26th Annual Festival of Youth Rugby
THIS COMING weekend marks the 26th annual Festival of Youth Rugby at Dalziel Park – promising an action-packed event for all the family.
For the ninth year running, the Festival is dedicated to the memory of the man who started it all in 1991, Alan Calder.
Alan had a vision of celebrating grass roots sport by organising a day of Rugby where Primary 1 to U-18 would be involved.
Today, The Dalziel Festival is one of the biggest and best of its kind in Scotland, drawing in clubs from across the nation and beyond.
As the event marks its 26th anniversary, teams from all over Lanarkshire, including Hamilton, Uddingston, Strathaven and East Kilbride, will also be competing for some of the silverware. Festival convener – and Alan Calder’s son – Graham Calder stressed the key event in the club’s calendar has set the gold standard.
“Over the years we’ve seen the playing fields and facilities here at Dalziel evolve to become among the very best in Scotland.
“It’s fitting the 26th festival action will be played on the brand new all weather parks, marking that progress.
“Where the landscape has changed, one thing that’s always remained a constant here is the spirit of rugby.
“The festival brings all hands to the pump, from hardened senior players selling raffle tickets to mums baking cakes and committee men flipping burgers.
“The teamwork and the sense of fun and camaraderie has been the very lifeblood of the event since 1991. We’re sure it will be the driving force for years to come.”
This year’s guest touring squads include Northern Ireland Civil Service Rugby Club introduced by former Dalziel stalwart and past Club Captain Brian Robertson.
With the Schools’ Festival kicking off at 10am on Friday and the main Festival on Saturday at 10am through to 6pm, there will be around 1000 boys and quite a few girls playing at all levels.
Alan Calder: A club legend
Dalziel RFC stalwart Alan Calder (1949 -2008) formed a strong vision which saw the first youth rugby festival held in 1991.
He wanted to introduce youngsters to the sport, allow them to enjoy the game and to include everyone, win or lose, irrespective of their ability.
In Alan’s words, which he often repeated, "Young players of today are the backbone of tomorrow's club rugby. ”
Over the years, Dalziel’s Festival has grown in size and popularity.
On the third Saturday of every April, hundreds of young players, from clubs across Scotland, flock to Dalziel’s grounds on the outskirts of Motherwell.
As well as sustaining the very lifeblood of Scottish rugby, the national event is a lasting tribute to Alan's commitment, leadership and organisational abilities.
Motherwell, United Kingdom