Forrester RFC
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Forrester Rubies

Club Information: Biography and Aims

| Introduction | A Brief History of Forrester RFC | Senior Rugby at Forrester | Youth Rugby at Forrester | Progression Into Schools Rugby | Tours and Touring | Forrester RFC Membership | Current Attributes & Strengths | Administrative Systems | 1. General (Executive) Committee | 2. Rugby Committee | 3. Youth Committee | Facilities - Accomodation & Finance |
Introduction top of page

Forrester FP RFC (now Forrester RFC) provides playing and coaching opportunities to adults and youths in the West Edinburgh district. In addition to running three senior teams, the Club offers rugby at all age-groups from U -18 down to P4 levels. We are also active in promoting schools rugby in the area, in both senior and primary schools. We are a forward looking Club who have been the driving force behind many initiatives both within and outwith the Club environment. We take great pride in our achievements and harbour boundless enthusiasm for future exploits.

A Brief History of Forrester RFC top of page

Forrester Former Pupils Rugby Football Club and Sports Association was founded in 1964, by a number of ex-pupils of Forrester High School and members of the local community.

There followed 10 years of team and spirit building, normally in the confines of the Dorlin Hotel, St. John's Road, Edinburgh. The Club participated in the Edinburgh and District League and found success in a number of seven-a-side tournaments including the now defunct Edinburgh and District trophy, in 1976.

In 1975, it was proposed to build a Clubhouse in the grounds of Forrester High School by utilising the expertise and craftsmanship prevalent within the membership, plus a great deal of labouring effort. The Clubhouse was opened in September1977 by a game against a President's XV.

In 1987 the existing structure was extended to include changing rooms and showers in addition to other facilities, not least of which was the addition of a small bar.

Having been pipped at the post for three successive years, the Club finally won the Edinburgh District League in 1986 gaining promotion to Division 6 of the National League in 1990. After reorganisation we found ourselves in the BT Division 5 (East) Regional League at the start of season 1999/2000. We finished runners up to Irvine that year but, finally, won promotion to BT Division 4 by beating Hawick YM 13 - 12 in the final game of season 2000/2001.

The Committee were instrumental in setting up the River Series Cup (later the Alloa Series Trophy) in association with Boroughmuir RFC, which for ten years provided Cup competition in Scotland, and provided the springboard for the SRU Tennents cup competition and ultimately the BT Cellnet Cup. It was perhaps fitting that in the last year of this competition, the Castlemaine XXXX cup was won by Forrester in the gala event.

The Club now stands at a cross-roads, with a massive Youth development programme and ambitious plans for the development of facilities to nurture the talent and enhance the playing standards throughout the area. Although never a "closed" Club, "Former pupils" was dropped from the Club title at the end of season 2000/2001.

Senior Rugby at Forrester top of page

Currently, Forrester RFC has a player base of around 60-70 Club members. A number of the team members have come through our youth system with others attracted to the Club through word of mouth and friendship. We have employed various coaches over the seasons - our first "professional" members - who were attracted to the Club through previous contact and friendly persuasion allied to the standard of facilities and supporting activities currently available within the Clubhouse environment.

Training takes place between 6.30 and 8.30 on Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Clubhouse.

Success has come hard in competition over the years, with many a season revealing Forrester as the Bridesmaid and rarely the Bride.

