SCOTLAND lost their grip on the Leopard Trophy but only after staging a spirited final-session display in their two-day Test match against South Africa at Leopard Creek.
Trailing by four points heading into the second-day singles after losing the morning session 3-2, the visitors gave their hosts a fright before eventually succumbing 15½-12½ in the fourth annual clash between the two nations.
Balmore’s Fraser McKenna claimed the first singles scalp when he beat South African No 1 Haydn Porteous 4 and 3 and that set the tone for a thrilling final session.
Jamie Savage (Cawder), Michael Daily (Erskine), Ross Bell (Downfield) and Scott Crichton (Aberdour) also won for the Scots in the bottom half of the order, the last-named enjoying his second head-to-head success of the day after the Fifer had beaten Gerlou Roux in the sole singles match in the morning session.
And, while the South Africans eventually hauled themselves over the finishing line, they were made to hard work for all four of their afternoon victories.
St Andrews teenager Ewan Scott eventually went down 3 and 1 to Zander Lombard while Glenbervie’s Fraser Moore lost 2 and 1 Louis Taylor.
Graham Gordon, the former Scottish champion from Newmachar, took Roux to the last, as did Dollar’s Scott Borrowman, last year’s Scottish Order of Merit winner, against Callum Mowat in the anchor match.
The annual tournament forms part of the Scottish team’s yearly eight-week winter training programme, made possible by Leopard Creek proprietor Johann Rupert and Aberdeen Asset Management.