Rugby Memories March 7th 2022: Matt McGrandles - Stirling County RFC

Rugby Memories March 7th 2022: Matt McGrandles

At our March meeting we had some discussion about the upcoming Italy Scotland International. There was a mixture of confidence and apprehension as we had all been to Italy matches either in Edinburgh or Rome and not always with the expected outcome. However, as I write this I know that we were correct to be confident, Italy showed some good attacking intent but we had a victory allowing us to go in against Ireland with some hope.

Matt immediately engaged the group by asking us to recall how we had first come into Stirling County. Many of the memories were about particular characters in the club, or games that were played, passes made, kicks gathered. Rodger Brewster mentioned “Knox the Box” who always arrived without a kit bag but with his rugby gear in a box – no further explanation, just an observation. Matt is seen in the attached photograph in the under 10’s team in 1983, they went on to become a very successful at under12, then many went on to be Under 18 Scottish champions.

He also spoke about the success of women’s rugby at the club from the days when girls had to stop playing at 12 because there was nowhere to play even though some of the girls were the stars of the teams at that point. Changed days at County, but do the women get the recognition they deserve for the success they achieve?

Matt was in the team that won the Scottish Championship in 1995 and is one of the many recognisable faces in the attached photograph of the civic reception following their win. This led to a fantastic opportunity to play against a Barbarians team at Forthbank, a privilege awarded to very few club sides. Like many of that era Matt dabbled in professional rugby moving to Glasgow Hawks and showed us a promotional video of his playing exploits of that period. Another highlight was playing at the Twickenham Sevens again as an invitation side for winning the Scottish championship. He then returned to coach the Stirling Under 18’s to success and noted that four of the boys in a Stirling County youth team went on to be Internationalists and two of these British Lions. Success breeds success and Matt emphasised the work of all the coaches, parents, assistants and club supporters in making such dreams come true. We can all celebrate that!