Pride and prestige as Jed-Forest honours its ‘Three 9s’

Men of the moment ... from left, Greig Laidlaw, Roy Laidlaw and Gary Armstrong holding the Calcutta Cup, which was on display during the celebratory dinner at Riverside Park (picture by Bill McBurnie)
Men of the moment ... from left, Greig Laidlaw, Roy Laidlaw and Gary Armstrong holding the Calcutta Cup, which was on display during the celebratory dinner at Riverside Park (picture by Bill McBurnie)

Jed-Forest RFC’s bid to celebrate one of the richest chapters in its heritage surpassed all expectations last Friday.

Roy Laidlaw, Gary Armstrong and Greig Laidlaw – Roy’s nephew – arrived to a rapturous reception with the Calcutta Cup, which was on display for the evening, and which each of them had also won as a player.

All three have captained Scotland, with Armstrong leading the nation to Five Nations success in 1999, Roy Laidlaw being part of the 1984 Grand Slam winning squad, and Greig Laidlaw the current choice for the armband.

Armstrong also immediately succeeded Roy Laidlaw as Scotland scrum half after the latter had retired.

The event was staged in a large marquee on the Riverside turf, with sports presenter Dougie Donnelly as compere.

There was operatic entertainment from ‘singing waiters’ and a silent on-line auction, conducted and enriched by noted after-dinner speaker Willie Allan.

Guest speaker was Ian Robertson, the former player, correspondent and BBC rugby commentator, while Dougie Donnelly also led a question and answer session involving the three principal guests.

Another notable feature was the appearance of the ‘Three 10s’, to illustrate the close relationship in the game between the scrum half and the stand-off.

Each of the big names associated with the number 10 jersey who turned up had a strong connection with the ‘main men’.

Jonny Wilkinson, who dropped England’s winning goal in the 2003 World Cup Final, played as a youngster alongside Gary Armstrong at Newcastle Falcons.

Legendary Selkirk fly-half John Rutherford played a record 35 times alongside Roy Laidlaw for Scotland.

And current squad member Greig Laidlaw is partnered by Finn Russell – described as “world class” by teammate Darcy Graham at an event earlier this summer.

Many other great personalities from the world of Scottish international rugby were present, including Stuart Hogg, Doddie Weir, John Jeffrey and current head coach Gregor Townsend.

Jed-Forest president Paul Cranston paid tribute to the generosity of the event sponsors, and the efforts of those who gained their support, which enabled the club to host the event in such impressive surroundings.

The upbeat mood at Riverside was carried forward into the next day, as Jed won the opening Kings of the Sevens round for this season, at Peebles.

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