|SILVER ANNIVERSARY OF SHOWCASE RUGBY FESTIVAL SETS THE GOLD STANDARD
Posted 19/4/15 @ 10:38 by Euan D (Posts: 74)
THIS coming weekend marks the 25th annual Festival of Youth Rugby at Dalziel Park â€“ promising an action-packed event for all the family.
For the eighth year running, the Festival is dedicated to the memory of the man who started it all in 1991, Alan Calder.
Alan had a vision of celebrating grass roots sport by organising a day of Rugby where Primary 1 to U-18 would be involved.
Today, The Dalziel Festival is one of the biggest and best of its kind in Scotland, drawing in clubs from across the nation and beyond.
As the event marks its 25th anniversary, teams from across Lanarkshire, including Hamilton, Uddingston, Strathaven and East Kilbride, will also be competing for some of the silverware. Festival convener â€“ and Alan Calderâ€™s son â€“ Graham Calder said the key event in the clubâ€™s calendar has set the gold standard.
â€œOver the years weâ€™ve seen the playing fields and facilities here at Dalziel evolve to become among the very best in Scotland.
â€œItâ€™s fitting the 25th festival action will be played on the brand new all weather parks, marking that progress.
â€œWhere the landscape has changed, one thing thatâ€™s always remained a constant here is the spirit of rugby.
â€œThe festival brings all hands to the pump, from hardened senior players selling raffle tickets to mums baking cakes and committee men flipping burgers.
â€œThe teamwork and the sense of fun and camaraderie has been the very lifeblood of the event since 1991. Weâ€™re sure it will be the driving force for the next 25 years.â€
This year, guest touring squads - Chester and Northern Ireland Civil Service Rugby Club - will be appearing, the latter introduced by former Dalziel stalwart and past Club Captain Brian Robertson.
With the Schoolsâ€™ Festival kicking off at 10am on Friday and the main Festival on Saturday at 10am through to 6pm, there will be around 1000 boys and quite a few girls playing at all levels.
Dalziel RFC stalwart Alan Calder (1949 -2008) formed a strong vision which saw the first youth rugby festival held in 1991.
He wanted to introduce youngsters to the sport, allow them to enjoy the game and to include everyone, win or lose, irrespective of their ability.
In Alanâ€™s words, which he often repeated, "Young players of today are the backbone of tomorrow's club rugby. â€
Over the years, Dalzielâ€™s Festival has grown in size and popularity.
On the third Saturday of every April, hundreds of young players, from clubs across Scotland, flock to Dalzielâ€™s grounds on the outskirts of Motherwell.
As well as sustaining the very lifeblood of Scottish rugby, the national event is a lasting tribute to Alan's commitment, leadership and organisational abilities.
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