Roving Reporter: Aberdeenshire’s resurgence is good news for North East rugby

One of the North East's great historic clubs is back on its feet and enjoying success after a tough period

SRU Council representative Bob Richmond presents Abrerdeenshire captain Frazer Forman with the Caledonia Regional Bowl. Image: Joe Maclugash

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.

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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.

Aberdeenshire 2
Aberdeenshire had 37 players available for selection for their league match against Aberdeen University last weekend. Image: Joe Mclugash.

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About Jack Nixon 67 Articles
Jack is a Borderer, born in Langholm, and a graduate of Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh. He was a founder member of Livingston Rugby Club in 1968 and has been rugby correspondent for the Aberdeen Press and Journal since 1997. He has been going to Murrayfield man and boy since 1954!


  1. The best decision the SRU have made for years is to ban the payment of players below the Super Six.

    • Now they just need to ditch the Super 6 or suspend its introduction until 2020/21 season. It is a farce that clubs are playing fixturescstillthis season not knowing their data for the fate of their league. The Super 6 need to realise that they are the tail.if club rugby, not the dog. Their “dual registration” proposal makes a complete mockery of the amstuet game and would decimate the Club scene, from which, incidentally, our future internstionalists are raised. No clubs, no players, no supply chain for the professional and international elements of the sport. Get real, SRU and Super 6 franchise “clubs”!!

  2. Nice balanced article, Jack. It seems to me that ‘shires troubles stemmed from an over-ambitious coaching team and a niave committee. Both thought money was the answer. With the club on its “hunkers”. They have no learned a hard lesson. That coaching team also saw the demise from the Premierof Aberdeen Grammar and negative reversal of fortunes at Ellon. All 3 clubs seem in better spirits having ditched “The dreaded duo”.

    • Sorry, I pressed the post button by accident before being able to add- “I wish Aberdeenshire well I’m heir future campaigns and welcome their return to better spirits and a flourishing of success at Woodside. We need all the club’s and players we can get in the City!”

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