Dalziel festival celebrates 25th anniversary

Action from last year's festival
Action from last year's festival

This weekend marks the 25th annual Festival of Youth Rugby at Dalziel Park, 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 all over the county, including Hamilton, Uddingston, Strathaven and East Kilbride, will also be competing for some of the silverware.

Festival convener, and Alan’s son, Graham Calder stressed the key event in the club’s calendar has set the gold standard.

He said: “Over the years we’ve seen the playing fields and facilities here at Dalziel evolve to become among the very best in Scotland.

“It’s fitting the 25th festival action will be played on the brand new all weather parks, marking that progress.

“Where the landscape has changed, one thing that’s always remained a constant here is the spirit of rugby.

“The festival brings all hands to the pump, from hardened senior players selling raffle tickets to mums baking cakes and committee men flipping burgers.

“The teamwork and the sense of fun and camaraderie has been the very lifeblood of the event since 1991. We’re sure it will be the driving force for the next 25 years.

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. 

The schools’ festival kicks off at 10am tomorrow (Friday) and the main festival takes place on Saturday from 10am-6pm, with around 1,000 boys and quite a few girls playing at all levels.