10 takeaways from Silver Saturday

A grand day for club rugby at Murrayfield but plenty of room for growth if the ambition is there

West of Scotland lifted the National Shield after defeating Cartha QP during Silver Saturday. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
West of Scotland lifted the National Shield after defeating Cartha QP during Silver Saturday. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
  • Happy birthday Francesca McGhie, who turns 20 today (Sunday)! The sprightly centre/wing scored her first international try versus Ireland last weekend and her two solo efforts yesterday helped Watsonians win the Sarah Beaney Cup Final. She has x-factor which can light up any game she plays in, however with Scotland’s top women players being encouraged to move down south she will likely follow suit, and it is hard to see how this pattern can help the domestic leagues north of the border strengthening any time soon.


  • It was heartbreak, again, for Corstorphine Cougars, who have now lost out in the Premiership and the Sarah Beaney Cup finals this year – but they are a great example of a club built on solid foundations. Head coach Eric Jones, assistant Gav Paul and captain Emma Turner head up a women’s section at Union Park which is going places and they now have a 2nd XV in place. Jones is a great people-manager who has helped players like Fiona Cooper move to Wasps and works tirelessly to help players, whatever standard they may be, develop.


  • It is no coincidence – and the Men’s Cup Final reaffirmed this – that the best performing clubs in the Premiership over recent seasons have systems in place to develop local talent.

Silver Saturday: Hawick defeat Marr to claim league and cup double

Sarah Beaney Cup Final: Watsonians come from behind to defeat Corstorphine Cougars

Glasgow v Munster: 14 man Warriors fall at first URC play-off hurdle

  • Marr have bounced back from a shaky start to the season to come within 80 minutes of making club history. Credit to the Troon men for producing a game plan that Hawick struggled to deal with in the first half, and for battling all the way.


  • Kudos to the Hawick ‘Invincibles’, who became the first men’s club side to go a full Premiership and Cup season undefeated since the knock-out competition was introduced in 1995-96. Their ability to win in many different ways meant that changing tactics at half time was simple, and that switch paid off within a few minutes of the restart as they built a lead they never looked likely to lose. Matty Douglas has a good coaching team around him at Hawick, but the 28-year-old is without doubt a talented up-and-comer whose ability is already being recognised further up the tree.


  • We all love to see attacking rugby, but defence often wins matches and in West of Scotland’s case it played a major factor role in their Women’s Shield triumph over Cartha  Queens Park’s 2nd XV. Time and again during the second half they stood firm under pressure.. As a former international prop, head coach Lindsey Smith will have been delighted with the way her players put their bodies on the line.


Fraser Renwick on his way to the try line for Hawick versus Marr. Image: Rob Gray
Fraser Renwick on his way to the try line for Hawick versus Marr. Image: Rob Gray


  • A new tier was added to the women’s cup competitions this year meaning four finals on the day as opposed to three for the men. The continuing rise of the women’s game in Scotland is great to see, but sometimes you have to walk before you can run and a score of 100-10 to Hillhead Jordanhill 2nd XV versus Perthshire in the National Bowl Final (for teams from the ‘Aspiring League’ which sit below Scotland’s Premiership, National and Regional Leagues) is not a great look when it comes to trying to grow the sport. Good on Perthshire for making it all the way to the last hurdle  – hammering Greenock Warriors 72-7 in their semi-final – and it’s great to see a diverse range of clubs at the big dance, but one-sided affairs like this one do nobody any favours.


  • The number and fervour of fans of finalist teams in all the competitions showed the importance to traditional rugby communities of having a strong club with its own identity. Special credit is due to supporters who set off on their travels early in the morning (with the first match featuring Stewartry from Castle Douglas against East Kilbride kicking off at 10am) and hung around to add colour to the other finals after their own match was over.  Generally, the whole day can be ranked as a success but there is always room for improvement.


  • Silver Saturday wasn’t pushed by Murrayfield with anywhere near the same fervour as we see for SuperSeries, pro and international rugby. Output during the build-up was limited to Scottish Rugby’s own media channels with the few independent outlets which could be bothered shining a light on that level of the game doing all the leg-work themselves. It wasn’t so long ago that there was a media day at Murrayfield with all participating coaches and captains in attendance during the lead-up to this event. “The weather didn’t help, but the seemingly half-hearted support of Scottish Rugby created a vibe of the governing body renting out Murrayfield for someone else’s party rather than hosting a special occasion for its grassroots members,” said one knowledgeable observer.


