GALA WANDERERS’ team of 1990 were remembered last month, 21 years on from the semi-junior club’s first Scottish Cup success.
The club’s sevens tournament saw a reunion of the squad which defeated Ayr 18-10 in the final at Murrayfield on April 18, just weeks after Scotland’s famous Grand Slam-sealing win over England.
The starting XV included Gregor Townsend, who would go on to play for Scotland and the British Lions, and a number who made the step-up to the full Gala team, such as Alan Johnston and Mark Ballantyne.
Recalling the cup win, reunion organiser Shane Hawkins said: “We were panicking before the game as Ayr had beaten Musselburgh in the semi-final, who had hammered us 34-12 in a friendly.
“They had a huge set of forwards and Derek Lee, who went on to play for Scotland, was in their team.
“But our forwards dominated the first 15 minutes and I knew then we would not lose the game.
“It was a big occasion for a lot of guys to play in the national stadium and some have never played rugby since.
“We went on to win our own sevens the next day, so it was a great weekend.”
Among those who attended the get-together at Netherdale was fullback Scott Semple, who travelled from his home in Ireland, and flanker Mike Brett who now lives in London.
Ray Pringle, who was part of the 1948 Wanderers team, also made it to Galashiels for the reunion, while coaches Johnny Gray and Hovis Brown attended.
Hawkins added: “We had a great camaraderie in the team and there would be 25 guys at training each week. It also helped having coaches like Johnny and Hovis.”
And, of course, having a talent like Townsend helped no end.
“You never knew what Gregor was going to do” , explained Hawkins.
He went on: “I played in the back row, and had no idea what he would do next, but he would usually be found crossing the tryline.”
Fellow reunion organiser and 1990 squad member Stuart Scott added: “I remember playing down at Langholm and we were losing with five minutes to go.
“But Toony produced a bit of magic and scored a try for us to win 9-6.
“Winning the Scottish Cup at Murrayfield is something you do not forget.”
The reunion also raised money for the Rowan Boland Memorial Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support, and there are plans to make it an annual event.