Lasswade RFC

Lasswade RFC
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Our Club was founded in 1921 and in September of that year our first game was against Kirkcaldy in a field owned by the Goldie family to the west of Dobbies Road, Bonnyrigg behind Dundas Cottage. Tubby Jack scored the first try although we lost 42 - 3.


Conditions then were pretty primitive and changing took place in the Guide hut with water from an outside tap with a large tub provided by the Goldies. The Forrester Arms (now the Laird & Dog) provided the first base for the Club. Ma Jack took the Club under her wing and visiting teams were well looked after. The teams also shared the luxury of a hot tub.


Players were mostly local but some from Liberton joined in 1926, which added strength in depth. We won our first trophy - The Newington 7-a-side Cup in 1928 and again in 1929.


In 1937 Lasswade and Dalkeith amalgamated and this carried on throughout the war years, the Clubs going their own way at the end of hostilities.


By 1950 we were running two successful teams with players regularly being picked to represent the District. Season 1952/53 was perhaps the club's most successful: P22; W20; D2. The Club were turning out 3 teams at the end of this decade with former player and farmer Willie Pugh providing an additional pitch.


By the sixties the standard of play was improving. We won the Edinburgh District Junior League in 1963/4; our own sevens tournament in 1962 and 1964 and in 1966 won the Gala YM sevens.


Internationally Lasswade pushed the boundaries with trips to St Cyr L'Ecole and Cwmgwrach in France and Wales respectively which survive to this day. Other countries visited have included England , Holland, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden .


In 1971 we celebrated our Golden Jubilee with a game against a Scottish Junior Select and in 1973 The Esk Valley Bantams were formed for 12-16 year olds.


An important landmark took place on 18 th December 1974 when the official opening of our grounds and clubhouse at Hawthornden took place. The facilities were second to none and over the years since improvements have been made to the Club.


Season 1974/5 was the start of the national leagues in Scotland and we found ourselves in Division 5 East. We lost out on promotion that year to Preston Lodge who continued successfully up the leagues while we remained somewhat static. After being demoted to District League status in 1979-80 a welcome return to National League rugby was secured after several years in the doldrums.


Around this time Peter Wright emerged as an outstanding prospect and played for our first fifteen, as a prop, at the tender age of 15. Billy Knowles, the other prop was only a year older and their combined age was 1 year younger than the hooker David Pringle! Understandably Peter wanted to further his career and moved to Boroughmuir. In 1985 he was selected to play at under 18 level for Scotland and then went all the way to play for Scotland and the British Lions .


Following their return to the National Leagues in 1987/8 Lasswade's fortunes began to improve. National League division 7 was won at the start of the nineties followed by victory in the Murrayfield Cup. The Highland Sevens were also won that year and this proved to be the most successful season in a long time. Although we did go up to Division 5 by the mid-nineties, not enough improvement had been made to go further. Meanwhile our pitches and training ground began to deteriorate. Likewise the bar was struggling to make money. It was then we looked at ways of generating greater income. Several attempts were made to obtain Lottery funding and the like but this proved fruitless. Then in 2003 our current President Ian Barr made approaches to Midlothian Council with a view to selling some of our ground and neighbouring council land to build houses. The Council were enthusiastic about this and agreed to help. A deal was eventually struck and we received 1.8 million pounds for the sale of one of our 3 pitches.


The money has been ploughed into Development with 2 International size grass and floodlit pitches complemented by a 350 seater Grandstand containing spacious changing rooms and an air-conditioned fitness room. A car park, landscaped surrounds and a fully re-furbished Clubhouse completes the Development to an extremely high standard.


On the playing side, a great deal of effort has been put in at all levels to improve standards. A very active mini/midi section was developed and for the season 2007/8 an Under 18 Colts side played again after a gap of 5 years. The 1st and 2nd XV senior sides have also improved and in season 2006/7 the Firsts, under Coaches Graham Wright and Colin Brown, won Division 4 East convincingly winning all 18 league games, a remarkable achievement. Promotion to National 3 was achieved in some style.


The Opening Day for the new facilities held on Saturday 4th August 2007 was a red letter day in the history of Lasswade. The day was a resounding success with over 1000 spectators and players basking in the bright sunshine. The day was marked firstly, by an over 35 game featuring Lasswade and a Midlothian select which was narrowly won by the home team. The Colts then took on their Biggar counterparts but lost to a very good side. The finale provided a first class spectacle with Lasswade convincingly beating a Scottish Select featuring ex-Scotland and British Lions players, Peter Wright and Gregor Townsend .


During season 2007/08 the 1st XV acquitted themselves well in National League 3 finishing a creditable 4th. Hawthornden also played host to several star-studded games throughout the season including England Students versus Scottish Universities and Scottish Under 19's playing the newly crowned Premier 1 Champions Boroughmuir. Scotland Ladies based themselves at Lasswade throughout the entire season. A friendly between Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby was also played on a day when every other pitch in Scotland was unplayable.


Season 2008/9 saw the appointment of a new Head Coach Dave Cockburn who brought with him a wealth of experience from a much higher level. He was assisted by Graham Wright and Player/Coach Bernie Hennessey who took charge of the backs. The Season was a resounding success and Lasswade took the title comfortably after winning their first 19 games.


The following Season (2009/100) was even more successful. Promotion was gained to National 1 by finishing runners-up to Greenock Wanderers. Lasswade were the only side to defeat Greenock all season in the league (at Hawthornden) but to cap it all Lasswade then beat Greenock in the final of the National Shield on 24th April 2010 at Murrayfield. This was arguably the finest day in the history of the Club. Over 800 supporters, adorned in the Club colours, cheered on their heroes. Captain Mark Billingham led magnificiently from the front while young Kyle Smith stole the show with a wonderful individual try. It took to the final game of the season for Lasswade to gain promotion but this they did so in style, beating Hawick YM by 74 points to nil in front of a rapturous full house at Hawthornden.

And if that wasn't impressive enough Season 2010/11 was to prove even more successful. From mid-October 2010 Lasswade went on an unbeaten 21 game run which saw them retain the National Shield against Hawick YM and then win the league and in the process fulfil their 3 year plan of securing Premier League status for the first time in their history.

At the Scottish Rugby's Annual Award Ceremoney in May 2011 Lasswade narrowly lost out to Melrose for Club of the Year Award. However Head Coach Dave Cockburn received Coach of the Year award for Scotland. In addition Lasswade have won Club of the Month 4 times during the past 5 seasons, a record for any Scottish Club.

updated by Davie Oliver 01.12.11

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League Tables

BT National League » BT National League 3

1 Lasswade RFC 14 55
2 West of Scotland FC 13 51
3 Preston Lodge RFC 13 50
4 Dumfries Saints RFC 13 48
5 RHC RFC 13 42
6 East Kilbride RFC 13 33
7 Irvine RFC 14 30
8 Perthshire RFC 13 30
9 Hawick YM RFC 13 16
10 Dalziel RFC 13 16
11 Dunfermline RFC 13 13
12 Murrayfield Wanderers FC 13 6

Last updated Saturday 20th December, 18:18