AGM : 18 June 2020

STEWART’S MELVILLE RFC LIMITED (Company Number SC505943)

INVERLEITH, FERRY ROAD, EDINBURGH

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

NOTICE is hereby given that the 5th Annual General Meeting of the Company will be held by Zoom on THURSDAY 18 June 2020 at 6.30pm.

CHRISTOPHER J ANDERSON
Secretary 1 June 2020

  1. Apologies.
  2. Minutes of the 4th AGM of Stewart’s Melville RFC held on 20 June 2019.
  3. Matters arising.
  4. President’s Report
  5. Treasurer’s Report. To receive the Report of the Finance Convenor and draft accounts copies to be available at the meeting.
  6. Subscriptions
  7. Election of Directors
  8. Any other business

Thank You NHS

It goes without saying that, in these difficult times, we are hugely appreciative of the efforts of all the medical professionals and other key workers helping to keep us safe and healthy.

We are aware that there are many individuals connected to the club who are making huge contributions, such as Doctors Jamie Robertson, Stuart and Colin Goudie, Andy Stevenson, Keith Ferguson, Stephen Dalgleish and our physios (to name but a few).

We are also aware that the wife of long standing club supporter Jeremy Breaks has been helping to lead the efforts to tackle the virus as the Chief Operating Officer of NHS England.

Thank you to all of you, and to the many we have not mentioned here – your efforts will not be forgotten.

All at Stewart’s Melville RFC

Virtual Awards Night hailed a Success!

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, Stew Mel held their first ever virtual awards ceremony on Saturday night.  

Hosted by Director of Rugby, Nick McCashin, he was joined by over 60 players, staff, sponsors and supporters.  

It was wonderful seeing everyone in good health and congratulations to all award winners, all thoroughly deserved:

Player of the year: Scott Alldritt
Our French fancy has made a great impression at the club in his first year, with some solid defence and trademark number 8 pickups – we can’t wait to see more of him next year, minus a couple of yellow cards …

Top try scorer: Scott Alldritt & Douglas Randall
Both gents stressed the fact that this was a group effort and should, in fact, be credited to the forward pack as a whole.

Top Points scorer: Euan Morrison
A consistent goal kicker all year and crossing the line a few times himself leaves Happy top of the pile! Wishing him a speedy recovery from injury which sadly cut his season short.

Development Squad Player of the Year: Ally Scott
A fine example of hard work, boasting a very strong record as captain of our Dev Squad and even earned himself a place in the 1sts towards the end of the season!

Most Improved: Charlie Simmonds
A positional change is never easy, however Charlie made everyone think this wasn’t the case, moving from 9 to 15 half way through the season and taking it all in his stride.

Club Man of the Year: Colin McKay
A well known figure at Inverleith and, rain or shine, never one to shy away from touch judge duties. Thank you to Colin and Janet, too, for their unwavering support this season.

Are YOU a 100 Club Winner?

The seven draws needed to bring the 100 Club up to date have just been made. The winners for each month are noted below.

If you are a lucky winner please email 100club@stewmelrugby.com to claim your prize.

June and December have a prize of £250 each – all the other months are £100.

2020

April | J Park
March | H Stevenson
February | C McKay
January | JR Wright

2019

December | John Hughes
November | Roy Murray
October | R Hutchinson

We’re also still waiting to hear from Cairns Langlands, who won the draw back in March 2019 – if you are Cairns, or know how we can contact him, please get in touch!

Bill McNie

Craig ‘Croc’ Dunbar

Craig ‘Croc’ Dunbar
 
Died 4th February 2020 Coffs Harbour, New South Wales
 
It is with great sadness that I write to confirm the untimely death of Craig Dunbar who played at Inverleith in the late eighties.  
 
Craig played Rugby in Australia for his beloved Bowral Rugby Club, directly after leaving High School. He was fortunate to be playing at a time with current Australian player Steve Streeter and was coached by  Jim Hindmarsh, a former Australian player. He played rugby with his twin brother Mark and older brother Michael. They shared a season in the Sydney first division competition, for Easts, at a time when the Ella brothers were dominant in Sydney and Australian Rugby.
 
The Dunbar boys were referred to as the white Ellas such was their skills and the style they played. Craig represented the region (Illawarra) in which Bowral played, on many occasions and also represented NSW Country. 
 
Craig returned to play out his playing days in Bowral.  
 
When he pitched up at Inverleith he was though an unlikely looking Aussie 10/12 but looks can be deceptive. 
 
