A HEALTHY crowd turned out to support the Great Ormond Street Hospital charity at The Haugh, Earlston, on Saturday.
Earlston RFC took on Harry’s Hurricanes, a team of weel-kent faces past and present from Borders rugby, including Fraser Harkness, Darren Gillespie, Kevin Amos, Kevin Reid, John Szkudro, Gareth “Hovis” Brown and Graham Hogg.
The team was captained by young Harry McCulloch, son of local rugby commentator Stuart, and the whole day was put together as a thank you from Harry’s family to the staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital who looked after him so well over a long period.
Harry is now eight years old. At the age of 16 months, he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) which resulted in the youngster having to endure numerous operations.
He has a left-sided weakness and is also registered as partially sighted. At two years old he was diagnosed with epilepsy and had to be treated at the London hospital, where more operations were needed.
The operations were a success.
The day itself was a dream come true for rugby-mad Harry, who kicked the game off and ended it by scoring the winning try for his team, who ran out comfortable winners by 58-19.
Fraser Harkness managed a hat-trick of tries, but who would have thought that the giant Wullie Blacklock would contribute three conversions. The sight of Garry Douglas diving over for a try, which would have made Tom Daley proud, was another highlight on the pitch.
But while the game was played in a friendly spirit there was some full-on rugby on view, and Stuart McCulloch, who pulled on a rugby jersey for the first time in 27 years, was on the receiving end of a couple of knocks.
However, in the end, he was thrilled with the response from everyone involved from players to spectators and sponsors who contributed to the cause.
He told TheSouthern: “I can’t thank everyone enough. We’ve raised money for Harry’s Trust and the people and players have been phenomenal.
“As for me, well I won’t be able to walk for a few days. The power and sheer ferocity in the scrum was unbelievable and I am very sore.”
You can enjoy the day’s events at www.BordersRugby.net