Brian Edwards was the guest speaker and as a former player and coach, he described many of the issues that are discussed throughout rugby clubs everywhere. How are teams successful and what are the pitfalls for players as they try to move upward in the game? Brian began playing at Alloa before moving on to Boroughmuir and then coming close to being capped for Scotland on several occasions. He was involved with the successful North and Midlands District before the game became professional, Brian had some pithy observations on this and how Scottish rugby has developed.
One memorable week in 1981 he was playing for Alloa against Garnock one Saturday then joining the North and Midlands team the next Saturday to play the all-conquering Australia touring team with the Ella brothers etc. I think he won against Garnock!! Jimmy Gracie was present today and Brian acknowledged the role played by selectors and reminisced that Jimmy would probably have been president of the SRU had the game not turned professional. Brian recalled having a trial match when he scored five tries against Racing Club de Paris with the reward of playing against FIJI the next match.
Brian spoke fondly of his playing days and then his move to County as a young coach, inheriting a team which needed only slight improvements in attitude to become the 1995 Championship winning team. The following season playing the Barbarians at Forthbank was perhaps a distraction because they lost the first four league games. However, they recovered and finished joint second only missing out on a second consecutive league win by one loss.
We were then entertained by John Ritchie of the GOALD project and began watching a video about famous and entertaining Scottish rugby performances. David Leslie unsurprisingly featured in many of these, but given today’s previous discussions, Jim Telfer’s appearances were less warmly welcomed.
Our next meeting is on the 9th of January and our speaker that day will be talking about another famous local sportsman Billy Bremner – yes it will be worth coming down – all welcome.