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History of Stornoway Rugby Club

Stornoway Rugby Club party on the pitch after winning the North Division Three title, and with it promotion to Division Two, following an 87-7 romp over Ross Sutherland on Bayhead.

Stornoway Rugby Club party on the pitch after winning the North Division Three title, and with it promotion to Division Two, following an 87-7 romp over Ross Sutherland on Bayhead.

Stornoway Rugby Club has come a long way since the first match in November of 1952 - but 60 years down the line the sport is a strong as ever on the island.

A resurgence in recent years in the number of young people and kids getting a taste for rugby, with the Nicolson becoming a School of Rugby in 2011, will no doubt add to the future success of the club. A club which has always been a closely linked to the school.

When chatting to members about their rugby memories the school is often brought up, and teachers with an enthusiasm for the game spoken of fondly.

But what also becomes apparent is for those involved in rugby on the islands, it’s much more than a game. For many it has been a corner stone in their lives - growing up and into adulthood.

Memories of the County Hotel, tales of adventures to the mainland, and one particular ‘Terry Wogan’ tree - there may be a few stories that haven’t made it into the pages of the Gazette.

Similarly there are so many influential coaches, players and characters that have been involved in the club over the last six decade that it could fill the paper ten times over. But six decades of history are well worth taking a peak into.

Starting out as the brainchild of Mr Bob Bruce, a Scottish Internationalist who moved to Stornoway to work in a local bank, and Mr John Morrison, an engineer who learn the game while living in South Africa, Rugby is certainly not an indigenous sport.

But due to the mixture of people moving to the island, and those from the islands getting hooked from their first game, the six decades have helped shape the landscape of Lewis and beyond.

From humble beginnings the club who were once known as the ‘nomads’ now have a club house on Bayhead and have become one of the pillars of sport on the island.

It has come a long way from the early days were no Navy Ship of RAF Personnel could escape the offer of a match and any space big and muddy enough would do as a ground.

Featured in this week’s Stornoway Gazette (published Thursday, December 27, 2012) are just a few of the memorable moments from the last 60 years and some recollections from four Stornoway Rugby players, past and present.

 

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