Rugby Club – Letter from Finlay Calder

Dear Members and Friends of Stewart’s Melville Rugby Football Club

We are now back in training at Inverleith and numbers are strong with anticipated warm up games against our nearest neighbours Heriots and the Accies set for October.

But whilst Covid remains a threat, Leagues have been scrubbed till September 2021 so we make do within a small local competition with Berwick, Lasswade, Preston Lodge, Peebles and Kirkcaldy. Ten matches in total and if we win, we qualify for the Cup. It’s the best of a bad project but we run with it.

Pre-match lunches may happen but on a limited basis so fund raising opportunities will be very limited.

In light of a much-reduced season we will not be buying kit for the players this year which eases our overheads of course however the Club still needs funds to cover so many other essentials including coaches, physios, medical support, administration costs, Covid protection, Ground rent etc etc and so I write to ask if you would consider sponsoring a player for £200 to keep us going?

I fully appreciate that money is tight but if you can see your way to steer funds our way it would be most welcome. Here’s a deal! If you sponsor a player this year and we don’t play, I won’t put the begging bowl out for next. Can’t be fairer than that!

Further information and payment details are attached.

Thank you in advance.


Membership & Sponsor Information

Dougie Morgan

It was with great sadness that the club learned of the death of Dougie Morgan yesterday, Saturday 4th April after a lengthy period of ill health. Elder brother of Alastair and Colin he attended Melville College from 1952 to 1965 being school captain in his last year. On leaving school he continued to play his club rugby at Ferryfield for Melville FPs remaining loyal to the club when others eyed his talents. It was with Melville FP that he won his first cap for the Scotland rugby team in season 1972-73, the last season before the merger with Stewart’s. He went on to win 21 caps for Scotland captaining the side in 1977-78 having won selection for the 1977 British Lions tour of New Zealand playing in two of the four test matches. He was the driving force behind the rugby club’s ascendancy from its initial placing in Division Two of the Scottish Rugby leagues to competing with the leading clubs in the top division. He was a tremendously competitive and inventive scrum half always leading by example, an inspiring captain in the dressing room and an amazing goal kicker frequently winning games or running the opposition close with long range penalty kicks. The Stew Mel sevens team of the day regularly reached the latter stages of Border tournaments culminating in winning the Twickenham Sevens in 1982. After he finished playing he began a distinguished coaching career first with the club, then Edinburgh and subsequently Scotland from 1992 to 1995 and latterly team manager in 2002-03. He was an accomplished cricketer also being 12th man for Scotland in a match v MCC at Lord’s in 1968 (taking a catch when on the field) and in August 1972 he scored 154 not out against Brunswick, an East League record at the time. He was a member of the Royal Burgess Golfing Society and participated in the FP Golf Club’s competitions with the same competitiveness he showed on the rugby field. Throughout his rugby career he practised as a chiropodist from Jenners store in Princes Street. Our sympathies are extended to his wife Doreen, a regular attender at Ferryfield and Inverleith over the years and his family.

Big win for 1st XV before lockdown

Saturday 14th March

Stewart’s Melville RFC 45 Newton Stewart 8

In the last game before the SRU prescribed Coronavirus shutdown the 1st XV consolidated their top of table position with a convincing win over visitors Newton Stewart by 45 points to 8. A pretty turgid first-half performance saw Stew Mel lead by only 7-3 at the break playing with the wind behind them after an early try by Willie Malcolm converted by stand-off Euan Bowen.

Willie Malcolm goes through for the 1st try

The second half saw Stew Mel turn up the heat with a succession of tries interrupted only late on by a Newton Stewart try while down to 14 men. No 8 Scott Alldritt, watched by his “other” brother Tom over from France led the way with two tries. With the win secured Stew Mel top the table with 15 league wins to 3 defeats and a total of 71 points ahead of Dumfries 64 points from 18 games and Peebles 64 points from 17 games. Who knows if and when the final four matches will be played.

Scott Alldritt (with scrum cap) gets his 1st try

1st win at Dumfries to head league table again

Saturday 29th February

Dumfries 10 Stewart’s Melville RFC 19

Well done to the Rugby Club’s 1st XV who returned a vital win from their trip to play Dumfries in now familiar monsoon conditions. After going behind to an unconverted try Stew Mel replied with two converted tries through prop Chris Baikie and James Ferguson converted by Euan Morrison to lead 14-5 before Dumfries came back with another of their own, 14-10 before a third Stew Mel try by Darren Miller secured the win, 19-5.

