Tom Peterkin: Scots lacrosse cap who danced into history

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IT MIGHT not quite bear comparison with sport’s greatest “Fredalo” moments – the one involving cricketer Freddie Flintoff and a pedalo – but before the Second World War there was a rather jolly night out that probably brought a promising international hockey career to a premature end.

When Betty Thin was selected to play for the Scottish hockey team, she saw no reason to decline an invitation to the Edinburgh Academicals Ball on the eve of her first cap.

But, warming up for the big game with a late night, dancing energetic eightsome reels, was to backfire on Betty. It was her misfortune that one of the Scottish selectors spied her out gallivanting. She never played hockey again for Scotland.

But Miss Thin was no one-cap wonder. A true all-rounder, she spent her Saturdays playing hockey in Edinburgh in the morning, before getting the train through to Glasgow for a game of lacrosse in the afternoon.

She impressed the Scottish lacrosse selectors and went on to have a long international career in that most elegant and skilful of contact sports, which came to Scotland from North America via her alma mater of St Leonards School, Fife.

So, it was with some pride that two of her daughters attended her induction into the Lacrosse Scotland Hall of Fame at Peffermill the other day.

She was recognised along with 20 other formidable “pioneers” and “legends” of lacrosse.

Her daughters learned that she first played for Scotland in 1926 before a run of caps from 1928-35.

She captained the team in 1935 against Ireland and Wales and was one of five Scots to gain the ultimate accolade of the time – selection for the Combined Scotland/Ireland/Wales XII.

Her citation noted that “unusually for that era, she continued to play after she married and was known as Mrs Carnegie”.

As sporting indiscretions go, the Edinburgh Academicals Ball incident was small beer compared with the likes of Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff’s spectacular allegedly drunken escapade with a pedalo during an England cricket tour in the West Indies.

Nevertheless, it suggests that Betty Carnegie (neé Thin, 1906-1993, 23 Scotland caps at two different games) was quite a gal. She was also my granny.

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