Between The Wars
The Club quickly re-established itself after the end of the War. Unfortunately, it lost several players who had been killed in action, including the potentially brilliant Noel Brickmann who had gone straight up to Sandhurst after leaving school in 1914.
Nonetheless, the nucleus of the team was reformed around captain, Finlay Kennedy, J A Mann, A J Elphinstone, A D Lambert, J D Lunan, T R Tod and Ivan Tait.
The most significant results were the win against Glasgow High and the win at Mansfield Park against Hawick which helped secure second place in the Championship. Finlay Kennedy was rewarded with a Scottish cap against France and became the club’s first internationalist.
The sevens team, comprising of I Tait, T R Tod, C V Hendry, J A Mann, J C R Buchanan, F Kennedy and AD Lambert won the Melrose seven a side for the first time.
The momentum was taken into the following season. The team was undefeated after eleven games having drawn with Heriot’s FP, the Champions and defeated Edinburgh Academicals 14-6 before a crowd of nearly 5,000 at Raeburn Place!
In fact 8,000 spectators turned out to witness the Club’s first ever win against Watsonians, however, they gained revenge in the return game and finished as Champions with Stewart’s. Ivan Tait scored 23 tries and Kennedy contributed 49 points from goal kicks. Kennedy was capped again in the Calcutta Cup match.
Also, J C R Buchanan was capped against Ireland, Wales and England. This heralded the start of 17 caps for Buchanan over the next few seasons.
The Club has never lost its reputation for uncompromising forward play and it seems to have been about this time that the description the ‘Dirty Daniels’ came into use. The players used this epithet as a rallying call and eventually the Daniels song emerged from an unknown poet:
They say that the Daniels ain’t got any style, But they’re style all the while, style all the while, They say that the Daniels ain’t got any style, But they’re style all the while, all the while D -A – N – I – E – L – S Daniels!
The tune bore a passing resemblance to the English Folk song ‘ Come to the Fair’ and it was heard in many a Clubhouse or changing room whether in praise of victory or defiance in defeat.
The loss of J C R Buchanan and C V Hendry to appointments in England robbed the club of great experience which was very hard to fill and meant that there were several mediocre seasons. The only highlight being the selection of J W Scott for a cap against France.
Indeed, the club was devastated by the death of Finlay Kennedy at the tragically early age of 33. He had contracted Malaria while serving with the Lovat Scouts in the Middle East and the Club and Scottish rugby lost a great sportsman and gentleman.
Results of the 1st XV were mixed during the this period but the club itself was thriving. Five teams played virtually throughout the season and were very successful.
During the Thirties the Club had some excellent teams and far from being depressed by the economic outlook, the Club continued to grow and develop.
In 1929-30 good wins were achieved against Kelvinside, Heriot’s, West of Scotland, Edinburgh Wanderers and a 5-3 triumph over Hawick. This was the best showing of the club in the championship since 1921. This was the first time the 1st XV had scored over 300 points. There had been 79 tries scored, 62 by backs and 17 by forwards.
H P Mather, J Graham and H B Johnson played for Edinburgh and Bill Agnew was selected for Scotland against Wales and Ireland. He is the youngest Stewart’s FP ever to be capped at nineteen years of age. The following season M S Stewart was capped against South Africa Wales and Ireland.
J B Borthwick became captain in 1937-38 and an excellent team was developed. The introduction of E Anderson at scrum half coupled with L G Doig at stand off improved the back play despite early losses against Kelvinside and Heriot’s. However, wins at Hillhead, Selkirk and Glasgow High followed by easy victories against Melrose and Edinburgh Academicals set the Club up for a challenge for the Championship. Wins against Watsonians, Melville, Hawick and Edinburgh Wanderers secured the Championship. It was unfortunate that they lost the final match of the season at Goldenacre 18-7.
Nonetheless, Stewart’s FP had been crowned Club Champions of Scottish Rugby for the first time. Not surprisingly, J B Borthwick won his first cap against Wales during this season.
In 1937 the Stewart’s VII of Blair, Drummond, Doig, Anderson, Glover, Govan and Craig won the Hawick Sevens for the first time.