Stirling County Exhibition 2021
Several years ago, I set myself a goal to try and capture the Spirit of Rugby at Stirling County Rugby Club. Over the last few months, I have worked my way through more than 10,000 photos spanning over 15 years at the club in order to select 100 photos which celebrate the fantastic people at Stirling County.
I have focused the project around 3 Key Themes :
- Spirit of Stirling County
- Murrayfield Memories
- Legends & People of Stirling County
Spirit of County Wall
I had visualised this wall for some time. At the centre are teams from all age groups – progressing from the minis right through to the senior rugby teams. In the top row, there are some of my favourite action photos. In the action photos, I am ultimately trying to capture the moment when all the training pays off as the team achieve something memorable through their collective endeavour.
But none of that is possible without the hard work and training in the cold winter nights under the flood lights. Equally, those achievements would not be possible without the efforts from all the supporters and volunteers that make things happen at the club for all age groups.
When choosing the photos for this wall I also wanted to show the range of what is involved at the club and the great memories that are made – from the son and proud father moments, to the handshake at the end of the game, to celebrating a mud bath of an experience with a good friend. Also within the wall is our very own Easton Roy playing in a rugby game on his 96th birthday. Right at the centre of the Spirit of County Wall is the all-club photo from a few years back.
I have also added in three black and white photos at the start of this wall, as the spirit of County is deeply inter-linked to its history. I have chosen a photo where Easton was playing rugby back in the 50s as well as the famous Whyler Photos image of the championship winning team from 1993. Below that is another Whyler Photos image from that same season with Kenny Logan scoring a try. In the background I am cheering on the County with my dad and my brother as we did for every game that season. Fantastic memories.
I have been at Murrayfield several times to watch the girls and the boys Under 16 and Under 18 teams run out the tunnel onto that pitch to play in their respective Scottish Youth Cup Finals. Choosing just a few photos from those special days proved difficult. There are the moments when the teams lift the cup and join the legacy of the youth section at the club as well as the moments at the end where the players can celebrate their achievements with their family and friends and of course a couple of action photos of the players on the pitch. That must be a memory of a lifetime playing on that hallowed turf.
Watching my own son, Bryce, enjoy his time at County from the age of 7 right through to leading the Under 16s on to the pitch at Murrayfield and a couple of years later being part of the winning Under 18s team are certainly memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Legends & People of County
Over the years I have met many great people at the club. The banter on the touchline, the buses to games or in car parks waiting for the training sessions to end on a cold winter’s night have all brought a smile to my face. I am sure each of us have developed many friendships in the club that will last a lifetime. I have created one frame with 50 photos of just some of the great people of County – in reality I could have created 10 more of these large frames with the number of people I have met and photos I have taken over the years.
A special call out to a couple of legends that I have greatly admired. When I first came across Allan Imrie, he was a driving force in Stirling County 3rds and it is his passions for all things County, especially the youth section, that I have grown to significantly appreciate. And then there is Easton Roy. The photo of him celebrating with a bottle of Port after scoring a try in the game to celebrate his 95th birthday really captured the spirit of that great man. That photo went viral around the world – from New Zealand to even appearing on CNN news as well as strong coverage across the UK press. The number of times that image was shared is in excess of 5,000 and is an inspiration for everyone to live their life to the fullest.
The reality is there are many other legends at the club that have made a huge impact during their playing career, through coaching and in general stewardship of the club.
My biggest disappointment is not being able to share more photos from the years of more great memories from the games and of so many people I have met. But hopefully these 100 photos have captured what this great sport and club is all about?
Bryan Robertson Photography