THE aunt of a Scotland rugby star will today have her day in the sun if she makes an appearance for Melrose on RBS Women’s Finals day.
Di Jackson, whose nephew Ruaridh turns out for Glasgow Warriors and the national team at stand-off, is in the Borderers’ squad for the Plate final which takes place on the back pitches at Murrayfield at 1pm against Stirling County.
And as she prepared for the match this week, she will not have been short of advice from him and other family members who have played the sport. She said: “All my brothers have played for Melrose over the years and apart from Ruaridh, all the boys in the family have played for the club at some level.
“Ruaridh is my eldest brother’s son and he always appeared to be a natural ‘footballer’. On one occasion in Aberdeen, when he was not much older than ten, he did his best to teach me how to drop kick.
“It has been very enjoyable for us all to be able to follow Ruaridh’s career and we all try and go to the international matches when we can.”
Jackson has played for Melrose since the women’s section was set up in July 1994 – indeed, she was at the first ever training session.
“I think I was inspired by the Women’s World Cup which was held in Scotland that year. I went along to a couple of games that were hosted by Melrose and Gala.
“I was really impressed by the USA team who were fit, fast and skilful and some of the team were in their 30s and even 40s so it gave me hope that it wasn’t necessarily too late to give it a try. So when I saw the advert for the training session at Melrose I thought I should go along.
“I would have loved to have played at a younger age but the opportunities just weren’t there. I am glad though to have had the chance at all, it is a great game to play and unlike most other sports has something to offer for people of all shapes and sizes,” she said.
After she tore her Achilles tendon playing softball and tore a calf muscle playing basketball, Jackson’s role these days at Melrose has been restricted to that of utility sub.
However, if she gets off the bench today she will be giving her all to help take silverware back to the Greenyards.
Melrose go into the match as slight favourites given that they are in a higher division than Stirling County, but it promises to be a cracking contest.
The day begins at 11am when Morgan take on Glasgow University in the Bowl final, also on the back pitches.
And things then build up to the Sarah Beaney Cup final on the main stadium pitch at 3pm between a Hillhead/Jordanhill side looking to clinch the double and RHC Cougars, who are determined not to end up as runners-up as they did in 2011/12.