A number of talented individuals have come through the Forrester ranks:

  • Norrie Rowan - Represented Scotland whilst playing for Boroughmuir RFC.
  • Rob Cunningham - Captained Scotland A whilst playing for Bath and Boroughmuir RFC.
  • Douglas Johnston - Edinburgh District Union
  • Scott Elliot - Played for Scotland U-19, and was the first capped player out of the Forrester Youth System, having played for Heriot's FP, Scott went on to play for Edinburgh District Union and Edinburgh U-21's.
  • Renwick Patterson - Scotland U-19.
  • James Bertram - Scotland U-18 & Edinburgh U-21 and the Edinburgh District Union.
  • John Morrison - Scotland U-18 & Edinburgh U-21. Boroughmuir RFC, Currie RFC and Selkirk RFC.
  • Garry McLoughlin - Edinburgh District Union.
  • Sandy Cleland - Edinburgh District Union.
  • Ian Sutherland - Scottish Post Office.
  • Steve Apter - Scottish Post Office.
  • Alan Bald - Scottish Fire Brigade.
  • Colin Macrae - Scottish Telecoms, Edinburgh District Union and the EDU seven-a-side team.
  • Billy Whitelaw - Scottish Telecoms.
  • Bruce Cockburn - Scottish Telecoms.
  • David Roseburgh - Edinburgh U-16.
  • John Barr - Edinburgh at U-16 & U-18 and Lothian Schools at U-16 & U-18.
  • Kenny Taylor - Scotland U16.

Forrester subscribe to the Edinburgh Referee's Society by contributing three accomplished members:

  • Mr Mike Milne (retired)
  • Mr Kenny Harrower
  • Mr Donald Chrichton

We also encourage our most competent players to assist in the refereeing and supervision of games at all age group levels in the youth, Mini and Midi sections.

Youth Rugby at Forrester top of page

Having completed their days as players, two shop owners and leading members of the Club established a Youth section to provide competitive rugby and coaching to under age players from schools in the local area. This was soon expanded in a number of age-group levels with coaches at the various levels.

With varying degrees of success, including a number of representative honours and three Scottish age group caps, the Forrester Ten Year Plan was created to nurture and develop rugby in the area with progression through the age groups into senior rugby.

The Scheme includes the introduction of rugby to boys and girls at P4, P5, P6 & P7 levels, leading on to S1, S2, U-16 & U-18 levels.

Each team has a dedicated coach with a cyclic progression through the age brackets, such that a coach remains with his charges for the ten year span.

All coaches hold at least NCC Level I with most holding Level II. In addition, all Club members who come into contact with any of the youth players have been vetted by Lothian and Borders Police.

Note that the U-18 coaching was provided jointly between Forrester and Livingston RFC, up to season 2002/2003 - Both clubs running their own Colts from season 2003/2004. In addition, Sean Cameron (AC Level 2) provides a "floating" service, assisting each section as required.

The Youth section, including the Mini & Midi sections, has a full compliment of fixtures each week with matches against other Clubs and a number of tournaments. Such is our success in this area that many of the "traditional" heartland's of age group rugby see Forrester as a competitive force and relish the opportunity for competition.

Following discussions with Livingston RFC a "Joint7" U18 team was devised, now universally known as The Calder's. They compete at U18 level and at U19 when required, such as against opposition from other countries (England, Argentina, etc.)

It is a testament to the success of this innovative scheme that the majority of the Under-18 side that won the East League Championship in 1996/97 were products of this careful and structured progression, in both Forrester and Livingston Rugby Clubs.

Progression Into Schools Rugby top of page

After a number of attempts, the Club has been successful in re-introducing rugby to the schools, in a campaign started two years ago. The Forrester HS team has now merged with that from Craigmount HS.

To support this initiative, Forrester provide playing strips, Flags, post protection pads and balls, to the school for training and matches. with many of the Club coaches, players and officials providing advice and assistance, including referees throughout the schools season.

Following on from this success, the Club has introduced rugby to many other schools in the area including a drive to provide competitive rugby at primary school level in the area. Currently, our youth development coaches provide sessions in the following schools:

  • Carrick Knowe Primary School
  • Clovenstone Primary School
  • Drumbryden Primary School
  • Gylemuir Primary School
  • Hailesland Primary School
  • Murrayburn Primary School
  • Sighthill Primary School
  • Westburn Primary School
  • St Margarets Primary, South Queensferry
  • Queensferry Primary

The development of secondary school rugby throughout the West Edinburgh area has been extended to South Queensferry, with the regular sessions at the High School and plans to transport players to the Club for coaching and matches in the following seasons.

