In 1870, two rugby clubs, Stirling County Club and Stirling Town Club were founded, pioneering the sport in the Stirling area, but interest in the game waned and by the early 1880’s both Clubs ceased.
However, rugby continued to be played locally at school level and by the late 1880s a Former Pupils (FP) Club of the High School of Stirling was formed, and in 1904 the FP Club was elected as Full Members of the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU).
In 1925, a ‘breakaway’ Club, Bridge of Allan RFC was formed playing at Strathallan Park, although the FPs continued at Williamfield. There was intense but friendly rivalry between both Clubs up to the Second World War, but in 1946 both Clubs amalgamated and assumed one of the former names, Stirling County RFC. Arrangements were made with the SRU to continue full membership of the new Club.
Strathallan Park was elected ‘home’ ground of Stirling County RFC until 1968 when the Club acquired the lease of the ground at Bridgehaugh Park, and the Clubhouse was opened in 1969.
Whilst the team of 1959-60 went undefeated, it was not until the formation of the national leagues in the 1970’s that Stirling had a springboard to success. Despite an early set back by relegation from Division 5 to Division 7 at the end of season 1974/75, the Club were champions of that division in 1976/77 and went on to achieve successive promotions to Division 3. A vital factor in this success was the creation of a strong and vibrant youth section from the mid-70s.
Promotion was gained to Division 1 at the end of season 1988/89. Six years later, in 1995, County achieved the unique distinction of being the first club to rise through the ranks from the depths of the seventh division and win the Scottish Championship. Uniquely, the club played against the Barbarians at the local Forthbank Stadium in 1995.
County re-developed Bridgehaugh Park in the mid-90s, with a new grandstand, floodlighting, spectator hard-standing, car parking, indoor sports hall and hospitality facilities, providing one of the finest club rugby venues in Scotland.
Over the decade from 2000-2010, Stirling County moved between Division 1 and Division 2, winning the Second Division title on four occasions in 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2010. In 2012/13, County recorded their highest league finish for 16 years, with third place in Premier One, and qualified for the cross-border British & Irish Cup competition. Since then, County featured in the BT Premiership until in 2019 the club was awarded one of six licences by Scottish Rugby to become a part funded semi-professional team in the new FOSROC Super6 competition. Our amateur 1st XV was then placed in National 1 just below the premiership.
Men’s Full Internationals include Kenny Logan, Ian Jardine and Kevin McKenzie as well as Megan Kennedy, Siobhan Cattigan, Rachel Shankland, Evie Gallagher and Evie Wills for Scotland Women.
We are equally proud of George Graham, James McLaren, Al Kellock, Ally Hogg, Grant Gilchrist, Adam Ashe, Rory Hughes and Nick Grigg who add to this impressive list as they all went pro out of County and were subsequently capped for Scotland.
Jamie Bhatti and Finn Russell both played for the club for many seasons before moving to Melrose and Ayr (via Falkirk) respectively on their route to Pro rugby, Scotland and with Finn, the British & Irish Lions.
More success for County has seen numerous players joining the professional ranks or representing Scotland A & National Age Grade teams. We look forward to watching the next batch of exciting players coming through our fantastic pathway.