Tuesday 16 February 2021

Accies College Cup (Race 1) - Race to the Oldest Club in the World

The first race in the Accies College Cup is from Raeburn Place to Dublin and the teams are making good progress into the 481km distance, with Harvard Crimson and Dartmouth Green off to a particularly strong start. Of course, this distance was clocked up in relative isolation on local runs, cycles and swims rather than travelling to visit our Celtic friends by coach, ferry or airplane. While we wait to find out who will win the first race, it seems a good excuse to look back at the Club's connection to the Irish capital.

Accies last match in Dublin took place in 2016 against Trinity College and as such that is the official finish line for this race and the subject of this article. Our links to the city go back much further to the days of playing Old Wesley, and there are many stories to remember about then, but perhaps we can save them for another time.

Our trip to Trinity College in 2016 was our first official club tour in some time and a young and excited squad would travel by coach and ferry on a Friday morning for a game with a social Trinity College team that evening. The long journey was naturally spent in eager anticipation to rekindle a lost touring tradition, with the only potential dampener being that only 3 fit backs could make the trip! Any concerns about the forward-heavy tour party worrying about stepping into the backline were dispelled as a keen contest for the vacant backline positions swiftly took place.  

We enjoyed a strong Accies support for our game at College Park as many Accies had travelled to Dublin to attend Scotland's Six Nations match against Ireland the next day. They would have been surprised to see hookers turning out at 6 and our flankers at centre but perhaps a bit more confident that Callum Black, Tom Drennan and Jamie Sole could cope in the un-familiar positions.

Cope they did and in the end, Accies would triumph 32-21 in a keenly contested and good spirited contest and, dare I say, a few flashes of the same brilliance we would witness from Stuart Hogg at the Aviva the next day. We would enjoy a very warm welcome at The Pavillion where many Guinness were toasted to the new friends we had made and the history of both clubs. The honourable Robert Lovett would then preside over an entertaining, if not ruthless, court session that would set the tone for the remainder of the tour.

A thoroughly memorable time ensued, and we would soon return in 2018 and 2020 but unfortunately the fixture lists were not kind and we are still to complete a second match.

Dublin is a special and welcoming place and Trinity College were excellent hosts for the Accies. We hope that we could return the favour in future and we certainly hope to return soon!


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