This is not about the history of the game of Rugby Football, nor any particular event, nor details about the rules but simply again a personal treatise of how I found the game, enjoyed it, made many good and lasting friendships and of how I still get great satisfaction from watching and following the oval shaped ball.
I played the game from the age of about twelve until I reached the age of about thirty two. In my early playing days, I also played Association Football but whilst I enjoyed the "round" ball game, it soon became clear that I had more aptitude for Rugby and so for the rest of my playing days generally stuck to that form.
My first contact with the game was when I attended the Waid Academy, in Anstruther, Fife. My brother, who was five years older than I, also played for the school team and I was impressed with how he enjoyed it , so it was no surprise that I became hooked. I played in each of the years I was at Waid Academy and for my last two years there became a member of the first fifteen (yes, there are fifteen players in a Rugby team). I followed this on when I left school and played for four years with Waid Academy Former Pupils 1st XV.
Waid Academy First Fifteen - Season 1949-50
When I went to college at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, Gloucestershire in 1954, I put my name up for a trial for the college rugby team not thinking that I would have any chance of getting picked since I had heard that there were many English Public School types, South Africans, Rhodesians, Australians and New Zealand farmers attending the college. I had seen, at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh all those nationalities play there in the early fifties and thought that I must be well out of their class. However, I managed to get picked for "the probables" in the first trial match and, playing on the left wing of the team, run in three tries. I was in the 1st XV from thereon and obtained my "colours" for each of the three years I attended the College.
The Royal Agricultural College first fifteen in 1954/55 (above left) and about to receive the ball playing against Seal Hayne Agricultural College in 1955
At that time, I played during the Rugby playing season on a Wednesday and Saturday as well as trained a couple of nights of the week. It had three great effects. Firstly, it kept me very fit and ,secondly, was a great method of relaxation from the rigours of studying. Thirdly, I made many great friendships which I have retained to this day.
After three years at the Royal Agricultural College, I took up my first appointment since obtaining my qualifications in Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire (yes the same place as the Pan Am 103 disaster). Lockerbie had no rugger club and the nearest were at Langholm or Dumfries. I had a trial for Langholm and think that I could have got a place in that team but unfortunately, I had no personal transport and there was no transport facilities between Lockerbie and Langholm at the time. So I opted for Dumfries Rugby Club where I played out the rest of my rugger playing days. I had the honour of being the Club Captain in 1964/65 season and I am still an Honorary Vice-President of the Club. Those were most enjoyable days and again I made many friendships which are still active to this day.
So my interest in the game of Rugby is now with the current Dumfries Rugby Club and occasionally visiting the national stadium of Murrayfield in Edinburgh for some of the International matches.
I have so much enjoyed, and still do, my association with playing , watching and supporting Rugby Union Football and which I consider to be one of the best contact sports in the world. So any young men (or indeed women who now play the game of rugby) do not hesitate to participate in this sport. You will enjoy it ,I am sure, as much as I ever did.
Dumfries Rugby Football Club