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In the late 1960’s, most rugby clubs in the west of Scotland were for old boys of fee paying schools but some clubs were being formed where members of such clubs preferred to play locally. In 1969 clubs had already been formed in Helensburgh, Dumbarton and Oban and old clubs like Uddingston, Whitecraigs, Craigielea and Stirling had been resurrected.

It so happened at that time that three rugby enthusiasts in the village of Hardgate just north of Clydebank regularly met at the local garage wile refuelling their cars on a Sunday morning and it soon became known to Kinloch Campbell who owned the garage that Ian Bruce played with a West of Scotland XV, Robin Veitch with a Glasgow Accies XV and Alan Robinson was a regular at Hughenden. Although he had never played himself, Kinloch Campbell had a cousin who had just been capped for Scotland. Others who visited the garage soon became involved in the weekly banter and one week it was agreed to introduce them to the game at Dumbarton. Soon the migrants from Clydebank were playing in the Dumbarton teams but one evening a number of old players returned to Dumbarton for a midweek fixture. They were immediately selected and the Bankies were discarded.

That night it was decided to form our own club in Clydebank.

One of our number was Gordon Turner, the son of Clydebanks provost and he was instructed to find suitable playing facilities. A local lawyer was persuaded to become secretary and the bank manager to become treasurer. Robin Veitch became match secretary, Ian Bruce - club captain and Alan Robinson undertook to take up refereeing. A local doctor, Jimmy Robertson, who was still remembered as a very capable 400m athlete and who had played for Jordanhill, agreed to become president. The manager of a new hotel being built in the town was a rugby enthusiast from the east coast so on 29th May 1969 at the Hotel Radnor it was agreed formally to create Clydebank Rugby Club and adopt a draft constitution.

Having not been able to find available pitches, the club held their initial training at a local farm where it is remembered the session began with the words “this is a rugby ball”. To say that Clydebank was unfamiliar with the rugby world would be an understatement although some of the older members of the community did recall a rugby team at Clydebank High School before the war. This ignorance resulted in the unofficial club motto “round balls are for hitting with golf clubs”. By September 1969 the club was permitted to play at Whitecrook which was previously used on for the Dumbartonshire School Sports. Rugby posts were erected and a pitch laid out by the club itself. There were no changing facilities at Whitecrook but arrangements were made to change at John Brown recreation ground with teams walking the 200 yds to the pitch.

On Monday 1st September 1969 Clydebank Rugby Club played its first match against a Presidents XV captained by Richard Alan of Hutchesons and Scotland – a full cousin of Kinloch Campbell who appropriately scored the first try to give the new club a 3 point lead. Sadly the lead did not last long and the visitors won easily but more importantly rugby had come to Clydebank. The match was followed by an informal dinner in the Hotel Radnor which introduced the members to another tradition of the rugby world.

Where next?

History 2 On the following Saturday the 1st XV played Dumfries 2nd XV at Dumfries and the 2nd XV played Ardros


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