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Old World Scotland
Chapter XVI. Football


THE writer on football in the ninth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica affirms that, ''unlike cricket, football had never taken root among the aristocracy and gentry." This may be true of England from the time of Edward III.'s prohibition, but as regards Scotland it is altogether the reverse of true, and probably for this reason —that the royal fiat there was never very potent. Each individual noble was a law unto himself, and the Scottish kings were by no means successful in substituting archery for football and golf. Football was prohibited in 1424, 1451, 1471, and 1491; but the very repetition of the enactments is proof of their inefficiency. At all events in 1497 footballs were purchased by James IV. himself, probably for a game at Court. In the next century the game was played not merely by the gentry, but even by the monks and other ecclesiastics. Thus Sir David Lindsay's abbot vindicates his Presbyterial efficiency by setting his prowess at football against his neglect of the pulpit :-

"I wot there is nocht ane among you all
More finelie can play at the fut-ball."

Even the highest nobles did not disdain the game. Of the "Bonnie Earl of Moray" the balladist sings:-

""He was a braw gallant
And he played at the ba';
And the bonnie Earl of Moray
Was the flower among them a'."

Another noble who 'played at the ba' was the fifth Earl of Huntly, who was seized with apoplexy (it was hereditary) while kicking off, and died the same night. The game seems to have been a common one at the Court of Queen Mary. Sir Francis Knollys tells that when she was at Carlisle after the flight from Langside, "about twenty of her retinue played at football before her the space of two hours, very strongly, nimbly, and skilfully, without any foul play offered." Their play struck Sir Francis as much superior to anything he had seen; and it is clear that the game in vogue at this time among the upper classes of Scotland differed radically from the common annual rough-and-tumble of later years. True, James VI., in the "Basilikon Doron," published in 1509, denounces the pastime as "meeter for laming than making able the users thereof," but the modern forms of the game have been decried in similar terms.

The real cause of the decline and deterioration of football in Scotland was the prohibition of Sunday football by the Reformers, The traveller William Lithgow, in his poem "Scotland's Welcome to King Charles," 1633, laments that—

"Manly exercise is shrewdly gone,
Football and wrestling, throwing of the stone;
Jumping and breathing, practices of strength
Which taught them to endure hard things at length."

During the Covenanting and Cromwellian periods of ascendancy football was in still greater disrepute; and Sir David Hume of Crossrig records that, in 1659, having, in accordance with a traditional custom of the second-year students at Edinburgh University, taken part in a game of football on the Borough Muir on the 11th of March, he was sentenced to be whipped in the class, and, refusing to submit, was expelled the University.

Some have supposed that the ancient pastime in Scotland allowed running with the ball, as in the modern Rugby game, and in support of this Hone's account of the "historical game at Scone " has been quoted. This game, however, as is stated in the original notice in Sinclair's ''Statistical Account" of the parish, was only a carrying game, the use of the foot not being lawful; moreover, according to tradition, it was not of English origin, but was introduced into Scotland by an Italian in the days of chivalry; above all, it was notoriously peculiar to Scone, and hence the current proverb, "All is fair at the ball of Scone." There is no evidence at all that carrying was permitted in the pure Scottish variety. Thus, in Skinner's "Monymusk Christmas Ba'ing"-

"Sometimes the ba' a yirdlins ran,
Sometimes in air was fleeing"

but although the Monymuskers are represented as employing "a' the tricks of fut and hand," there is no allusion to any one running even a "yirdlins" with the ball in his arms, for that was only "fair" at Scone. But is the Scone game not practically identical with the Greek and Roman with the harpastum? Here, then, we seem to have a key to the origin of modern Rugby. If at Scone, the presumption is that the Roman game was played in other parts of Britain and Rugby football seems to be nothing more or less than a combination of the Saxon and Roman games, with a supplementary "serum" derived from the period when football, having been under a ban in England from the time of Edward III., had degenerated into "a friendly kind of fighte," engaged in once a year by an unskilled mob, not infrequently in the narrow area of the public streets.

