Club History

‘They also serve’

To the sporting public the success of a club is usually judged by the results of its 1st XV but this is only part of the picture. Equally important is the opportunity the Club affords all its members to enjoy their sport to the full and the contribution it makes towards the administration and development of the game at district and national level. On this count Stewart’s F.P. has an excellent record. It was fortunate that over the the years there never appeared to be a shortage of members who were prepared to devote time to serve on a committee or in some other way put back into the game something in return for all the enjoyment they derived from it.

Nowhere was this better exemplified than in the Championship winning team of 1946/47 virtually everyone of whom remained in Edinburgh and served on the Club committee. Again, former 1st XV players and even internationalists who were members of the committee were just as likely to be seen looking after the 4th XV as watching the 1st XV. Junior teams appreciated the attention given to them and good team spirit and a happy club atmosphere was the result.

In the period between the wars the club began to develop its relationship with the Edinburgh District Union and such stalwarts as A.D. Lambert, T.D. Adie and M.S. Stewart all served on that committee while other former players took up refereeing, the most notable being J.A. Mann, T.R.Tod. J. MacGregor, C.W. Carmichael, H.P.Mather and T. Morrison although probably the most widely known and respected Stewart’s referee was J.B Turnbull whose sporting activities had been on the cricket square rather than the rugby pitch.

After the second World War J. Yorston was a noted referee, very popular at Border Sevens tournaments and he was appointed to the International Panel in 1948. Although never in charge of an international he refereed several district and inter services matches until retiring on health grounds in 1952, thereafter serving on the Edinburgh District Committee. D.C. Pringle was also a senior referee at that time and J.I. Morrison took to ‘whistling’ after serving the club as Honorary secretary. He too, achieved senior status and in both 1958 and 1959 was called on to carry out the touch judge’s duties at international games. J.R. Hunter, unable to play senior rugby because of an injury sustained in his last year at school was a much respected referee for ten years until he emigrated in 1963 to New Zealand where he continued to referee in senior rugby. He had been in charge of several district games and twice ran the line at international matches including the Twickenham game in 1961 when John Douglas was playing for Scotland.

J.W.A. Ireland took up refereeing after fifteen years playing. He had the pleasure of acting as touch judge at Colombes Stadium in 1967 when Sandy Hinshelwood was playing against France.

A. Balfour Kinnear who was honorary secretary of the club from 1934 to 1946 and President the following year, was elected in that year to the Scottish Rugby Union as a District representative. He was the first Stewart’s F.P. to serve on that body which availed itself of his legal expertise. Jack Yorston continued to serve on the committee of the Edinburgh District Union until 1958 when A.D. Govan took his place until 1961 when the latter was elected to the committee of the S.R.U. as a District representative. He served in this capacity until 1966 when he became a special representative and in that year M.S. Stewart was elected President of the Union – the first Stewart’s F.P. to hold this office. ‘Lex’ Govan was a member of the selection committee from 1962 to 1973 and also served as a British Lions selector and after being elected as Vice President in 1977 became President the following year, a fitting reward for his long service to the game.

Meanwhile R.L. Sharp who had succeeded J.I. Morrison as Club Secretary had been elected Vice President of the Edinburgh Association of Rugby Clubs and J.I. Morrison who had been Chairman of the Edinburgh Referees Society for a number of years, was elected to the District Union committee in succession to A.D. Govan and he in turn was succeeded in 1966 by J.W.C. Foubister who had just served his term as President of the Club. On his retiral in 1970 the club had had continuous representation on this body for nearly forty years, a fine record of service. Mention should also be made of J.T.Lunn who while honorary treasurer of the Club from 1952 to 1962, also served as honorary secretary of the Edinburgh seven-a- side committee during the same period.