To quote Jason Clarke, ” no Michael Lynagh more-so a shuffling, scruffy mongrel with socks around his ankles but always a smile on his face! But like many Australian 5/8ths though he was far better than he looked which wasn’t hard but was actually very good. One of those quietly effective play-makers who brought others into the game. He understood the team ethic of rugby football ”.
 
Craig was, we think, the first lad to play for the Club from either Australia or New Zealand and is so fondly remembered to this day and whilst the greatest drop goal ever hit at Inverleith was actually struck by him, I think it’s not only grown arms and legs, but yards as well, as the years have gone by!  
 
After a bit of research it turns out the occasion was not to win the League but the semi final of the Cup against arch City rivals Boroughmuir RFC. In their ranks I think they had Sean Lineen who must have chuckled to himself eyeing up his opposite number! But Craig was to have the last laugh for, in the dying minutes of the game, he looked up from just inside his own half and sent the ball soaring between the sticks! 
 
No-one was more surprised than his team-mates but I recall him treating the feat as though it was just another everyday occurrence! In the hundred and twenty years of rugby played on that famous old pitch no-one ever matched it. He was to tell lads in the 2nds that the ball nearly hit the Castle which would have taken a bit of believing as we were playing in the opposite direction at the time! 
 
But he was a great lad and left his mark with us and the name ‘Croc’ Dunbar immediately raises a smile – what a legacy. 
 
I was so sad to hear of his early passing, not just for his brothers, sisters and his mother but for the many friends he made along the way for Craig was different and he touched our lives as he passed through.
 
We are just all passing through – may God rest his soul.
 
Finlay 

Dougie Morgan

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.

Credits: SNS/Scottish Rugby

FIVE NATIONS, SCOTLAND v FRANCE @ MURRAYFIELD Dougie Morgan in action for Scotland.

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

End Of Season Review

During these challenging times, it’s perhaps not a bad idea to divert our minds temporarily and reflect on the 2019/20 season that has just come to a decidedly premature end.

In a nutshell, it has been brilliant! We only lost three games. Against GHK we weren’t quite ready; PL was a bad day at the office; and Peebles – well, the better team lost. On and off the field, the boys have been, by and large, exemplary. The team has remained more or less unchanged throughout, and, where changes were made due to unavailability, injury, or, indeed, on merit, players from the Development squad have risen well above the parapet and each one, to a man, has deputised admirably. That’s what strength in depth means.

Rather than go through the individual games (already done), it would probably be easier and a little less time consuming to go through the ‘team’ from 1 to 15 that produced performances that they must all be extremely proud of.

The three Dumfries games stand out for me. The front row. I have waxed lyrical about the mobility of Darren, Chris, Connor and Doug. What an asset. And, when Big Ru joins in, he does what the Bear did for Scotland.

The second row. Jamie Sword leaping high like a Borders salmon (sorry, Bill). You would think he was 7’2” and not just 6’ something. And his partner, Captain Fantastic Momo – say no more.

The back row. Joe: every team needs an enforcer, someone who plays on the edge and basically causes major disruption to the opposition. Matt and Willie: athleticism and experience, respectively. And our revered Number 8 – what a season Scott has had! One of my Players of the Year, without a shadow of a doubt. The only time he was ‘missing in action’ was when he was away watching his wee brother.

Now for the so-called ‘pretty boys’. Fraser ‘box kick’ Strachan. Another great season. There is a lot more to Fraser than the aforementioned kick, and his vision, quick thinking and – dare I say it – electric pace has created so much, in terms of opportunities on the park. A key role. He has synched well with Euan at number 10, who has pulled the strings all season. Apart from one poor kick, he has been superb!

The midfield. Happy’s boot has been a revelation, and, although he succumbed to a nasty injury in Dumfries, his presence has been so important throughout the season. Not just his boot but his defence and attack. I always said James should play 13 and I will take some credit for his success there this season. He is my other candidate for Player of the Year. It was the match down at PL during the 2018/19 season where James, I think, found his aggressive streak (controlled of course) and he has never looked back. He has been uncompromising in attack, takes no prisoners and pulls no punches (metaphorically), giving the penetration required in midfield to release the back three: the hard and straight running Adam, the elusive Sean and the spark at full back, Charlie.

Lastly, and by no means least, all credit has to go to the coaches, who have endured the ups and downs and stuck to the task, come rain, sleet or even Dumfries. A great example of both dedication and commitment. Thanks must, of course, also go to Chairman Fin, whose support should never be underestimated. I mean, how many clubs in Scotland have someone of Fin’s (and brother Jim’s) rugby calibre prowling the touch line like Lions every Saturday? That must be so inspirational for the players.

