Brechin BRUCE started the 2014/2015 season with a trip to the Ochil Hills of Tillicoultry to take part in the sixth Scottish Annual Golden Oldies Rugby Festival.
This year’s festival, which was attended by 10 teams, also welcomed teams from Belgium and France.
The BRUCE’s first game was against a very experienced team from Crieff who whilst exceptionally big, physical and strong, played the game in the ethos of fun, friendship and fraternity that is Veterans Rugby.
Crieff took an early lead as the Brechin lads, with a few new faces, took time to settle into formation.
This early set back only led to Brechin digging deeper and they soon levelled with a storming try from centre Iain Fletcher.
The game carried on late into the second half with both teams going close but due to resilient defending neither could get over the line until the dying minutes of the game when Brechin broke through the pack with Robin Leslie Melville scoring a matching winning try.
The second game was to prove to be the biggest test of the day for the BRUCE as they faced Kirkcaldy’s Zingari, one of the top veteran teams in Scotland and Europe.
Despite the credentials of the Zingari lads, a quickly patched up Brechin squad took to the challenge with renewed vigour and came mighty close to causing a real upset in at least holding the Fife legends at bay for a draw.
However, the Zingari team managed to score late in the second half to take a hard fought but deserved victory.
The third and final match of the day for BRUCE saw them face Kinross. The side were by this time starting to suffer from their earlier efforts and were down on a few players, most notably both try scorers from the first game who suffered shoulder and rib injuries.
Playing into a strong blustery wind proved to be a real disadvantage for BRUCE and quite early in the first half they fell behind by two tries. Again they dug deep and started to turn the game in their favour. A quick breakthrough in their own half saw Gary Robertson find a gap and take off down the pitch to pull one try back.
In the closing minutes the club’s favourite and most famous player Alastair Urquhart (85) managed to latch onto a long pass and ran down the wing only to stumble on an uneven bit of ground. However, his years of experience allowed him to pull off the pass of the day with a little pop pass from behind his back to supporting team mates Walsh and Robertson who carried on down the wing with some fine interchanging passing to allow Robertson to score again and take a share of the spoils.
A spokesperson for Brechin BRUCE said: “Some of the matches may well be screened on BBC Alba in the coming weeks as they were following Alastair who is now an ambassador for Age Concern.
“The Brechin team are proving to be very popular on the veterans circuit and this is set to continue with the teams home festival which will be held on 20 September at their Guthrie Park pitches. This year is set to be even bigger than previous years with Mackie Mammoths, Zingari, Hillfoots Cast Ups, Howe of Fife Knights, Caledonian TheBans and Forrester Rubies all looking to come along on the day.”
The Brechin Junior club, who play and train at Guthrie Park, continue to welcome new members with boys and girls up to 13 years of age training on a Tuesday night from 6.30 to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
Anyone over 14-years-old are welcome to come to BRUCE and Sheila training on Thursday evenings from 6.30 to 8 p.m.=