In all probability the ancient game of football in Scotland bore a close resemblance to the modern Association game, except that holding with the hand was allowed in certain emergencies. It may have been quite as scientific, for constant practice at any game necessarily leads to the substitution of skill for mere brute force. Skilled players would hardly care to take part in a game played with one hundred men or upwards a side, as in the border game of Sir Walter Scott's time, and we have seen that only about twenty players took part in the game before Queen Mary. No doubt "accidents" at the game are still more numerous than is desirable, but the immense improvement—in the supersession of savagery by skill—which has followed the general adoption of the game by all classes of the community is undeniable. Those who, by a long parade of ''accidents," attempt to frown the pastime down as brutal and demoralising are merely doing their little best to make it both. And, after all, is it as now played exceptionally dangerous? Minor accidents are common enough; but, so far as loss of life is concerned, is football as perilous as hunting, shooting, riding, yachting, bathing, or even doing nothing? Is it very much more deadly than crossing a crowded London street? or is it anything like so hazardous as railway travelling? be completed by a section of 'given men.' That old term has long since become obsolete, but at one time it was in common use in the phraseology of the game. School teams frequently contained a complement of old boys. Thus in the Academy-Loretto match of 1871, Loretto played four Lorettonians—'given men.'

In an announcement of the opening of the season of 1870, it is said of the Glasgow Academicals : ' This rising young club have not only arranged two matches with the Merchistonians and two with the West of Scotland, but intend to play the Liverpool and Manchester clubs in England, and will meet St. Andrews University on the Edinburgh Academy ground at Raeburn Place during the season.' They did go to England, and won one and drew the other of their matches.

At that time, and for a number of years later, there was a close connection between the Glasgow Academicals and the Merchistonians. The early Academicals included a strong Merchiston contingent — A. Thew, J. E. Junor, J. W. Arthur, A. G. Colville, and the brothers Cross—in their more important matches. By and by the two were merged, and as a regular playing team the Merchistonians disappeared. In the Merchiston connection the brothers Roland, who were Merchistonians, raised a team about 1870, and under the designation of 'Rolands' Rooms' played a number of matches.

Walter Roland was a good football player, but gained a higher reputation as wicket-keeper in the Dalkeith cricket team of the Craig brothers. Ernest Roland, the youngest of the brothers, played against England in 1884, the year of the ' Dispute.' Presumably the 'Rooms' were Rolands' Fencing and Gymnastic Academy, off Queen Street, Edinburgh, and the team were composed of the men who gathered there.

The descriptions of the matches of that period were neither long nor lucid. Of a Merchistonian match we read: 'W. Roland made some fine winding runs.' 'There was no hacking, but a number of heavy spills were taken good-humouredly.' 'The Wanderers were three or four short'—an indefinite description of a not unusual occurrence at the time. Playing for the Wanderers against the Royal High School, we are told that 'R. W. Irvine was conspicuous for his dash and there was much fine dribbling,' and that in an Academy - Loretto match, 'Mr. Balfour, with his usual precision, kicked two goals.' That was characteristic of 'L. M.' as we knew him in later years.

In the Craigmount-Wanderers (fifteen a side) match of 1870, C. W. Cathcart (Loretto) and R. W. Irvine (Edinburgh Academicals) played for the Wanderers. Both no doubt played well, but the only player singled out for special mention was Mr. Webster, who 'wriggled in most praiseworthy manner' for the Wanderers. The Institution, under J. H. L. M'Farlane, played the Royal High School under Angus Buchanan. Both teams included present and past pupils.

The Edinburgh Academicals - Merchistonian match of that season is interesting by reason of the number of prominent players engaged. The Academicals included the Hon. F. J. Moncreiff, the first Scottish International captain, R. W. Irvine, T. R. Marshall, J. F. Finlay, E. M. Bannerman, W. Marshall, J. A. W. Mein, and L. M. Balfour, all subsequent International men; and among the Merchistonians were the International players, T. Ritchie, M. Cross, with the Roland brothers, and Hall Blyth, one of the promoters of the first match with England, and who would have played in that game but for a physical ailment which incapacitated him for the time being. L. M. Balfour was still at school, but T. R. Marshall had left. M. Cross was captain of Merchiston school team in the same year.