  • Time to aim big. Target a crowd in excess of 20,000 by 2028 which would be achieved by promoting Silver Saturday as an end-of-season celebration for all of club rugby. The Murrayfield campus can accommodate live bands, big screens, fairground and other entertainment attractions, touch tournaments, rugby taster sessions, coaching clinics and so on. As Kevin Costner said: ‘If you build it, they will come.’ The ball is in the new Club Rugby Board’s court.


  • Contributions from Colin Renton, Gary Heatly and David Barnes

Glasgow v Munster: 14 man Warriors fall at first URC play-off hurdle

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  1. I wonder if Hawick’s historic success will feature in this year’s SRU annual report. I could see nothing on the men’s club game last year over a well produced glossy 55 digital pages. This, despite the return from lockdown and an exciting Premiership season. Not even a promo photo from the Malleny final. Baffling really.

  2. Unbelievable that supporters were shivering in the stand or out clutching a pint in the rain, when the bar in President’s Suite 2 was open, and warm, and empty!!! Apart from some Hawick fans who benefitted from having been to these finals before… The SRU flashed a message up on the big screen before the final for about ten seconds. I was looking the other way, but my son spotted it. That lack of welcome really put a dampener on the vent. In previous years there is been a great atmosphere in the bar. This time I bet some frozen fans who read this will be furious to know they didn’t have to freeze in the rain.

  3. I was on holiday so missed the Finals.

    So, who presented the cups, the winner & loser medals?

    Sounds like the SRU want the amateurs, the backbone of rugby, to go away & play in a deserted public park where they belong.

    Surely someone inside the organisation (owned by the clubs) has to stand up to the “ignorance is bliss” attitude prevailing in the SRU.

  4. Reflecting on Silver Saturday my experiences were;
    Firstly a complete lack of promotion by the SRU; no press previews, TV promotion or radio. Outside of the clubs involved it was almost a secret event.
    Secondly, no sponsor. Come on SRU knock on some doors and give the event some kudos.
    Thirdly, a semi shambles on the day with cramped seating areas in a 65k capacity stadium, stewards at the gates with no command of spoken English and an obscure way of buying a ticket as a walk in.
    Fourthly. no pipe band or any band on the big pitch pre final, poor food and drink options with nothing to attract children or places to relax.I know it was wet and dreich but the spectator area behind the West stand is a scruffy and boring place to be at when it’s not a full house.
    Lastly. where were the match programmes ?
    If there is to be a Cup competition next season, factor it in properly to the fixture list, have the finals day promoted and sponsored; the men and women on separate days and the final kicking off no later than 4pm. It was also ridiculous that a final kicked off at 10am for people from Stewartry but the day just had too many games going on.
    PS, Silver Saturday as a title suggests it’s an event for pensioners !

    • Never saw the ‘Lesser Spotted ‘ Dodson anywhere .
      He mustn’t have known it was on .

      Agree with Special K
      they should have been played on International pitch . ( that has to be a gimme )
      No matter what standard you play at its every players dream to step onto Murrayfield more so for your local club in front of your own family and supporters ……shame on SRU for allowing this .

  5. It a shame that some of these players have worked hard all season and they don’t even get to play at the national stadium. One of the only good reasons to play in these knockout tournaments is to have the chance of playing at Murrayfield. (not the Dam Health Stadium). With 4 woman’s finals and 3 men’s, these should be separate days to allow all to play in the main stadium.

  6. Amazing that no one obviously watched the men’s bowl final. Not ever a mention!
    Grass roots rugby is dying off!

  7. A great celebration of club rugby and well done to the winners of each competition.

    Interesting comment about the promotion of Silver Saturday. I’m baffled by much of the promotional activity from Murrayfield. If it doesn’t have Super and 6 attached to it, it get a very low profile.

    • Amatuer club & Grass roots rugby at its best …..
      sod the SRU hierarchy .they probably didn’t even know it was on
      What an atmosphere .
      This is what supporters want to see .
      More please .
      Well done all teams who took part

    • Amatuer club & Grass roots rugby at its best …..
      sod the SRU hierarchy .they probably didn’t even know it was on
      What an atmosphere .
      This is what supporters want to see .
      More please .
      Well done all teams who took part

    • The lack of interest in club rugby from those at the top of the SRU is sadly absolutely no surprise at all.


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