Six becomes Three as promotion race heats up
Something had to give in the promotion race on Sunday as the six remaining contenders in Division 2 found themselves matched up against each other.
Glen, Haddington and Kilspindie emerged successful, whilst Whitekirk, Gifford and Dunbar dropped out of the running.
Whitekirk travelled with high hopes of extending their successful run this season, but at the Glen they found opponents who are no strangers to the promotion race. In the seven seasons since the two tier league structure began Innes Christie’s team have been promoted (and relegated) no fewer than three times. They have of course been league champions during that period, but perhaps more relevant to their current position they have never failed to win the 2nd Division when they have been in it. So they had some experience to draw on as well as home advantage, and despite another decent showing from Whitekirk it was the hosts that took control, winning comfortably in each of the middle three ties.
Haddington have looked stronger as the season has progressed, and in truth Gifford never looked likely to make an impression on the home team’s lineup. Ironically it was Steven Ness and Phil Demarco that prevented the whitewash for the visitors by recording a halved match against Andrew Doctor and home skipper Neil Bain – the first contribution the pair have made this term, and perhaps some small return for the faith skipper Kevin Murphy has shown by persisting with their partnership.
Dunbar’s season started to go awry before the Christmas break, and Sunday’s 3-2 defeat was their third in a row. However the result was the same the last time Gordon Lynch’s team travelled to the east end of the county, and the Kilspindie players surely took heart from that, coupled with the knowledge that a win would be needed to keep them on top of the table. An upset perhaps, but the visitors brought an experienced team. Despite a reverse for veterans Bob Humble and John Hall there were good wins at the back for David Watters and Graeme White, then Ross Colquhoun and Derek Naples, and in truth Kilspindie appeared to stay in control throughout the match. The defeat was one too many for Dunbar, and the eleven time league champions now face a third successive season in the lower flight.
Elsewhere Castle Park and Musselburgh Old fought out a draw, whilst Craigielaw’s emphatic win over Thorntree was too little, too late at least as far as promotion this season is concerned.