Stewart’s Melville Rugby Football Club is saddened to advise that one of their most successful and admired sons, Douglas Waugh Morgan, has died from pneumonia at just 73 years old.
An alumnus of Melville College, he was at the heart of the amalgamation between Melville College FP and Daniel Stewart’s FP in 1973 and made his international debut against Wales that same year. Gareth Edwards didn’t know what hit him as Scotland ran out worthy winners 10-9 aided by a conversion from the man himself!
He was a fearsome competitor and fanatical trainer. Dougie demanded everything from his troops and gave them everything in return. He was coach, captain, goal kicker and motivator all in one! He went on to play 21 times for Scotland Captaining the side through the Five Nations campaign in the 1978. The previous summer he toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions scoring 98 points on tour. He came off the bench for the Third Test in Dunedin then started the fourth and final Test in Auckland scoring all his team’s points through a try, penalty and a conversion in a narrow 10-9 defeat. Returning home he was in the shape of his life and took the Club down to Selkirk to win their Autumn Sevens.
Dougie was the key component in our great Stewart’s Melville Sevens teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s who lifted the Ladies Cup at Melrose in 1979 and the Russell Cargill Trophy at the Middlesex Sevens in front of 64,000 at Twickenham in 1982. On that glorious day in London, with Dougie at the helm, aged 35 years, he kicked 17 out 18 goals!
Amongst all this he also managed to play top level cricket and was 12th man at Lords v MCC. He would undoubtedly have played for Scotland had he had more time to play, his 154 remains a record for an amateur player in the East Leagues! But rugby was fast becoming a 12 months of the year activity. Post playing days he threw himself into coaching, with Edinburgh and Scotland and was also Team Manager at the World Cup in 2003. In later years he enjoyed many summers playing at the Royal Burgess.
Richard Hughes, another fine product of the Melville College number nine factory recalled this story which sums up Dougie’s no nonsense and competitive approach “We have an annual match against Royal Blackheath and post match they had some guy spouting on about his opinions on rugby. Nobody was very interested but Dougie put forward a different view and the guy, clearly unaware of who Dougie was, asked what his rugby credentials were and who he had played for. In trademark style, Dougie kept things short, “Stew/Mel, Scotland and the British Lions”, the best put down we had ever heard!”
Bobby Clark, who has performed just about every role with the Club over the last 50 plus years, was a big friend of Dougie from school days had this to say regarding his life long friend.
“I would say that it was thanks to Dougie Morgan that the merger of the two rugby clubs went through so smoothly leading to a very successful club which regularly ran 8 fifteens with one famous occasion when we got out a 9th XV. Arthur Lowes (David and Malcolm’s father) and I were the Team Secretaries but there was absolutely no doubt that the inspirational leader of the Club, not just the first fifteen, was Captain Morgan. On the rare occasions that I played in the 1st XV if you missed a tackle ( which I did often!) by God you could be certain that Dougie would let you know and you wouldn’t miss the next one.
I still remember him playing basketball at Melville College when Jake Young (International Referee), a young teacher at the time, tried to show Dougie how the game should be played. Unfortunately Jake hadn’t reckoned on Dougie’s competitive spirit and was promptly smacked against the wall-bars by a Morgan body-check. Dougie was one of these rare guys who was good at any sport. He was a top rugby player and cricketer, an excellent golfer, a good swimmer and if he ever played snooker, would beat off all comers at that too. In the early Melville FP rugby days the numbers at training were often very poor and sometimes there would only be Dougie and me! He was captain of the firsts and I was captain of the seconds. Nothing else to do but play a game of “Gaining Ground”. For those who don’t remember, the idea was that each of you stood at opposite ends of the training pitch and kicked to each other. If you caught the ball cleanly then you could advance 10 yards for your next kick. The problem was that Dougie had such a huge boot on him that the ball regularly flew miles over my head and I never ever beat the bugger!
On a lighter note many, many years ago Melville FP RFC toured at the start of each season to Inverness to play Highland. Dougie drove up with Doreen in his Morris Minor and in those days the journey took about five hours. For some reason John Mauritzen decided that he wanted one of the large hanging baskets which were decorating the town’s lampposts. John didn’t have a car so this great basket was brought home on the back seat of the Morris Minor. Everybody thought that it was very funny, except Dougie!
My wife, Susie, still recalls Dougie and Doreen’s wedding fifty years ago last week when as bridesmaid she heard Doreen admonished Douglas at the altar saying in a loud whisper “you’ve been drinking”. To this day she blamed his father George, another past stalwart of the Rugby Club. We had a lot of laughs together and were good pals for many years. He will be sorely missed.”
I think though we should leave the last word to another fine Melville College product, outstanding rugby and cricket man, Simon Scott,
“Dougie was first and last a family man, blessed with two beautiful daughters. He also was blessed finding his soul mate Doreen whilst both were of school age. Doreen stood beside him throughout his life and cared for him so many years in latter days. He was an inspiration to all of us who knew him.”
The Club we have today is largely down to Douglas Waugh Morgan. Some man! Our heartfelt condolences go to his wonderful wife Doreen and his daughters Mandy and Nicola.
Fin & Jim Calder
Photograph credits: SNS/Scottish Rugby