Ellon Rugby Club wins once in a lifetime training session with Scottish internationalist

Ellon Rugby Club had once in a lifetime opportunity to train with Scottish internationalist Hamish Watson at the BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 6:11 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 6:12 am
Team photo from the training day (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Team photo from the training day (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

The club visited the capital for a memorable day on the pitch with the rugby pro offering insider tips on training, gameplay and technique.

The competition was launched by Scottish Building Society, Edinburgh Rugby’s front of shirt sponsor, to provide unforgettable experiences to young community teams in the regions it serves around the country.

Clubs were asked to submit their reason why they should training session at the famous stadium and with over 130 entries – three lucky clubs selected for the trip to the national stadium.

Hamish Watson put the youngsters through their paces. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Ellon was selected due to their efforts during lockdown to keep everyone healthy and connected by running virtual training sessions and regular catch-up video calls to keep the players motivated during a difficult time.

The club has boys’ and girls’ teams aged from 5 to 19, meaning the organisation has become a real community asset for young people during the pandemic.

The Aberdeenshire team were surprised with a tour of Murrayfield before taking to the pitch to be led through their paces by the Scotland and Edinburgh Flanker, Hamish Watson.

Damien Hoyland, Edinburgh’s right-winger, led the boys in a space awareness drill while Ben Vellacott, Scotland International and Scrum Half for Edinburgh, led the boys in a game of Hawick Ball.

A number of elite players took part in the training session with the club (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

For the final training session Hamish Watson and Blair Kinghorn delivered contact and jackal drills.

The team were also given a goodie back of treats including balls and signed tops.

Speaking after the event Paul Denton, SBS CEO, said: “As a building society, community is vitally important to us and through our partnership with Edinburgh Rugby, we have been able to give groups like Ellon Rugby Club a once in a lifetime experience.

"The club has worked immensely hard during lockdown across Aberdeen and the North East in making sure everyone was able to keep active and importantly connected during the lockdown.

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the youngsters (Ross Parker - SNS Group / SRU)

“One of the things I am most proud of this partnership is being able to give people around Scotland some incredible experiences and give back to those individuals and organisations that did so much to help others over the last two years.

“Ellon Rugby Club is a great example of this, and I am glad they enjoyed the day out.”

Ellon Rugby coach Andrew Booth said: “We were so thrilled to be selected for this experience and the team could not have been more excited coming down on the bus.

“You don’t normally get access like this to elite players and to see the girls and boys being coached by one of the country’s top players is such an inspiration for them to stick with rugby and motivate them to keep enjoying the sport.

“Lockdown was difficult for many of the players not being able to see each other and get outside and play.

“We decided we wanted to keep up the community spirit though and ran online sessions to make sure everyone felt involved and could find some way to keep active.

“A lot of our players haven’t played a lot of rugby before so for them to get the chance to play at Murrayfield is very special.”

Hamish Watson said: “It was a great day out and there’s no doubt there’s some excellent potential making its way through the ranks of grassroots Scottish rugby.

It was great to see everyone enjoy the day and hopefully, this won’t be the last time we see some of them play at BT Murrayfield!”

Tartan Touch, a non-contact, family friendly version of rugby for all levels of ability for those aged 5 and over, is coming to Ellon.

It will be at Deer Park, Ellon every Monday starting May 9 from 7pm to 8pm.

Visit www.ellonrugby.org to find out more.