Of course, mention must also be made of our sometimes inappropriately attired but always immaculately turned out President Simon and deputy Bill lending their support, the latter’s dulcet tones of ‘Come on Stew Mel’ echoing around the park – and, indeed, much of the EH5 post code!

So where do we go from here? I think all we can do is wait and see – but the important thing is to stay safe and well, and, as we have done throughout this season, consolidate. We will all soon bounce back. Hopefully see you all soon.

Kevin Murchie

Squad photo by Keith Ferguson

Down Inverleith Way 22

Back to heightened blood pressure and raised heart rate! The relatively relaxed demeanour of last week’s encounter against Whitecraigs was quickly banished from the memory as the Senior 1st XV produced a rather disjointed and lacklustre first half performance against a youthful Newton Stewart XV.

The reason was difficult to fathom. Perhaps the urgency and desire for 5 league points caused a certain amount of nervousness, but, to be fair, the men from Bladnoch Park played with both imagination and no little skill. Their backs showed creativity and the ability to open up a defence while the forwards managed to contain Stewart’s Melville’s set piece dominance. This was particularly evident in the scrum, where, on their own head, an inventive use of the put in, Channel 1 ball (if there is still such a thing) and a fast pick up from No. 8 allowed them to breach the gain line even from retreating possession.

The half finished with multiple 5 metre scrum penalties to the RBG but no more points. A Willie Malcolm try (converted by Euan Bowen) for the home side and a penalty for the visitors were the only things to trouble the scoreboard. A deserved lead (7-3) but one riddled with frustration.

Obviously things were said during the interval and this, along with a more ‘settled’ scrummage and an increasingly strong line out platform, brought a completely different complexion to the remaining 40 minutes. Two powerful scrums both rendered scores which seemed to soothe nerves (both on and off the pitch), and, from there, the RBG performance increasingly mirrored the continuity rugby of the previous Saturday.

Against a valiant but tiring defence, line breaks were made, and, crucially, supported, offloads stuck and slick movement of the ball, by both backs and forwards, created numerous scoring chances. Three were taken by the forwards through Scott Alldritt (2) and Chris Baikie, and the equivalent number by the backs courtesy of Fraser Strachan, Jamie Thompson and James Ferguson.

A final score of 45-8 suggests a comfortable afternoon but this would be inequitable to Newton Stewart, who have proved to be very worthy opponents to everybody in the league. They troubled the Stew Mel defence on several occasions and it was only in the final quarter that the home side really managed to cut loose in attack.

It was great to see Alex Rappestad returning to the 1st XV fold and Connor McKay coming back from injury. We also wish Colin, our trusty touch judge (and the latter’s father), a speedy recovery.

With the league suspended for the foreseeable future and great uncertainty as to how things might be resolved, it was immensely pleasing to see the game concluding in some style to showcase RBG rugby. Whatever materialises, congratulations to the coaching staff and the players for their efforts so far. To be sitting on top of such a competitive league (even with 4 games to go —- and anything could happen!) is no mean achievement.

Finally, a plea for everybody to take care in these worrying times.

Phil Waine

Match photograph by Jax MacKenzie Photography

All Matches Postponed until 29 March 2020

Match Report v Whitecraigs RFC | Saturday 7th March

Some changes in the back line from the previous Saturday saw Geoff Angco and Jamie Thompson come in at 12 and 11, respectively, due to injuries sustained by Happy and Adam. I was, however, still surprised not to see Happy out there on the pitch, as, despite crutches and a brace on his left peg, his right appeared to be totally fine. Seriously, though, I wish them both well and a speedy recovery.

To say Stewart’s Melville had a good start playing towards Ferry Road would be an understatement. As in a significant number of games this season, it wasn’t long before we were treated to the sight of Scott Alldritt making an impressive break. The ball was moved with urgency thereafter, but, unfortunately, a knock on meant the first scrum of the afternoon around the Whitecraigs 22. A great drive saw Stewart’s Melville winning back possession and Captain Momo was soon over for the first try with just over a minute played. It wasn’t long before Darren Miller, Willie Malcolm and, ultimately, Joe Bailey combined to score the second, with Joe having the final say. Two tries in three minutes with Euan Bowen converting both. Stewart’s Melville 14 – Whitecraigs 0.