Angus Buchanan, although shown in most records as an Edinburgh University player, had only the same casual connection with University football as those outside players who in recent years have augmented the playing strength of Edinburgh in the English and Irish inter-University engagements. In 1871, when J. H. L. M'Farlane, who helped to found the Institution (F.P.) Club, was captain, the Edinburgh University team for their match with Glasgow University included Angus Buchanan (Royal High School), the brothers Cathcart (Loretto), along with three leading Academical players, R. W. Irvine, J. F. Finlay, and J. A. W. Mein. History therefore repeats itself in the modern composite Edinburgh University teams.

Although the number of clubs was small, and matches were not numerous, many of the players, especially those of reputation, obtained a good deal of football. When a team arrived short, and from the limited membership it was not always easy to muster a full complement, especially when playing twenty a side, the 'given men' were in demand. On many occasions it was agreed to play fifteen a side, and that long before the reduced number became officially recognised as the standard.

Season 1871-72 was a bad one for the Edinburgh Academicals, who, having avoided defeat for seven years, were beaten at Raeburn Place by the West of Scotland by a goal and a try to three tries, and later lost at St. Andrews in a very unsatisfactory match in which, owing to the irregularities of their opponents, the Academicals left the field. The match was fifteen a side, and is the game referred to when the Academicals arrived five men short.

J. W. Arthur and T. Chalmers, Scotland's first great full-back, were in the Glasgow Academical team which met St. Andrews University at Raeburn Place that year. The St. Andrews side included P. Anton, who became a prominent personality in early Scottish Rugby, and whose opinions on the 1873 International, in which he played, are reproduced in their appropriate connection.

Finally, as an indication of the general conditions in the year of the first International, the following extract from a newspaper resume of the season's work will help to make the position more clear:

'The leading club, the Edinburgh Academicals, played five matches, lost two, and won three.'

'Edinburgh Academy beat Loretto and drew with Merchiston. Both opponents of the Academy included some former pupils.'

'Edinburgh University, who depended upon members of other clubs, beat the Royal High School, Loretto (with eight "given men"), Craigmount, and Merchistonians, and lost to Glasgow University. J. H. L. M'Farlane scored 8 of the University's 17 tries.'

'The Royal High School, one of the youngest clubs in the district, played six matches, lost three, won two, and drew one.'

'The West of Scotland played five matches, lost two, drew two, and won one.'

'The Glasgow Academicals, who promise to become one of the strongest as well as most enterprising clubs, played seven matches, beat the West of Scotland twice, drew with St. Andrews University, lost and drew with the Merchistonians, drew with Liverpool and beat Manchester. It is hoped the Edinburgh and Glasgow Academicals will arrange a match for next season.'

This then was the state of the game in the country when the challenge to England was issued.

I think we may all raise our hats in recognition of the courage of these early Scots.

In January 1872, the Edinburgh and Glasgow Academicals met in the first of the series, which still continues, and which, almost from its inception, was regarded as the great club match of the season. From that day till the present, it is tolerably safe to say that a greater number of International players have participated in inter-Academical matches than in any other club combination that could be named.

That first match between the clubs was played at Burnbank, and resulted in a scoreless draw. It is recorded that ' the play was really fine.' L. M. Balfour and J. Dunlop narrowly missed scoring from drops at goal.

The teams were :

Edinburgh Academicals —T. R. Marshall (captain), L. M. Balfour, J. F. Finlay, R. W. Irvine, J. A. W. Mein, D. R. Irvine, J. A. Ross, W. Blackwood, D. Robertson, R. G. Dunlop, T. A. Bell, A. B. Finlay, T. W. Lang, R. E. Wood, and C. K. S. Moncreiff.

Glasgow Academicals — J. W. Arthur (captain), T. Chalmers, W. D. Brown, W. Cross, T. A. Drew, C T. Sloan, D. Drew, J. K. Tod, H. W. Allan, G. R. Fleming, J. K. Brown, C. C. Bruce, W. Harvey, J. Paterson, and W. Brown.

The match was fifteen a side, and it will be observed that quite that number of International players took part. The Merchistonian-Glasgow Academical connection, previously referred to, is also noticeable.

