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Caithness rugby veterans roll back the years at Scottish Golden Oldies Festival


By Iain Grant

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The Caithness Evergreens who took part in the 10th Scottish Golden Oldies Festival hosted by Aberdeen Wanderers.
The Caithness Evergreens who took part in the 10th Scottish Golden Oldies Festival hosted by Aberdeen Wanderers.

Old stagers from Caithness cranked into action for the 10th Scottish Golden Oldies Festival on Saturday.

A squad of 20, most of whom had their heyday in the nineties and noughties, turned out for the event hosted by Aberdeen Wanderers.

The club's Groats Road base was turned into a tented village for the festival, which had a three-year Covid-enforced absence.

The Robert Gordon's College Pipe Band played as festival ambassador Bill Glendinning officially kicked off the event.

The 13 teams each played three 15 minutes-each-way games which were governed by under-19 rules.

The Evergreens defeated Gariochatrics by seven tries to three and Huntly Old Boars 4-2 before being edged out by the odd try in five versus Orkney Vikings.

Caithness veterans with their Orkney counterparts at the Scottish Golden Oldies Festival in Aberdeen.
Caithness veterans with their Orkney counterparts at the Scottish Golden Oldies Festival in Aberdeen.

They were playing in a new set of strips sponsored by LED Scotland Ltd, the Thurso-based firm run by Caithness RFC president Frank Bremner.

The award to the oldest player went to Brechin's Alastair Urquhart, a sprightly 93-year-old.

Caithness vice-president Russell Mill, who organised the trip, was delighted with the turnout and the performance on the park.

He said: "We started out with a list of more than 30 and inevitably had a few drop-outs. But some were originally just going to come down to watch and ended up putting their boots on.

"It was great to see some of the club's legends performing again and showing they still have some of their old magic."

Mill, who himself turned out, said the big surprise of the day was a player making his competitive debut.

Micro and mini coach John Sibbald's previous outings had been confined to touch rugby but he capped a cracking display with two well-taken tries.

George Sutherland delivering a pass for Caithness Evergreens in their win against Gariochatrics.
George Sutherland delivering a pass for Caithness Evergreens in their win against Gariochatrics.

Injury prevented former skipper Andy Morris, the Greens' record caps holder, from playing but he drove up from his farm in Newburgh in Fife and acted as team manager.

Mill hopes the outing will be the first step in a move to more fully involve former players in the club. A legends section is planned and Mill is already eyeing a second outing for the Evergreens at an oldies festival in Dundee in early August.


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