We had in attendance – Michael White from the National Rugby Memories who noted that we are the first club in Scotland to meet in person since the pandemic.
We had two interesting speakers, first our Club President gave an introduction which covered the development of Stirling County and our hopes for the future. There are tensions in rugby as we still try to build into the professional era. John defended our club’s decision to join the Super6, as it gives us a voice and influence that may well have been lost had we been on the outside looking in while our best players would have been cherry picked by “bigger” clubs. At present we are holding our own in the Super6.
We now need to support the Wolves and other teams in the club so that we have a depth of players which allows players to find their level. This needs to include an opportunity for late developers as players mature physically and in their game awareness.
Our female and girls section continues to thrive with players moving all the way up, including moving to international level.
As a community club, we are building links to schools and further developing Micros, Minis and Youth rugby to provide the facilities and coaching for vast numbers. I believe John said we have almost a hundred volunteer coaches who must have Child Protection as well as a rugby qualification.
Our second speaker was John Wright who started in mini rugby at County and whose father Tom started midi rugby so that the boys had somewhere positive to move on with their rugby. John went on to play regularly with the first XV as a devastating centre partner with Ian Jardine. While Ian gained international caps John took a job in Limerick in Ireland.
John described some of the Irish international players he had as both team mates and opponents. Crowds of over 12,000 were regular in cup matches for Young Munster. John has many friends in rugby and a medal for winning a cup final in Ireland. He noted that Paul O’Connell had won the European Cup, Captained the British Lions but still felt his Irish cup medal was a real pinnacle – and as John said “I’ve got one of them”. No wonder his dad was proud of him for becoming president of Stirling County (though being bought a whisky in Limerick from Dumbledore of Harry Potter fame might have helped).
The next meeting of the memories group will be on Monday 4th October at 12.30 with a guest speaker and a number of activities already arranged, as well as cake and coffee – No charge, all welcome.