Rugby: Linlithgow make most of their 40th birthday bash

Linlithgow RFC has celebrated its 40th anniversary in style with numerous events, including a match which saw one former player taking to the pitch four decades to the day since he first turned out for them.

The West Lothian club has had a proud history since being founded on November 17, 1970 and there was plenty to celebrate.

In late November more than 160 people, many of them former players and officials, attended a dinner chaired by Linlithgow's own Scotland international player Iain Morrison who is now a journalist with Scotland on Sunday.

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Four former captains of Linlithgow told the story of the club with their recollections of a decade - Gerry Keating spoke on the 1970s, Ronnie Hastie on the 1980s, Bobbie Bennie on the 1990s and Jon Blundell on the last ten years. Another Scotland internationalist Ian Barnes, who had also spoken at the club's 25th anniversary dinner, rounded off the evening.

The next day Linlithgow Academy's first XV played against Marr College before Linlithgow's match against Ellon in National One. In the latter match the team - containing three young players who had been in the school first XV the previous season - won 20-17. The victory was followed by a president's reception when the rugby club choir performed.

Sunday, November 21 was 40 years to the day that Linlithgow played their first game against Currie who had been formed earlier that same year and to mark the occasion Mains Park featured a festival of Golden Oldies rugby.

The link to the first ever match was maintained with one of the players who had taken on Currie, Neil McTavish, involved.

Linlithgow president Gavin Brown said: "This was a special weekend for the club and the club executive is grateful to all those who helped to make it all happen.

"It was good to see so many club members come together to renew old friendships and chat about old times. Let us hope that Linlithgow RFC can continue to go on from strength-to-strength."

The club will be organising other events to mark the 40th anniversary milestone including plans for a weekend of rugby in the spring.