The Club is therefore supporting the development of Schools Rugby at the following age levels:

  • Primary Schools - P4, P5, P6 & P7
  • Secondary Schools - S1, S2/S3 and U-16/Senior

Mr. Bill Smith, a long time servant of the Club and the architect behind the Forrester ten-year Plan for youth development has been appointed Schools Liaison Officer giving up all of his free time and some time from his business to visit schools and establish coaching sessions. More recently, a number of the youth section coaches have also volunteered their services.

The time and commitment from our youth development team is unquestioned. However the Club soon realised that a situation of more permanence was required. In 1999 Bill Smith was appointed to the post of Youth Development Officer

Tours and Touring top of page

Over the past few years many Clubs have asked to be accommodated with tour fixtures and socialising all of which put the game of Rugby in Scotland and the traditional Scottish hospitality to the fore. Such touring sides include:

  • S-Hertogenbosch & The Bassets (Holland)
  • le Garde de la Touff (French)
  • Curupayti & Buenos Aries U-19 (Argentina)
  • Aalborg (Denmark)
  • Various other Club and association teams on Easter tour.

In addition, the facilities at Forrester have been utilised by many touring sides in preparation for games on tour. These include:

  • The Argentina Pumas Squad
  • The 1992 French World Cup Seven-a-Side Squad
  • The 1992 Taiwan World Cup Seven-a-side Squad

The Clubhouse has also been used by visiting Hockey, Basketball, Volleyball teams etc. utilising facilities in the adjacent Schools.

Forrester RFC Membership top of page

The Club has a registered adult membership of over 250 divided into the following categories:

  • Honorary Members
  • Full members, including Life Members
  • Associate Members, including Life Members
  • We have 100+ Youth Members
  • In addition we have 54 Hockey Members, as the Forrester Ladies Hockey Club (Formerly Telford Ladies Hockey Club).
Current Attributes & Strengths top of page

The spirit of Forrester RFC is founded on a strong base of players and officials who give up their time and efforts to support the development of the Club on both the rugby and corporate fields. In our relatively short life, the Club has managed to develop a strong process of inward financial investment through the patronage and attraction of sponsorship and similar financial support. The facilities have been provided by the support of the membership in financing schemes to develop the Club and to enhance the reputation of the Club.

It is a testament to the strength of the Club that the financing of the extension programme of 1989 required finding in excess of £100,000 (estimated at almost twice the annual turn-over of the business side of the Club.) Although seen as a huge financial burden by many outsiders, the membership gave their fullest backing with extensive volunteers to provide financial bonds to guarantee the loan agreements. With these loans nearing completion, the membership should have no hesitation in providing support for any future plans.

Our current strengths and attributes include:

  • A Massive Youth Development programme covering the whole of the West Edinburgh area.
  • Dedicated personnel to coach and promote rugby through this area.
  • Skilled and resourceful administration of these activities.
  • Un-paralleled accommodation and facilities.
  • Competitiveness at all levels, with extraordinary success in the Youth, Mini and Midi sections.
Administrative Systems top of page

The administration and management of the Club is founded on the strong rugby orientated membership with a three tier management structure as follows:

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1. General (Executive) Committee

This committee is chiefly concerned with controlling the financial and corporate affairs of the Club, maintenance of the Clubhouse and facilities, and providing direction and support for all other activities throughout the Club. The current members, who are all voluntary, bring to the committee a variety of occupational and personal attributes and experiences which provide a strong actioning body with the ability to tackle matters on merit and to provide solutions were applicable.