The win has us back on top of the table although there is virtually nothing between the top four. We have 61 points from 16 games, Dumfries 60 from 17; Peebles 59 from 16 and GHK 56 from 15. With up to 5 points available in any game and 22 to be played there is quite a bit of nail biting to be done before matters are resolved. We are however well placed in that our remaining matches are against lower placed sides and the next two weeks are at home – 7th March v Whitecraigs and 14th March v Newton Stewart, both at 3pm.

1st XV due to take on leaders Dumfries

Friday 27th February

Action from our home win over Dumfries on 25th January

Weather permitting the Stew Mel 1st XV take on Dumfries tomorrow at Park Farm in a match vital to both teams promotion prospects. With a 31-19 win at Whitecraigs last week while our fixture with Falkirk was a victim of the weather Dumfries took over at the top of the league with 60 points from 16 games against Stew Mel’s 57 points from 15 games. GHK with 56 points and Peebles 54 points both from 15 matches follow closely behind. There are seven games to go for Stew Mel and six for Dumfries.

On Saturday week, 7th March, we are home to Whitecraigs at Inverleith (3pm) while GHK and Dumfries go head to head against each other at Old Anniesland.

1st XV back on top with PL win

15 February 2020

NL 2 – Stewart’s Melville 18 Preston Lodge 0

Preston Lodge visited Inverleith fourteen days after the our narrow cup win this time on league business in a game accompanied yet again by high winds and driving rain. Unlike last time Stew Mel pretty much dominated possession and secured a territorial advantage throughout and not just for half the game with the forwards putting in a strong performance. After a prolonged period of attack without yielding a try Stew Mel took the option of three points from a penalty and that remained the score at half-time.

Euan Morrison opens the scoring with a penalty

The second half started in similar fashion with Stew Mel kicking a second penalty for a 6-0 advantage after 46 minutes. Eventually the forward pressure told with a try by Scott Alldritt after 51 minutes in giving us an 11-0 lead which looked safe for the win given the elements. A further try late on and converted by Euan Morrison took the margin to 18 points which fairly reflected the dominance of Stew Mel and the four match points won took us out of fourth place to the top of the league. Seven games remain with only one of these against a top half team.

Scott Alldritt goes over for our 1st try after 51 minutes

Before the match the club’s pre match lunch was a near full house attended by 95 past players and guests with many of those present not seen at Inverleith for some time. Afterwards the stand was as well filled as it has been this season though that might have had something to do with the awful weather brought by “Storm Denis”. It was a great effort by the club to get so many to the lunch.

1st XV turn around 22-0 Cup deficit to win in final minutes

Saturday 1st February – Inverleith

Stew Mel turned around a 22-0 half-time deficit to achieve an unforeseen 34-29 win over Preston Lodge in the quarter-finals of the National League Cup. With several enforced changes from last week’s match v Dumfries the 1st half was one way traffic in the direction of the Stew-Mel goal line as PL crossed for four tries converting one. In a complete reversal in the second half Stew Mel making use of possession they never enjoyed in the first half scored with a drop and then ran in four tries to lead 27-22 with minutes left. PL then scored a try under the posts to regain the lead before Stew Mel got the decisive final try for 34-29. A semi-final v Lasswade beckons.

Jamie McGurk crosses for the winning try

1st XV win takes them to top

Saturday 25th January

The Stew Mel 1st XV scored an important win against fellow leaders Dumfries at Inverleith running in 5 tries in a 33-24 win. A fine attacking display had the team comfortably ahead most of the match but some slack defensive play kept the visitors just about within sight of a result most of the 80+ minutes.

An excited Bill McNie celebrates the final Stew Mel try

The National League 2 table now has Stew Mel on 53 points from 14 matches and no fewer than three sides Dumfries, GHK and Kirkcaldy on 51 points. Peebles are next with 49 points while PL with 46 points could yet be in the mix once all 22 games have been played.

Saturday sees the 1st XV in cup action v PL at Inverleith at 1.30pm before the televised Ireland v Scotland international

Rugby – 1st XV v Newton Stewart Off

Saturday 11th January

Heavy rain and a waterlogged pitch have meant the cancellation of today’s NL2 match v Newton Stewart scheduled for Inverleith.

Grant Weatherstone

The club is saddened to hear of the death of one of our Scottish Rugby internationalists on 2nd January 2020 at the age of 88.

For further information regarding Grant from the SRU’s website click here