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Home > News > Accies Chairmans report
Your News Accies Chairmans report


This season showed an inconsistancy in the performance of both the 1st. and 2nd. XVs, much of which was due to the unavailability of players to travel with the 1st.XV to the many remote venues that this league has taken us to, including Caithness, Inverness, Aberdeen, Berwick, and the Solway. There were also a significant number of fairly serious injuries, which sadly deprived the 1st.XV of the services of a good number of its experienced players for a major part of the season. Those included last years captain, Jamie Doig, this years vice captain Andy Jackson, winger Dougie Horn, no.8 Jack Walker, and 2008 captain Alan Wilson.

The loss of such experience was perhaps reflected in the number of narrow defeats which might have ended differently. However captain Stewart Smith, was a tower of strength throughout the entire season, leading by example, and encouraging the numerous young recruits drafted in from the 2nd.XV. who all showed remarkable commitment, and who turned in some encouraging performances, namely, Stewart Seaton, Andy Brown, Jamie Williamson, and Robert Beattie, son of fitness coach Duncan . Young Robert who is still at the Academy, and captain of the School XV, was called in for much of the latter half of the season at scrum half, and turned in some fine displays. He looks like being a real prospect.

We were pleased to gain the services of two new players who arrived at the beginning of the season, both of whom brought experience and real quality to the 1st.XV. Tom Cullen arrived from the south, and had been an England County u/19 hooker in his day, but having had a long term ankle injury, chose to play on the wing where he displayed real speed and penetration. It seems likely that Tom could be returning south, and we would all wish him well. Stephen ODonnell had played for a number of clubs in the West, and joined us from Hawks. He quickly proved to be a capable and effective scrum half of real experience who could read a game well. However, as the result of injuries to some of our backs, he was often asked to deputise in the centre.

The 1st.XV came 5th. in National Division 1, and the 2nd.XV, which was promoted last season in the West 2nd. XV Leagues, also finished in a very commendable 5th. place. Second XV team manager, Nigel Campbell again worked tirelessly to fill all the places in his team, brought about by the call from the 1st.XV for replacements ! Our thanks are due to Nigel for his sterling work.

Ross Chassells as 2nd.XV Captain, full of experience, and surprisingly still with considerable pace and outstanding lines of attack, led the side well, when not recalled for 1st.XV duty. Ross, as the result of his sorties to the 1st.XV, or his unavailability for the 2nds, either through business commitments or injury, in fact only led the team twice! However, Iain Williamson was a more than capable replacement leader, and has always been a good club man, who shows passion and commitment in his leadership The 2nds showed great spirit, and in Iain, Arnaud Favre, and Robert Fuller in particular, had players who displayed an outstanding commitment to the Team, and to the Club.

I would want to thank all those who played a part in supporting Accies rugby this season, including Alasdair Graham, and on occasions, Stevie Winters for their masterly match reports which I am aware mean so much to many supporters from far afield, and also to those unable to attend all our matches.

We were delighted when John Beattie came back to the club to lead the coaching, and in spite of him having to give more time than he had anticipated, to his Media work, his contribution has been very much appreciated. He was instrumental in bringing Ewan Smith to the club to be part of the the coaching team, and also offered much leadership and commitment to our social events, such as the Rowallan Golf Day organised by Gavin Smith, and the Two Lions Dinner organised by Alasdair Graham. We are hopeful that John will still be around to offer support to next seasons coaching set up.

Thanks are due to the many who have given so much time to help the Club, . to John, to Ewan, to Donald Reid, whose passion for Accies rugby is second to none, and to Duncan Beattie who is so committed to the fitness gym and to the players weights programme.

On the medical front, we are greatly indebted to Dr George McLaren who attended as duty Doctor at most of our home matches, and to Dominic Meek who stood in in his absence. To our Physios, Kirsty and Lauren, a big thank you, and to Oscar too, for the professional and pleasant way they all supported the players.

There are also those to acknowledge, who help at all home Matches. Iain Jarvie and his helpers on the Gate Team .. Wally Mitchell our touch judge, young Ian McNaught and his pals from the Mini rugby, who so willingly act as ball boys. They all contribute so much, which helps give a much more professional image at Anniesland. Our sincere thanks go to all of them.

SPONSORS We are greatly indebted to our major sponsors who are so generous to the club, and who enable us to continue to play rugby at Anniesland. Our sincere thanks go to them all.



We also thank all our individual sponsors, player sponsors and pitch advertising board advertisers who contribute so generously, and regularly, to support the funding of Accies rugby.

