Border rugby refs celebrate 50 years

BRRS top table (from left): Austin Ramage, Colin Henderson, Peter Wright, John Hten Khin and David Ferguson
BRRS top table (from left): Austin Ramage, Colin Henderson, Peter Wright, John Hten Khin and David Ferguson
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THE Border Rugby Referee Society’s 50th annual dinner, which was attended by more than 100 match officials and guests, took place on Saturday night at Selkirk RFC’s Philiphaugh Suite.

Toasting the society was former Scotland and British Lions prop, and now Peebles RFC coach, Peter Wright, sharing his early experiences with Border referees and stories of his years in the game’s top flight. He recounted anecdotes of experiences with the Lions in New Zealand and Scotland at Twickenham.

Colin Henderson, vice-president of the society and a member for more than 30 years, replied on its behalf, regaling the audience with tales of officiating and officials in the Borders.

Music and song were provided by Henry Douglas and Drew Gibb, recalling Scotland’s Calcutta Cup, Championship, Grand Slam and Triple Crown of 1990, and joined by the audience. Henry and Drew also evoked memories of Gala’s late win at Hawick, refereed by Alan Hosie many years ago, in a society favourite.

The toast to the game of rugby was proposed by David Ferguson, chief rugby writer at The Scotsman newspaper, who provided an honest appreciation of the game. He talked about the need to develop and nurture younger players so that they take rugby into their older life to ensure a prosperous game for the future. The reply to David’s toast was given by renowned after-dinner speaker John Htet Khin, whose richly-entertaining speech provided a unique view and appreciation of Border language and culture. John’s humorous address was met with a standing ovation.

The dinner was chaired by the society’s president, Austin Ramage, who also provided the vote of thanks.