BANTER will be thick in the air at the Braids tonight as Silverknowes face four clubmates representing Cramond in the last 16 of the Dispatch Trophy.
It had already started in the Harrison clubhouse, headquarters for the event’s 114th staging, after both teams had progressed to the third round.
Silverknowes stalwart Keith Reilly was being wound up about a recent shank and lots of good-humoured remarks were flying back and forth.
All eight players are good mates and know each other’s games inside out.
Five-times winners Silverknowes will go into the match as favourites but Cramond won’t turn over and allow their bellies to be tickled. Their quartet of Stevie Adamson, Ian Doig, Craig Scott and Kenny Alexander made it to the quarter-finals within the last few years.
“We’ll be trying to take them out,” admitted Doig, a member of the winning Silverknowes side in both 1998 and 2006. “They are the favourites but we know our way around the Braids as well. We won’t be friends out on the course but afterwards we’ll all go for a pint – that’s the great thing.”
Silverknowes didn’t have it easy against Portobello in the second round but, admitting that hadn’t been a bad thing, Graham Robertson said: “It allowed us to get an early look at some of the later holes.”
Another tasty tie tonight in the Edinburgh Leisure-supported event is a repeat of last year’s final between holders Caermont and Harrison B.
The personnel in both teams has changed from the title showdown 12 months ago – Luke Fisher replacing Mark Dickson for Caermont and Brian Byars and Greig McKay coming into the Harrison ranks for Ian Ashley and John Cafferty.
“It’s a wee chance for us to take revenge,” admitted Harrison’s Stuart More.
While the teams still standing include some of the event’s perennial medal hopefuls, it is refreshing to see some new names in there, too.
The likes of Kilgour Wealth Management, Munro Heating, RJM Kitchens and Network Cooling are all recent additions to the line-up.
And, while it remains to be seen if either of them can add a new name to the trophy this time around, it might not be too long before that happens.
“We’re not thinking about winning at this stage, but it’s great to still be in the event entering the second week,” declared Munro Heating’s Clark Munro.
“It would be great if we could get back to The Dispatch having a bigger entry again and I’d encourage people in businesses to think about entering a team.”
The Kilgour Wealth Management team consists of four Broomieknowe members – Mark MacLeod, Stuart Beck, Alan Bradley and Gordon Miller.
“Playing in an event like The Dispatch is great for networking and also allows us to do a bit of advertising at the same time,” admitted MacLeod, who runs the Musselburgh-based boutique wealth management business along with Stuart Turner.
This is only the second year RJM Kitchens, a side made up of four Prestonfield members, has teed it up in the event.
“We went out in the first round last year so it’s great to be in the last 16,” admitted team founder Ricky Myles.
Network Cooling’s Stevie Doyle said he is disappointed that a ladies’ team didn’t enter this year’s event.
“I played against Julie Douglas when she was in the Evening News team last year and all the comments about her playing were very favourable,” he said.
“On the back of that, I thought a ladies’ team might have decided to play this year.”
It’s 63 years since Kingston lifted the trophy but, after seeing Caermont bridge a 55-year gap last year, perhaps it is the Liberton club’s turn to get back to winning ways this year.
Tonight they take on an Edinburgh Thistle side containing brothers Donald and Barry Anderson.
It will be a real family affair if they can deliver Thistle’s first win in more than 20 years as their mum and dad, Margaret and David, are both on the Dispatch committee.
Both Braids United and Edinburgh Western are still in the hunt as well, not just for medals but also the two fourballs up for grabs at Gleneagles, venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Braids United are missing the services of Sandy Myles, the Braid Hills Association champion, due to a sore back.
But, helped by a confidence-boosting Winter League campaign, they have claimed two decent scalps – Herot’s and Riccarton – with a quartet comprising of Neil Baird, John Greenhalgh, Glenn Marsters and Stuart Morrison.
Western, with Andrew Rennie, David Wilson, Danny Cameron and Brian Reid on duty, resume tonight against Stewart’s Melville.
Victory in that would see the Braids club back in the last eight, where they lost narrowly to Caermont 12 months ago.
4.30pm: Kingston v Edinburgh Thistle
4.40pm: Kilgour Wealth Management v Munro Heating B
4.50pm: RJM Kitchens v Carrickvale
5.00pm: Braids United v Bank of Scotland
5.10pm: Stewart’s Melville v Edinburgh Western
5.20pm: Silverknowes v Cramond
5.30pm: Harrison B v Caermont
5.40pm: Harrison Seniors v Network Cooling