The saying that you don’t get the real measure of an individual or group until they are facing challenge rings very true. Tomorrow would’ve been the 30th Dalziel Rugby Club Festival of Youth Rugby. And if ever there was a measure that shows to the world what Dalziel Rugby Club is made of, it’s been this event.

From a handful of local teams, a tea tent and a half-drum BBQ back in 1991, our Festival has morphed into one of the UK’s premier youth sporting occasions, attracting teams from across the four nations and beyond.
Every year, the Youth Festival is months in the planning – and brings the whole club together. There’s ALWAYS challenges and bumps along the way. But we’ve ALWAYS kept the show on the road.

This year is, of course, different. We face not only challenge – but adversity.  The daily statistics of people we are tragically losing to COVID-19, and all the implications the pandemic has brought, undoubtedly puts the cancellation of any sporting event into perspective. It also, however, puts the community spirit that characterises our family club into sharp focus. 

In the last few weeks Dalziel Rugby Club have, and continue to:

• Offer to collect and deliver medicine and shopping for the local people in need
• Share mental health information – this is part of our on-going commitment to removing the stigma surrounding mental health
• Encourage members to look out for their friends and team mates who may be finding the current situation more difficult than others
• Post rugby skills and challenges online to keep our members engaged and involved
• Ask younger members to design and share their own Dalziel kit
• Using online challenges to encourage teams to keep up fitness levels. This week the U13 team have been challenged to walk, run or cycle 250km as a virtual team effort. Senior players are also aiming to smash 1200km, whilst carefully observing all guidance to keep people safe.

These efforts are being carried out with the very same mentality that's put the Youth Festival on the international sporting map. And it comes from a shared reference point we all know and love. Rugby is much more than a game. It’s a blueprint for life, especially in challenging times and adversity. When we’re up against it, we keep at it, we keep going forward. We dig in and we dig deep in the knowledge our team mates are right at our side, as we are on their’s.

That’s what the Dalziel Rugby family is all about – and that’s what the Festival has represented both on and off the park.

I’m sure it’s a sentiment that the late, great Alan Calder, who instigated the Festival, would echo.
The 30th Festival may be postponed, but the passion that’s driven us to this milestone burns stronger than ever – and will continue to do so when we can get our brilliant show back on the road.

Stay safe. And keep moving forward.
1-2-3 DALZIEL.

Euan Duguid
Programme Editor
Dalziel Festival of Youth Rugby