Weather delay helps Lothians land 15th Scottish Area Team title triumph
Bidding to land the crown for just the fourth time, Ayrshire trailed 4-1 but were one up in all four of the remaining singles matches when a thunderstorm forced play to be halted.
However, Lothians champion Stuart Blair won his game at the 19th after the action resumed to kill off the contest as the remaining matches were deemed irrelevant as far as the final outcome was concerned.
Lothians had been the event’s dominant force under its old format before taking 11 attempts to crack the code under its current guise, but this was a second title triumph in three years.
“It was great to get our hands on the trophy again so soon after our victory in Inverness a couple of years ago,” said Lothians president Neil Anderson. “A lot of the behind-the-scenes team camaraderie built up by Team Captain Ross Mallon shows what we can achieve when we all pull in the right direction and I include the Lothians Executive in that. Paisley GC was a terrific venue and the players were delighted to see the support over the two days.”
In Saturday’s semi-finals, Lothians recovered from losing the morning foursomes to beat Lanarkshire 6-3 while Ayrshire edged Fife 5-4 as former Scottish international Steven McEwen beat current cap and East of Scotland Open champion Andrew Davidson on the last in the deciding singles match.
Sent out first for Lothians in the final, Scott McCandless and Craig Davidson found themselves three down at the turn to Blair Morton and Scott Brown before finishing birdie-birdie for a one-hole win.
Ross Noon and Connor Wilson lost one down to John Shanks and Steven Stamper but, thanks to Benn McLeod and Allyn Dick being in control against McEwan and Craig Hamilton, most of the way round, Lothians led 2-1 after the opening session.
Davidson and Wilson then delivered matching 6&4 wins in the singles over Stamper and Brown respectively to leave their side needing just one more point to get over the line and, after that break, it was fitting that it was delivered by Blair as he capped a fantastic season that also saw him top the Lothian Order of Merit.
“Ayrshire great opponents and, due to how close it was, if it hadn’t been for the suspension of play they could have been the champions as it was looking like it was going in their favour,” added Anderson.
“Paisley was in magnificent condition, the best I’ve seen in a long time. Both the greens and fairways are up with the best I’ve ever seen.”
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