At the restart Whitecraigs managed to make some ground within our 22 but they couldn’t hold on to possession. A good scrum and a Fraser Strachan boot put Stewart’s Melville back within the Whitecraigs half where the ball was wrestled out of a visiting player’s arms by Doug Randall. The resulting ‘chip’ was, however, too far. That led to a scrum at the halfway line, Whitecraigs ball, and it was not long before Scott’s turnover resulted in a line out 10 meters out; a combination of James Ferguson, Fraser Strachan and Jamie Sword then made progress towards the line but were held up. It wasn’t long, however, before further pressure led to another try, Doug scoring with Euan adding the extras. 15 minutes played, Stewart’s Melville 21 – Whitecraigs 0.

As play resumed a midfield combination of Geoff and James led to Scott popping up and exploiting the width. Doug was involved once more, quick recycled ball allowing Sean Murchie, coming off the right wing, to burst through the centre and score. 17 minutes played, Stewart’s Melville 28 – Whitecraigs 0.

Four tries and the bonus point in the bag.

A kick through by Stewart’s Melville was well picked up by Whitecraigs and then their winger Edmund Abekhe took off, almost running the length of the pitch and breaking numerous tackles en route before James Ferguson put in an all important try saving tackle. The aforementioned Whitecraigs speedster was certainly a danger, and, had he not had to leave the pitch towards the end of the first half, I am convinced he would have been on the score sheet.

Another big boot downfield by Fraser resulted in a penalty against Stewart’s Melville for a high tackle, allowing Whitecraigs to enjoy a bit more possession that ended with a drive towards our line. The visitors found themselves in touch a short distance out, though, and momentum was lost, allowing Stewart’s Melville to clear their lines .

Whitecraigs were still making breaks in midfield but were being well marshalled, albeit they were soon the beneficiaries of another penalty. Some good counter rucking by Stewart’s Melville soon, however, allowed us to regain possession. Further pressure then lead to Darren Miller driving over for another converted try to make it Stewart’s Melville 35 – Whitecraigs 0.

As half time approached, Stewart’s Melville were again in the ascendancy and this time space was created for Jamie Thompson to sprint in from the corner, making it Stewart’s Melville 40 – Whitecraigs 0. With minutes remaining Whitecraigs put some good phases together and were soon over for a well deserved try. Half time: Stewart’s Melville 40 – Whitecraigs 5.

A couple of changes at the beginning of the second half saw Michael Miller in at 10 and Joe Bailey replaced by Ben Dollery. Ben made an immediate impact and was soon on the scoreboard, which now read Stewart’s Melville 45 – Whitecraigs 5. At the restart Stewart’s Melville were driving forward once more, and, after a strong scrum at the halfway line, James managed to get involved in the battle of possession; he duly won that battle and only had to make a short sprint to the try line. 42 minutes played, Stewart’s Melville 50 – Whitecraigs 5.

Momo was the next one to retire, replaced by number 16 Stephen Spowart. A scrappy period then ensued, with both teams looking for a bit of structure, though our good hands and support lines soon returned. Much to their credit, Whitecraigs were quick to get things going whenever opportunities arose, despite being under the cosh. Our pressure continued, though, and it wasn’t long before Doug was over for another try with Michael converting. 60 minutes played, Stewart’s Melville 57 – Whitecraigs 5.

Doug was then given a well earned rest as Joe came back on, this time propping things up. Another try soon came, and, with around 20 minutes left, the score was Stewart’s Melville 62 – Whitecraigs 5. There was still more to come, though, and Ally Scott had the final say of the afternoon to make the final score Stewart’s Melville 69 – Whitecraigs 5. Eleven tries, only four of them unconverted – not a bad afternoon’s work.

It’s difficult to say much after what was a fairly one sided affair, but, to their credit, the opposition had a go whenever they could, and, as said, perhaps could have managed at least another try as both wingers were constantly threatening. It’s been a tough season for Whitecraigs and I assume they will now have to consider where they go to next. As for Stewart’s Melville, it has to be only one way – and that’s onwards and (hopefully) upwards.

Stewart’s Melville played with pace on Saturday and looked fit. The interplay between forwards and backs, with quick hands and good understanding, was impressive. The players didn’t allow complacency to enter the field of play despite their winning margin. At times, though, simple rugby might have been the better option and we could have made more use of our renowned width (which was, of course, still well exploited at times). As I’ve said, though, the cohesion between forwards and backs was excellent, with the ball constantly being kept alive – which will always give scoring opportunities.

The countdown is now on, with a brief National Cup semi-final interlude coming up shortly – but first, another home game with an early kick off on Saturday against Newton Stewart.

If I have missed any of the scorers from Saturday, or, indeed, credited anyone with a score erroneously, then the latter can just enjoy the moment and ensure they score at the weekend! Keep the support coming.

Kevin Murchie

Match photograph by Jax MacKenzie Photography

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