24th annual Dalziel festival provides a feast of rugby

Action from Dalziel vs Cartha
Action from Dalziel vs Cartha

The 24th annual Dalziel Festival of Youth Rugby attracted teams from all over Scotland and beyond.

Around 40 clubs, including a touring side, Northern Ireland Civil Service, participated in the showcase tournament which is dedicated to the memory of club stalwart Alan Calder.

Among the 1,000 spectators at Dalziel Park was former Dalziel player, now Aviva Premiership star, Gary Strain.

The Newcastle Falcons prop, who won a number of Scotland under-20 caps in 2008, learned his trade at Dalziel.

Strain said he was deeply impressed by a festival that grows from strength to strength and the continued hard work that goes into cultivating grass roots talent at the club.

Meanwhile, teams from primary 1/2 to under-18 competed for the honours at their respective levels, with the prestigious Alan Calder Trophy for the eldest age group won by Dumfries.

Other highlights included a fiercely contested P7 group, with hosts Dalziel, fresh from a tour of Wales, coming close runners-up to Uddingston.

Event organiser Graham Calder said: “This successful day was only made possible by the huge efforts and hard work of a vast number of people.

“The festival is the product of months of hard work, planning and preparation and I’d like to express my sincere thanks to the army of volunteers who helped.

“Grass roots development and the value we place on our youth system is the very foundation stone of our great club, and this event epitomises that.”

Calder also thanked the main event sponsors, Fraser Moonie of Bibby Offshore, Stuart Mitchell of Oak Green, Kevin Moore of Business Therapies and the ex-pat Duguid brothers.

He added: “We’re also grateful to ClubSportNL, Europa, Asco and a variety of local firms who continue to show their vital support.”

The winners of each category were — P1/2: Hamilton, P3: Strathaven, P4: Northern Ireland Civil Service, P5: Uddingston, P6: Northern Ireland Civil Service Sharks, P7:Uddingston, S1: Strathaven, S2: Ayr, U15: Ayr, U16: Dalziel, U18: Dumfries.

Meanwhile, the Schools’ Festival for S1 and S2 took place on Friday.

The Harry Morton Trophy for experienced schools was won by Duncanrig Secondary, with the Jim Paterson Trophy and the Richard McLatchie Trophy for developing schools lifted by Cathkin High and Our Lady’s High (Cumbernauld) respectively.

Rugby development officer and tournament organiser Darren Moon said: “Once again, all the teams who participated provided a feast of entertaining rugby, with many big tackles and tremendous tries. Well done to all.”