melville in the other semi-final.
Playing their best golf of the week – they were four-under for 16 holes – Dick and Ewen, who was particularly pleased with his 4-iron tee shot to four feet at the ninth, finished six up on Alan Anderson and Kevin Cattanach in the top match. At the back, Elliot and Coyle were two down most of the way against Ally Ritchie and David Donaldson but finished just one down after their opponents visited the gorse at the 16th.



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