In the spring of 1872, J. M. Cotterill, of cricket renown, was playing in a Wanderers team which beat the Merchistonians, and in an important match in Glasgow the Royal High School drew with the Glasgow Academicals. The 'School' team included A. Buchanan, G. Rayner, A. G. Petrie, and A. Wood, and we find J. S. Carrick making one of his early appearances for the Academicals. Carrick ultimately succeeded T. Chalmers as a pillar of the Scottish team at full-back. A very active player, Carrick had a huge and lofty punt and was a defender of whom it was said that the only player who ever got past him in a fair field was Ninian Finlay.

We have the Collegiate playing in 1872, and also Blairlodge under the captaincy of Le Messurier.

In club football up to the end of 1871, the Edinburgh Academical ascendancy had hardly been challenged. For a few seasons they showed signs of falling back, and, coincident with their decline, began the rise of the Glasgow Academical-Merchistonian combination. None of the others so stoutly assailed the positions of the two Academical clubs as did the Royal High School. In 1871 the 'School' were recognised as a rising young team. The following year, when the Glasgow Academical side contained W. Cross, J. W. Arthur, A. Drew, J. S. Carrick, T. Chalmers, and J. K. Tod—all International men—-Angus Buchanan's team accomplished a notable achievement by drawing with the Academicals at Burnbank. Three of Buchanan's principal supporters on that occasion were A. Gordon Petrie, A. Wood, and G. Rayner, two of whom were International forwards in the following year.

In January of season 1873-74 Edinburgh University beat the Royal High School at Bonnington in a match which is memorable as the last appearance in football of J. H. L. M'Farlane, whose tragic death a month later created a deep impression in Scottish Rugby circles. M'Farlane, in the course of a run, stopped suddenly and dislocated a knee. While under treatment he developed rheumatic fever, aggravated by heart and chest complications, and did not recover. Having some time previously obtained his degree, Dr. M'Farlane had been acting as one of the resident assistants in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. His funeral was attended by a large number of the leading Rugby men of the day, and by five hundred Edinburgh University students.

The defeat in question was the first the 'School' had sustained in local football for two years. Their team included A. Buchanan, A. G. Petrie, A. Wood, Rayner, Robertson, Knott, Brewis, and Nat Watt. That selection shows that the 'School' were a strong side. Besides J. H. L. M'Farlane, the University included J. M. Cotterill, A. K. Stewart, and also J. Reid, who played most of his football with the Wanderers.

J. Reid was an elder brother of the Edinburgh Academy boys, A. P. and Charles Reid, and in physique bore a strong resemblance to C. Reid.

J. H. L. M'Farlane was succeeded in the captaincy of Edinburgh University by A. K. Stewart, a fine 'quarter,' who filled M'Farlane's place with distinction in the International at Kennington Oval that season.

Angus Buchanan was the first Royal High School International player. He was the leader of the early-day High School football, an 'indefatigable leader' indeed, in the phraseology of the time. In one of the matches of that period it is particularly recorded that the High School team were weakened by the absence of Mark Sanderson. Mr. Sanderson, now over fourscore years of age, still maintains his connection with Royal High School football and is occasionally present at the matches. If not the sole survivor of the introduction of the game, he must be one of the few patriarchs of Rugby who are alive. The Sanderson family have played a notable part in High School sport. George and Fred Sanderson will be remembered by the older generation as first-class cricketers in the Royal High School eleven. G. A. Sanderson, of A third branch, played in all the Internationals as a forward in 1907.

To the Royal High School belongs the record of the first score against England, and when Angus Buchanan obtained his try at Raeburn Place he was the first player to score in International football. J. H. L. M'Farlane was the first Edinburgh Institution International player.

The ' School,' whose ground was then at Bonnington, whence a little later they removed to a field to the south of the Meadows in the Warrender district, played another great game with the Glasgow Academicals. The Edinburgh Academicals, who were fast recovering their old position, beat the Royal High School in the later weeks of season 1873-74 at Bonnington.

