King Penguins to Boroughmuir Reprobates, Edinburgh
5 May 2018
Article by Craig Brown and Iain Sinclair
Charity match in memory of Bruce Hay (Boroughmuir, Scotland and British & Irish Lions) - 2 x 20 mins played with rolling subs
At the direction of (playing) King Penguin President, John Kerr, Penguin Manager and playing captain Iain Sinclair pulled together a typically eclectic mix of ageing talent from an ever-decreasing pool where the criteria is if they're able to lace up a pair of playing boots. The squad did however, included Scotland Internationalists and former fellow Penguin tourists from Brazil and Chile 1998, Barry Stewart and Marcus DiRollo and fellow Scottish Internationalists Hugh Gilmour and Steven Lawrie (also a former Penguin to Paris 2006). The squad also included some other notable inclusions such Scotland 7’s Jamie Blackwood Penguin to Rome 7s 2008), Aberdeen Grammar try scoring machine, Colin Maguire and a Scottish Rugby and Penguin favourite, Matthew PJ Smith.
With a scheduled 2pm KO at Boroughmuir’s home ground, Meggetland, Edinburgh, it was reported that some of the starting KP’s XV, started to assemble at the back of 0900hrs to start the very, very slow pre-match warm up. Come kick off, we were reliably informed that there was not a shop nor pharmacy in a 20miles radius that had any zinc oxide or gorilla tape remaining in stock, following an unforeseen rush in demand of immobilising joints. Some suggest the demand was from the need to hold body parts in place and if this constitutes an anti-bounce chest girdle, this was indeed evidenced by the attending front, middle and back row not to mention a smattering of portly three quarters…
Back row: Dave Cockburn, Alan Kerr, Matt Smith, Barry Stewart, Stevie Lawrie, Gav Brown, Phil Calvert, Hugh Gilmour, Gordy Dickson, Rick Cowan, Jamie Blackwood
Front row: Paul Raeburn, John Kerr (President), Iain Sinclair (Manager/Captain), Marcus DiRollo, Michael Plumb, Colin Maguire, Dougie Miekle, Richard Sneddon, Neil Renton, Donald Wynn
Absent: Pete Almond, Derek Lee (Tactical consultant), Ross McNulty (Water Oldboy)
With a handful of former Penguins, electing to represent the opposition, the match kicked off amidst much respectful heckling towards the likes of the mercurial Stephen Wands (PIRFC Orkney 2006). The game started at pace, a pace that one looker described as “being akin to that of soil erosion”. None the less, the obvious excitement in taking the pitch once again was evident as some questionably loose forward exchanges, resulted in quick(ish) ball being presented on a plate by Dougie Meikle for Richard Sneddon to fire a trademark right to left pass to the awaiting DiRollo. The swarthy 10 glided into space before releasing the previously svelte Cowan who in turn popped a well-timed pass to the awaiting Maguire, who with much still to do, feinted inside before rounding a seemingly stationary Reprobate defender and dotting down for his and the KP’s, first try of the match after only 3 mins played.
The next 5-10 minutes felt like an age and indeed even longer for those on the pitch as the Edinburgh May sunshine, sucked the little life that was in the ageing legs of the enthusiastic but less than match fit teams on both sides. To the neutral, it would seem like a close, well balanced encounter as both sides upped the “Alpha” stakes in close quarters, however, this was more Ali v Forman tactic, where Ali (KP’s) game plan was to draw the best that was on offer from the opposition and with that sap their energy. The previously un-rehearsed and un-practised plan was a success, as a couple of quick well worked try’s off either blindside saw tries from Blackwood and Maguire’s second.
As the first half came to a close at 20-10 in KP’s favour, it was clear there was more to give and indeed more to come from the hastily assembled but talented KP’s.
The second 20mins started where the KP’s had left off, but this time with a greater degree of accuracy. This may have something to do with contact lens replacement, half time serving of port or the old bucket of water and magic sponge. Whatever it was, the KP’s played with spirit and guile that would make Penguin IRFC co-founder and Life President, AGL Wright, a very proud man. Some top drawer stuff in the afternoon sun, played in a competitive but spirited manner from both sides saw the second half head towards a comprehensive victory for the KP’s with tries from Sinclair, Sneddon and Gilmour. The closing stages saw some typically combative interactions from Gavin Brown and Gordon Dickson coupled with some perhaps over exuberant defence from KP management, that lead to a turn over that saw KP President combine well in the loose with brother Alan, who put Maguire in for his hattrick.
Result: King Penguins 40 v 15 Boroughmuir Reprobates
The game was played in great spirit with many friends of the Penguins in opposition, all of which was in the memory of the late great Bruce Hay. The day’s festivities continued late into the night in good, old school rugby club dinner, with a raffle and speakers that included Scotland legend Euan Kennedy and an auction that raised over £7000 for the selected charities of SANDS Lothians, #teamlyle, Rwandan Orphans Project and The Penguin International Rugby Trust.
Thanks to Boroughmuir Community Manager and Boroughmuir Chief Reprobate, Andy Knight and Penguin Coach, Dave Cockburn for they support in making the day such a memorable one.