The last Saturday in April marked the 29th annual Dalziel Festival of Youth Rugby – and a poignant moment with the debut appearance of a young star of the future.
Alan Calder – a primary one pupil of Ladywell primary school Motherwell – pulled on the Dalziel jersey for the first time in the showcase tournament his late grandfather, also Alan, instigated.
Tragically, Alan passed away at the age of 58 on Monday, January 14, 2008.
Since then the festival – which now attracts teams from all over the UK – has been dedicated to his memory.
Graham Calder, young Alan’s dad, Dalziel first team head coach and tournament convenor, said the family occasion was one his late father would have been proud of.
He axplained: “My dad was committed to youth development and believed strongly in the transformational qualities of rugby and the benefit that can be gained by all those who play.
“A sense of camaraderie is there from P1 to the first team at Dalziel and it was a special moment to see my son participate in the action after starting out at the beginning of the season.
“Teamwork and community has been the very lifeblood of the event since 1991.
“I’d like to express my sincere thanks to all who helped both over the weekend and, indeed, over the past 29 years.
“I’d also like to congratulate my son and all his team-mates for a fantastic effort!”
Some 40 clubs, including touring sides from Northern Ireland, participated.
Teams from Primary 1 to under-18s competed for the honours at their respective levels and the prestigious Alan Calder Trophy (for under-18s) was won by Boroughmuir.
The festival followed a difficult season for Dalziel Rugby Club’s 1st XV in Tennent’s West Division 1.
The club battled throughout a difficult campaign, ending their season with a gutsy 26-21 home win over Strathendrick which lifted them up to second bottom place.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to save Dalziel who were relegated.