Friday 9 October 2020

Tommy McClung, 1933-2020

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Tommy McClung on Tuesday 6th October, a fine man, player, past President and life-long supporter of the Club. He was 87.

Educated at Edinburgh Academy, Sedbergh and Cambridge University, he played in the 1954 Varsity match, helping the light blues to victory.

After university, he returned to Edinburgh and was a stalwart of the Accies team of the 1950s/60s, when the Club enjoyed a remarkable period of success, winning the unofficial club championship in 1955-56 and sharing the title with Jed-Forest the following season. Tommy played alongside other Accies' greats such as Douglas Elliot, Stan Coughtrie, Keith Paterson-Brown, Mike Marwick and his brother, Gilbert, and went on to captain the Club in Season 1959-60.

Accies 1st XV - Winners of The Unofficial Championship, 1955-56
Back: CF Sleigh, JM Barber, RW Meikle, JH Marshall, J Forrest, S Coughtrie, JDL Fairbairn.
Middle: T McClung, KW Paterson-Brown, RI Marshall, MTR Marwick (c), HG Hay, DJ Marshall, MJ Sands
Front: HMA Rowan, JA Simson

Often referred to as the 'general' of the backs, he was undoubtedly the outstanding player of 1959-60, regularly turning likely defeats into narrow victories with his invaluable long and accurate kicking and powerful, defense-splitting bursts.

He represented Edinburgh District many times and played his first game for Scotland in the 1956 Five Nations, gaining a total of 9 caps until his last test in 1960. He also represented the Barbarians on four occasions, joining the Easter tours to Wales in both 1956 and 1957.

After retiring from playing, he became a popular committee member and was President of the Club from 1984-86.

Tommy, in partnership with his brother, Gilbert, was a successful potato merchant, with farmland across East Lothian and the Borders. He was also a very keen golfer, being a member of Turnberry (their oldest member!), The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and The British Rugby Club of Paris (Scottish Section).

Our thoughts and condolences are with Tommy’s many friends and family, especially his wife, Marion, and children Fraser, Gilbert and Celia, at this sad time.


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