Defending champions drop out of Winter Cup

Posted by Torquil McInroy on Feb 07 2013 at 04:00PM PST in 2019-20

Attention switched to the Cup in Sunday’s latest round of matches, and defending champions Gullane lost out narrowly at Craigielaw.

The defeat was a blow for skipper Jeff Aitken, who knew the prize for winning this tie would have been a semi-final at North Berwick’s West Links, a venue where his side have not lost for four years and perhaps a chance to avenge last weekend’s league defeat to North Berwick, should the league leaders progress against local rivals Tantallon.

Tantallon themselves were untroubled by the visit of Thorntree in a snow-delayed first round tie, and they can look forward to a third derby fixture of the season when the quarter final comes round in a fortnight.  Meanwhile Musselburgh made light work of their quarter final match at home to Castle Park.  They now await the outcome of the Royal Musselburgh vs Kilspindie clash to find out who their semi-final opponents will be.

There was league action too, with matches taking place at Longniddry and Haddington following postponements due to snow last weekend.

And Longniddry skipper Peter Henderson could breathe a sigh of relief as he watched his side haul themselves clear of the relegation places courtesy of their first win since October.  Royal Musselburgh were on the receiving end, and with three matches remaining Jamie Ramsay’s team now find themselves in the drop zone.

In Division 2 Haddington did what was required of them.  Neil Bain’s outfit were always favourites to take the points when Musselburgh Old came to visit, but the 4-1 scoreline gives Haddington a slight edge on points difference over their promotion rivals.

And it will be Haddington’s visit to Kilspindie that comes under the spotlight this coming Sunday.  Neil Bain’s side came away from the same venue empty handed just three weeks ago in the Cup, but only after two matches went against them in extra holes.  This time round elevation to the first division is the prize for the winners, with just a point separating the top three teams and Glen favourites to clinch one promotion spot when they travel to Musselburgh Old.

In the top flight North Berwick can secure a first ever league title if they avoid defeat at home to Musselburgh.  Meanwhile Tantallon travel to Longniddry for a match that could see the winners secure their survival but the losers become prime candidates for the drop.  Royal Musselburgh have suffered two heavy defeats since the turn of the year and need to find better form for their visit to Gullane, where their hosts know they need a win and a prayer if their own fading title hopes are not to be extinguished.


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