Ardrossan Academicals Rugby Football Club

The 'Accies' rugby club was founded in session 1921-22 and therefore celebrated their 50th anniversary in session 1971-72. The article below was written for the 1971-72 School Magazine by Bob McSherry.


Celebrating their fifty years' anniversary, the 'Accies' have been fortunate in having had one of their best seasons ever, with all four fifteens creating club records.
Firstly known as Ardrossan Academicals Sports Club, and at that time envisaged as also competing in other sports (Football, Athletics, Cricket etc.), it had no connection with the school. The Academy Former Pupils Club was founded years later.
Enthusiasm was the key word in the early days when Jack Kinnear from Watson's College introduced the odd shaped ball to his friends at the North Shore. The summer months were passed learning the unfamiliar football code in contrast to their soccer knowledge (soccer is 'fitba' -- rugby is football to the uninitiated).
A site was offered by the local farmer at Montfode which now houses the Little Chef restaurant and posts were acquired by one member possessing a fine saw. The field was cleared and marking lines were made by a plough and initially, changing facilities were behind the dry stane dyke. For washing up you had the expanse of the Firth of Clyde.
The playing standard steadily improved, the 'fitba' convertees mastered the pack foot-rush and in only their second season, had the rare distinction of playing out the season undefeated, and winning the Western District Championships.
Two seasons later the club gained its first honour when Jack Lambert (the actor), played in the Inter-City match in company with sixteen internationalists.



Playing fields remained a recurrent problem from season to season, and it was not uncommon to play all matches away from home during a season. This problem was also shared by the school for all their sporting events, but then The Academy began to play rugby under the guidance of the late James Murray.
Following the 1939-45 National Emergency when the club did not play owing to players serving in the war and on resumption of fixtures, the playing field problem was unsolved and the County Council had made no move towards solving it. If it had not been for the enthusiasm and determination of a number of members of that era who found the ten acres of ground which was part of the former Ardrossan and Saltcoats Golf Course and now housed an obsolete Army Camp was for sale, the Ardrossan Academy War Memorial Playing Fields might never have existed. The Playing Field Association ensured that the school and its former pupils would be provided with playing fields in future years when they purchased that land.
The post-war years could be described as the most progressive, the playing strength increased until four and occasionally five fifteens could be fielded regularly. A Pavilion Fund was started and phases one and two were completed. Now a further extension will be completed before the beginning of next season.
More recently, club honours have included the winning of the Western District Championship in 1949-50 and winning the Ayrshire Cup on five occasions.

Many fine players have been produced and the club successes have been due mainly to the high calibre of the officials who through the years have served with the club. The International field has been sparse and despite producing excellent players, due to the rugby selection set up in the country, recognition is gained mainly through a more senior club. Alistair McHarg who came to the "Accies" as stand-off, and was soon transferred to the forwards, has been an outstanding success for Scotland. At present he is captain of the London-Scottish Club. The "Accies" present captain, lan Murchie, played for Scotland in their tour of South America but injury undoubtedly lost this fine player a number of caps.

In this our 50th Anniversary Year, all club records have been smashed. The 1st XV have scored over one thousand points and the other teams have created scoring records.
Individual players have come to the fore this year in the form of scrum-half Brian Gossman, who has scored over four hundred points, and also Jimmy Armstrong, with over fifty tries to his name.
Having won thirty four out of thirty seven matches this season, the first fifteen also reached the semi-final of the Glasgow K.O. Cup and the Ayrshire Cup.
A celebration dinner was held in March at which players from years gone by mingled together and told tales about the good old days with the younger players. The main guest speaker of the evening, Bill Duncan, the first post-war captain, ended his speech by saying "We must look forward to another successful fifty years" -something which we will all enjoy doing.