The structure of the General (Executive) Committee is as follows:

  • Club President (Chair)
  • Vice President
  • Honourary Treasurer
  • Honourary Secretary
  • Match/Fixture Secretary
  • Membership Secretary
  • Assistant Treasurer

Committee meetings take place on a monthly basis, during which the matters concerning all aspects of the Club are discussed, concentrating on those issues which influence the financial state of the Club and the general upkeep and facilities of the Clubhouse. In addition, the Committee will receive reports from the Bar Convenor and Rugby & Youth Committees via appointed representatives.

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2. Rugby Committee

This committee was established during season 1992/93 in recognition of the necessity of having a committee dedicated to the requirements of the rugby affairs of the Club. The Rugby Committee is chaired by the Vice President providing a direct link to the General (Executive) Committee. The Rugby Secretary and Rugby Treasurer maintain records and accounts in conjunction with the Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer, thereby maintaining the links with the executive committee and overall control of finances and business strategy.

The structure of the Rugby Committee is as follows:

  • Vice President (Chair)
  • Club Captain
  • Vice Captain
  • Chief Club Coach
  • Assistant Club Coach
  • Youth Convenor
  • Rugby Secretary
  • Sponsorship and Hospitality Convenor

The Rugby Committee aims to be self financing, by fund-raising and attracting sponsorship to support the cost of running the Rugby side of the Club. The committee submit a budget for each year, which the General (Executive) Committee will sanction and support both financially and functionally as required.

In past years this committee has been responsible for a number of improvements and acquisitions to equipment and apparatus for training and playing.

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3. Youth Committee

The Youth Committee comprises a number of the Youth Coaches under the chairmanship of the Youth Convenor, who meet on a monthly basis to discuss matters concerning the development and direction of youth Rugby within and associated to Forrester RFC. Whilst reporting to the General (Executive) committee, the youth committee raise funds through several sources and manage their own accounts and finances.

The structure of the Youth Committee is as follows:

  • Youth Convenor (Chair)
  • Youth Secretary
  • Youth Treasurer
  • Midi Organiser
  • Mini Organiser

The Role of each committee is well defined with agreed objectives and operational responsibilities to best harness the attributes of the members which form each committee. The structure of each committee allows a degree of autonomous operation with local financial and operational control whilst maintaining reporting and responsibility between the other committees. The division of responsibilities has promoted an increased effort on activities through relevance and appropriateness to each committee's sphere of influence.

Facilities - Accomodation & Finance top of page

The Club promotes the game of Rugby in the West Edinburgh area. This ideal has been promulgated throughout the membership and is the foundation on which the Club has been built. Such was the support that in the summer of 1976, it was the members themselves that assembled to dig the foundations of the Clubhouse in the grounds of Forrester High School. The structure, fixtures and fittings were all provided by the membership, either in providing their expertise, manpower or financial support. In 1989, the Clubhouse was extended at significant cost, to provide Changing rooms and Showers which are the envy of many Clubs who visit. Again this project was fully supported by the membership with each member signing a pledge to underwrite the liability of the loans secured.

With this ten-year financial programme all but completed, the committee are currently investigating the next project, with the full backing of the membership, making us one of the few Clubs which has developed purely through inwards investment by the membership. The membership have continued to support the financing of rugby within the Club through a number of fund raising activities. Our most recent project is the provision of permanent floodlighting for our dedicated training area.

Over the period of occupancy of the Clubhouse, a number of development plans have been executed to maintain and improve the environment and ambience. The addition of a second (members) bar as part of the extension programme of 1989, has helped secure a full calendar of events and private functions in the main hall throughout the year. Such is the magnitude of these business activities that since 1996 we have employed a full time Clubhouse Manager.

The clear intention is to provide better facilities for the players by improving the environment and attracting patronage to help finance the development of the Club. Our aim is to promote the Rugby Club as an amicable environment for families and friends to meet and enjoy the convivial surroundings.

Such is the reputation of the Club that our facilities have been utilised for a number of events, from holding Edinburgh District training sessions to accommodating dinners for other Clubs and societies and charities such as the Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Association.