The club event of the season, the Edinburgh and. Glasgow Academical match in February, resulted in a draw. T. R. Marshall, R. W. and D. R. Irvine, R. Duncan, G. Q. Paterson, R. Mac-nair, A. Finlay, J. A. W. Mein, and the two schoolboys, J. H. S. Graham and Ninian Finlay, were in the Edinburgh side, and T. Chalmers, W. D. Brown, D. H. Watson, J. W. Arthur, J. K. and J. S. Tod, G. Heron, and G. R. Fleming played for the Glasgow team. That joint representation explained in a measure the popular opinion that the two clubs embodied the Scottish International team. The conclusion may have been a trifle overdrawn, but there is no question that the Academicals of Edinburgh and Glasgow constituted the main pillars of Scottish football of that time.

That season the Edinburgh Academicals renewed their fixture with the Merchistonians after a three years' interval. The function took the form of a reunion with a match played under the old rules and a dinner in Merchiston Castle. The composition of the teams is interesting in itself. Among the Academicals were the brothers W, and J. R. Blackwood, A. and T. A. Bell, R. W. Irvine, D. R. Irvine, R. Macnair, G. Q. Paterson, J. H. S. Graham, and the entire Finlay brotherhood, James, Tom, Alexander, Gardine, and Ninian. Some of the Merchistonians were Malcolm Cross, William Cross, B. Hall Blyth, W. and G. Roland, A. Arthur, and W. Speed. Time has made its ravages on that company, but I dare say those who remain will remember the occasion well.

The Edinburgh Institution (F.P.) Club, formed late in 1871 or 1872, experienced a difficulty at the outset in getting players. Old Institution boys were fairly plentiful, but were already in membership with other clubs. J. H. L. M'Farlane, for example, was the captain of Edinburgh University, and Nat Brewis was playing with the Royal High School.

R. M. Neill, the father of two prominent later-day Edinburgh Academicals, and who still attends Raeburn Place, was at that time playing for the Wanderers, but he was one of those who assisted in founding the Institution Club. Under the leadership of J. J. Deuchar the team struggled along, and gradually worked upwards. A few years later Nat Brewis assumed the captaincy, and within ten years of their start the club had reached the highest pinnacle in club football in Scotland, and had wrested the championship from the Edinburgh Academicals.

The Watsonians started about the same time as the Institution, but their path to the summit was a longer and steeper one, and it was not until R. M. M. Roddick's and H. T. O. Leggatt's time —nearer twenty than ten years from the club's formation—that the Watsonians won their first championship. They had good teams and good players, notably J. Tod, their first Internationalist, long before that, but they were not quite good enough as a team to reach the supreme position.

In season 1874-75 the Institution, then under Nat Brewis, were aspiring to recognition among the front rank of the clubs, though the membership was still low. They got a bad beating from the Edinburgh Academicals in October of that season. Ninian Finlay got one of the three tries scored by the Academicals and dropped a couple of goals, which was not by any means an unusual feat for him.

Real compensation and gratification came to the Institution a little later, when, to general surprise, they beat the Wanderers, but they were progressing, and even a two goals beating by the Warriston in one of the concluding matches of the season did not diminish their enthusiasm nor check their aspirations. Want of players was still their principal drawback. Like R. M. Neill, many Institution players were attached to other clubs.

Frequently R. M. Neill and J. M. Cotterill played together at 'quarter' in the early Wanderers team, and as a coincidence it may be mentioned that in later times their sons, R. M. Neill and D. Cotterill, were associated in the same position for the Edinburgh Academicals.

With great diffidence, and fears of intrusion on a touching memory, I venture to add that the fathers are still with us, but the boys are not.

An informative situation may be traced in a series of events in which the Watsonians drew at Bainfield with St. George, who had previously beaten Stewart's College (F.P.).

Season 1874-75 saw the West of Scotland in exceeding prosperity, with a largely increased membership and a strong playing team, including the brothers M'Clure and W. H. Kidston. The 'West' drew with the Glasgow Academicals and promoted a strong public attraction in a match at Partick with a Liverpool club fifteen, which included J. R. Hay Gordon, an Edinburgh Academical, who at a subsequent date played 'quarter' for Scotland. The same season A. N. Hornby, the Lancashire cricketer and International full-back, brought the Manchester team to Glasgow, where they were beaten by the Academicals. Manchester and Liverpool were at that time the two great strongholds of the game in the North of England.

