ABERDEENSHIRE, who were formed in 1875, making them the oldest club in the Aberdeen area, are fighting their way back in the game, two years after voluntarily withdrawing from the national Leagues due to player shortage, and are now poised to win promotion from Caledonian League Division 3 North.
Should the Woodside based club win two of their last three games, they will record a remarkable double, having won the Caledonia Regional Bowl on Saturday 16th February, pipping army opponents Kinloss Eagles with a last gasp penalty in extra time to secure a 39-36 win at the military base in Kinloss.
A week later, head coach Barny Henderson, a former Banff and ‘Shire player who also turned out for the area’s top team Aberdeen Grammar, was tasked with preparing his side for a top of the table clash with nearest challengers Aberdeen University.
”It wasn’t difficult to get the guys up for the game, we had, in fact, 37 players available for selection, giving you an indication of how up the guys were for the game,” he said. “In the end, we eased through 41-22, and although we are 14 points clear at the top, we’ll not be claiming the title until it is mathematically impossible for us to be caught, but we are a happy camp. It has been a great week for us.”
For the irrepressible Henderson and backs coach Jeff Killman, the pain of having had to drop out of National League 2 has partially gone, but both recognise that the glory days – which included having had former Lions, Scotland and Heriot’s full-back Ken Scotland on their books, not to mention the legendary commentator Bill McLaren play for them when he was a student at the Northern College – are unlikely to return.
”These days are in the past, but for the future, I would like to see the club play a more prominent part in rugby in the area,” said Henderson.
Bob Richmond, the SRU representative for the area, who presented the Bowl to captain Frazer Forman last weekend, welcomed the mini resurgence of ‘Shire. “It’s good for the Caley game to have ‘Shire back as a force,” he said. “They have done well. I hope their renaissance continues.”
The next challenge for ‘Shire will be to make progress in the National Bowl competition. They are scheduled to meet Edinburgh Northern in Edinburgh in the semi-final on 30th March, with the winners due to meet either Glasgow University Medics or Dundee University Medics on Finals Day at Murrayfield on 27th April.
“These are huge games, but while we are taking about doubles, why not trebles,” concluded Henderson who is clearly enjoying the run the club is having.