We began this meeting remembering Stewart Hamilton who sadly died this week. Stewart attended our meeting last year and spoke so fondly of his time in rugby and at Stirling County. Although he is lauded as one of the best players never to get a Scottish cap, he was philosophical. “It was a brutal game at times and sometimes you didn’t get the breaks, sometimes players took you out of the game, and sometimes you had to even the score.” But he would not have regretted one moment of it and neither do we.
Megan told her story in rugby starting at the age of 14. Before that she had been involved in swimming and other individual sports but once she had been training in the mud one evening at County she was hooked. Megan made good progress and made her international debut versus Wales. She then played 18 times for Scotland. Her last international was also against Wales. Megan spoke about the enjoyment she got with lifelong friendships, great experiences involving travel to new places, and serious sporting challenges. A very important opportunity came recently to play some part in the County team which won
the championship and this means Megan can retire to coaching satisfied and without regrets.
There were downsides and many involved injuries to her ACL knee joint resulting in two years of rehabilitation at one point. Megan spoke more generally about the development of the women’s game so that now there are female professional contracts in Scotland, and this will certainly make a difference to the level at which Scotland can operate.
Megan is excited that it is now possible for the top Scottish women to be able to say that their career is as a rugby professional. She is photographed beside one of her international strips displayed in the clubhouse.
Club President John Gibson then gave a talk about developments at the club. He answered questions on the pathway plan which allows players to move from age group rugby to semi-professional rugby and then for a few into the professional arena. All of this is possible within the Stirling County setup. Women are also increasingly successful within the club as was underlined by their winning of the premiership recently. We are also one of the few clubs that has restructured the changing facilities to suit the modern era.
Can players get enough game time to develop given the large squad sizes?
How can Scotland cope at the international level if we are so far behind at under 20 levels this year?
Is refereeing at a high enough level in the Scottish game?
Why can’t players play where their club allegiance lies when not in a match-day squad?
However, as the new kitchen is installed, Stuart Milne moves on and needs to be replaced, as the Super Series coaches bed in and as the first team faces a new league set up next season – it is not time to rest on our laurels.
Come down and support the Super Sprint series and see if you can pick out the next superstar of Scottish rugby.
We are having a break for the summer and will meet again in September. Our friends at the university will continue to assist with planning a Stirling County Archive. They are planning to share a “Jim Clark, World Racing Driver” event with our memories group – watch this space on the club website for details.