The Glasgow Academicals were still a powerful team, but had to lower their flag to the Edinburgh Academicals, who in the first match between the pair scored a try to nothing, and in the second won by a goal dropped by Ninian Finlay to a try. R. W. Irvine was then captain of the Edinburgh Academicals, and led a very fine team, especially when reinforced by the best of the Academy boys. They were altogether too strong for most of the local clubs, so much so that in a game with the Wanderers a friend wagered ' Bulldog ' a pound to a shilling he would not drop a goal. Now Irvine had never tried and was not expected to drop goals, but he led his forwards in his usual strenuous manner, and whether there were some of the others in the plot and helping him I cannot say, but he found his opportunity, took it, and won his bet.

St. Andrews University had lost some of their earlier prominence. There were minor teams in Perth and Dundee, and the Paisley club, that played their first match in Edinburgh in 1873 and drew with the Institution, were reckoned to be a fairly good side.

Rugby had been started on the Borders after the first Scottish victory over England. There were clubs at Langholm and Hawick and a combination of Galashiels and Melrose playing at Galashiels in the early 'seventies, but it was some years later before the Border teams participated in the general rota of club football.

In the first match between Hawick, or Hawick and Wilton as the club was then called, and Langholm, which was played at Hawick, neither side were very sure about the rules. Langholm, supported by the regulations governing a hybrid game then in vogue at Carlisle, contended that a goal could only be scored by the ball passing under the bar. The Hawick men felt certain that the ball must pass over the bar for a Rugby goal. The difference, however, was regarded as too trifling to be of serious consequence, and the players, concerning themselves very little about goals, proceeded with the game and found in it a lusty sport admirably suited to the Border temperament.

The development of Rugby during that period is exemplified in the publication in London of a paper, The Goal, which was devoted to football news. In one of its issues the editor was much concerned about the roughness of the Scots in their club matches, not so much on account of the methods of play as of the effects, which were causing an inconvenient shortage of players.

From the autumn of 1876 to the spring of 1880 more club football was played in Scotland than during any previous period of similar duration. The Edinburgh and Glasgow Academical rivalry still produced the most important events, but early in that term the monopoly threatened to be disturbed by the Wanderers, and later by Edinburgh Institution (F.P.).

The 1876-77 team of the Wanderers was one of the strongest the club ever had. J. Reid led a particularly heavy set of forwards, including C. Villars, H. Hawkins, Arthur Budd, and some other weighty members. J. Montgomerie, a virile type of player, was at half-back, and E. J. Pocock joined the club that season. Budd and Pocock were Englishmen, who troubled Scotland a great deal, each in his own way. Budd played for England later, but I am perfectly sure that had he been eligible for Scotland he never would have been selected or even have been in the running. He and Mr. Rowland Hill made themselves very prominent in their antagonism to Scotland in the years of the Dispute, and in that connection the two names were seldom mentioned on this side of the Tweed except as a co-partnery antagonistic to all things Scottish. And with all his English fervour, Mr. Hill was an Irishman.

Pocock played quarter. He was another of the 'Quinty' Paterson type. Very quick, he scored a lot of tries for the Wanderers. What the Scottish Union overlooked when they selected him for the 1877 International, and they had first to obtain the consent of the English Union, was that Pocock in his club matches was playing behind a huge protecting barricade in the Wanderers forwards. In the International, where every man had to stand on his own legs, Pocock had to be propped up. Probably he was injured—I cannot say—but they put him in the scrummage, where the other forwards carried him along. Gerry Scott, who was then playing for the Royal High School, had a dropped goal that saved them being beaten by the Wanderers.

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow Academicals had to exert themselves to the uttermost to get the better of the Wanderers. The Royal High School were a good team. P. W. Smeaton, who was a sort of handy man, sometimes in, sometimes out of the forward division, stole away from a throw-out and 'galloped' over the line for the Edinburgh Academical winning score in the 'School' match. Smeaton had a style of progression peculiarly his own. It was more a gallop than a run.