As the season ends, and with me demitting office after four years as Chairman, I would like to thank the others on committee who have supported both the club and myself so well and so willingly during that time. Alasdair Graham has shown huge commitment as secretary, and his vast experience of the SRU, of referees, and other Clubs officials has been invaluable. He has single handedly communicated with Academical friends of Accies rugby, who have so willingly and regularly, given much needed financial support necessary to run our club. Alasdair is retiring from his role, but not from rugby!! He has accepted the challenge of returning to Hawks as Chairman. It is a much deserved honour, and in thanking him for all he has done to promote Accies rugby we wish him well for the future. He is keen to continue his support of Accies rugby, by way of sponsorship and fundraising, and is keen to work with incoming Chairman, Gavin Smith, son of James Hamilton the Pie Smith, in seeking the much needed funds necessary to run the Section.

Donald Reid is moving from Rugby responsibilities, to take on much of Alasdairs secretarial role. Appreciation must be shown to Donald, who three years ago stepped in as head coach on the tragic and sudden loss of Gordon Mackay. His passion for things Academical is unquestionable.

Dickson Brown stands down as Treasurer at this time. Hugh Barrow continues his role of communications / web site convenor.

Mark Walker continues the role of convenor of our youth rugby. His huge efforts over the last few seasons look like they are bearing fruit. There is much excitement and optimism about the clubs youth rugby development programme, and with regard to our links with the Academy. Mark has also brought much needed commercial awareness to the club.

Iain Jarvie, as gate convenor, has brought about a refreshing enthusiasm at the turn-styles, ( and of course, the added bonus of the resultant extra coffers ! ) He has engaged numerous of his own rugby pals to help, who seem to have enjoyed the experience!

The rugby section is well represented by Brian Barclay ( who is also the Sports Club secretary), and by Iain, at all the Sports club meetings, and there is a real desire by all the sports sections to work together, to organise social events, and raise funds together, for the benefit of all.

Academical Club president, Lindsay Crawford, was instrumental in introducing a Sports Club Ball to the social calendar. It was held in the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel on Great Western Road in March, and was a great success.

I give my sincere thanks to all the afore-mentioned guys for their unfailing support in my time as Chairman. Their commitment, integrity, and most importantly, their sense of humour, has made my time in office a real pleasure.

We must, of course acknowledge the efforts put in at New Anniesland by catering manager, Ken Barron, and by Robert Cheape, the Head Groundsman, and their staff. Robert continues to present us with excellent pitches and facilities which are appreciated by all who visit the Club.

The support of Dr.Bill Kerr at the Academy, is invaluable to the Sports Club, and has been much appreciated. Without the financial input from the Academy, life at New Anniesland would be quite a struggle ! We are indeed fortunate to have the school behind us.

NEXT SEASON should bring about a regional league system, whereby Accies will likely be in West Division 1, along with East Kilbride, Irvine, Waysiders, Allan Glens, Stewartry, Annan, Newton Stewart, Marr, and GHK, in a 10-team league. There is great excitement at the prospect of less travel, and more local derbys. Most of the National clubs were keen to shorten the season, and to cut down on travel time and cost.We had many interesting, and sometimes heated debates at Murrayfield with our fellow National League clubs and the SRU, discussing the way forward for regionalisation. It would now appear that things are set fair for changes to the league structure.

I appreciated the support of Donald, Gavin and Mark at these meetings, and it would appear that common sense will prevail, and that the finalised proposal should be voted in at the SRUs AGM in June.

Ewan Smith as head coach has shown real ability, and with the prospect of him attracting a quality player to our front five for next season, who will also take on a forward coaching role, things are looking bright.

A new role of Player Contact has been created, and ex-player and soldier Sandy Fitzpatrick, who is to be stationed back to Glasgow for two years is taking it on. He is an excellent appointment, who, I am sure will have some exciting new disciplines in store!!

It has been a privilege for me to have been Chairman of the club for the last four years. It is a role I have thoroughly enjoyed, but could not have managed without the help and support of good friends and a strong committee. I thank everyone, including the players too, whose friendship I have enjoyed and appreciated greatly. It has been fun.

In five years time, in 2016 we will be celebrating 150 years of Glasgow Academical Club rugby. I am pleased to be convenor of a small group being set up to initiate plans and ideas for that landmark.

It is great that Gavin Smith has agreed to be the clubs next Chairman. He has lots to offer, and I wish him, and the committee, every success for the new season.

With all best wishes, .. GORDON WILSON. 13th.May, 2011.

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