HAWICK Trades, a rugby club with a strong committee but without a team, staged a 65th anniversary reunion dinner at Mansfield Park last Friday.
Prior to the start of the official programme, club president David Oliver stated that the night wasn’t a wake about a side that had stopped playing in 2004, but a celebration of the Sky Blues.
The evening turned out to be just this and much more, for although it may have been a long time since the Trades gained a victory on the pitch, they certainly conjured up a win at this special occasion.
The 130 who attended were well fed with a lovely meal from Debbie Brown and her hard-working staff, and well looked after in the way of refreshments by club steward Bobby Froud and his efficient team behind the bar.
And there were many more delights for those who filled the hall.
These came in the shape of speakers Ian Landles, Andy Irvine and John Rutherford, who were all star turns.
Introduced by Trades committeeman Bobby MacDonald, Ian kicked things off by toasting The Trades.
And the retired high school history teacher and weel-kent Hawick man didn’t disappoint with an extremely humorous and informative speech. From poetry to song, to quick-fire funny stories and his recent travels to the World Cup in New Zealand, he entertained the audience to the full.
And for good measure he gave a detailed talk on the Trades’ history, ranging from the club’s humble beginnings in the 40s to its Volunteer Park days; to its many triumphs and the wonderful Welsh connection with Glyneath.
After being introduced by Trades stalwart Andrew ‘Tank’ Gibson, former Heriot’s, Scotland and British Lions ace Andy Irvine captivated the hall with his toast to rugby football.
A great friend and Scottish teammate of Hawick’s own Jim Renwick, Andy stated he had never played against the Trades.
However, he had many fond memories of facing the Greens and duly told some amusing stories of those experiences.
Recently named British Lions manager for the forthcoming tour of Australia in 2013, he then expressed his views on present-day rugby in a refreshingly honest, straight-talking manner.
He covered the lack of loyalty in the club game, how more respect should be shown to the jersey and how much professionalism there is in the game.
Concluding, he spoke of the laws, referees and the future of rugby.
Also in sparkling form was ex-Selkirk, Scotland and British Lions star John Rutherford.
Replying to Mr Irvine’s toast, following an amusing introduction by former Trades player Brian ‘Noggin’ Murray, John produced the same flair and style in his speech that he did in his playing days.
Besides bringing about much laughter with tales of his playing days, the one-time stand-off revealed that Hawick rugby had had a profound effect on his life due to the many great Greens players he had played with for Scotland and against at club level.
Other highlights during the evening included first-class entertainment from Henry Douglas and Drew Gibb.
Messages of goodwill from ex-Trades player Alan Kyle, New Zealand; and Scott Macleod, the last Trades player to be capped for Scotland, who now plays professional rugby for Kobe Steelers in Japan, were read out.
n More than £1,000 was raised through the dinner for the Bill McLaren statue fund.