Thursday 11 March 2021

The Accies College Cup (Race 4) – Accies and London Scottish

Our rivalry and friendship with London Scottish began on Christmas Day 1906 when Accies lost on their first visit to the Athletic Ground Richmond. The match between the Clubs thrived and was generally played in Edinburgh on Christmas day, War years excluded.

In 1947 Accies received an invitation to play Blackheath in London, after their game against London Scottish on Christmas Day Accies set off on the train to play Blackheath on Boxing day. Sadly, frost meant the game could not be played, but no doubt the trip was not wasted.

By the 1950s the match with London Scottish had moved from Christmas Day to Boxing Day, which meant the Exiles could spend Christmas day with their families in Scotland before the game.

In the 1960s and early 1970s Scottish began to dominate the games, but that was to change for one year at least in 1976. Accies had not won for 18 years and Rob Blair the Club captain managed to persuade the recently arrived former Gala captain and internationalist John Frame to play in the game. John wanted to play social rugby and had agreed to captain Accies third XV but agreed to one last game for the firsts. Scottish fielded virtually a full-strength side that included 3 current caps, district players and Oxbridge blues. John was outstanding and inspired his young team- mates, to everyone’s surprise, particularly a very grumpy Alastair MacHarg, Accies won by 11 points to 9.

To say it was a surprise is probably an understatement as 3 weeks earlier Scottish had defeated a full-strength Newcastle Gosforth side who would go on to win the John Player Cup at Twickenham later in the season. The next weekend Accies, minus Frame, lost to Broughton RFC who languished in last place in Scottish League division 3. A case of rooster to feather duster in a week.

Over the next few years Scottish struggled to field a team and initially the Boxing Day game was played against a President’s XV, which was then replaced by the Co-optimists fixture in the early eighties.

The next time Accies played Scottish at the Athletic Ground on 12th December 1987. Scottish were captained by former Accies captain and Club legend Charlie Richardson. Scottish won the game convincingly in the end, however, the game will be remembered for the running battle Charlie had with his long-term former teammate and friend Pete Drennan. They knocked lumps out of each other with fists, knees and anything else they could manage. Everyone thought thank goodness that is over only for it to kick off again in the bar afterwards.

The following year Charlie brought his side up to RP, but the pressure of League fixtures meant the game dropped off the fixture list until the sides were drawn against each other again in the B & I Cup. More on that trip to follow…


From the Archive