Like hundreds more, I blamed T. A. Bell for losing the Glasgow Academical match at Raeburn Place. That judgment was as severe as it was unjust, for Bell was sticking to his post when he had been badly hurt, and in the course of the game we could only see his failure to tackle D. H. Watson when he broke away from about the ' 25,' and did not know of the handicap he was labouring under. Watson was a strong, forceful runner, and not an easy man to stop. ' Tommy ' Bell, as he was affectionately termed, and he was brother man to all men, was a good three-quarter, very fast and second only to Ninian Finlay as a drop-kick. He was an expert hurdler, and I rather think he held some records ' over the timber.' Ninian Finlay played no football at all that season.

When we reach seasons 1875-76, 1876-77, we have left behind us what, for convenience sake, may be regarded as the more primitive period. Rugby football had established for itself a position as a popular sport equivalent to that already attained by cricket.

The Saturday list now consisted of a string of matches varying in grade and importance from those of the leading clubs down to second-fifteen club and school games, with an intermediate section containing the St. George, Cronstadt, and Watsonians in Edinburgh, two or three teams in the Dundee and Perth districts, a club at Kirkcaldy, several on the Borders, and even one at Portobello. The game was being played at Aberdeen in the North and at Dumfries in the South. In the West country, the Paisley club were competing with the first-class teams and holding their own very well.

At the October meeting of the Scottish Union two clubs in Dundee were admitted to membership, one at Aberdeen, one each at Broughty Ferry (the Abertay), Clackmannan, and Dumfries, and two in Edinburgh (the Carlton and Collegiate). All of these have passed out of existence, but their presence at that time is evidence of the spread of the game.

Some points of procedure in the play were still creating a conflict of opinion. B. Hall Blyth identified himself very intimately and energetically with a movement having for its purpose the prevention of the forwards picking up the ball except when it was bounding. The proposal, after being referred back to the Union for further discussion and for the opinions of the club captains, was ultimately accepted and submitted to the English Union, who were still the law-makers. It did not meet with the approval of the English rulers, and, whether they were right or wrong, it was a drastic and far-reaching proposal practically cutting out a root and deflecting the growth in a direction opposite to the tendency of modern Rugby. Yet it was in consonance with the Scottish idea that the game of the forwards was footwork. They were putting their brains as well as their bodies into the game. In fact, it was from Scotland that all the earlier progressive movements issued.

By season 1877-78, T. J. Torrie, the first International product of Fettes, had retired from the Edinburgh Academicals, and Gardine Finlay had gone abroad. The team thus lost two of its best forwards. Frequently reserve, the youngest forward of the Finlay family would almost surely have secured his International place had he continued in the game. Ninian had returned, and he and W. E. Maclagan formed the strongest halfback division the Academicals so far had had. L. J. Aitken, a notable school player and runner, had gone among the forwards, there to rub shoulders with P. W. Smeaton, who could not get his place outside so long as 'Quinty' Paterson and J. Younger were available. E. S. Balfour, the younger brother of 'L. M.,' was playing full-back.

In the autumn of 1877 the Watsonians joined the Scottish Rugby Union. John and Malcolm Tod were playing for them then. John Tod stuck to the club; indeed, I would be inclined to say he was the 'Father' of the Watsonians; but Malcolm went over to the Wanderers, for whom he did good work at quarter during several seasons. W. H. Masters, who was playing for the Royal High School, was another who transferred his affections. Before the season was over he was firmly installed, with W. Sorley Brown, at quarter for the Institution.

Nat Brewis was building up his team. He got W. Somerville from the Cronstadt, or 'Leith Cronstadt' as everybody called it—a club which played down Easter Road way on a field that had a two-feet drain cut across it. This club beat Loanhead, who were under the captaincy of R. Ainslie. Soon afterwards Robert joined his brother, T. Ainslie, in the Institution Club.

That season the championship came back to Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Academicals beat the Glasgow Academicals by a try in each match, and both tries were scored by W. E. Maclagan following up unsuccessful drops at goal by 'Quinty' Paterson. The second of these matches, played at Raeburn Place, attracted a crowd of almost International dimensions. All the Glasgow team behind the scrummage were International men, J. S. Carrick, R. C. Mackenzie, M. Cross, J. A. Campbell, and A. T. Nelson. Pat Russel was full-back for the Edinburgh Academicals, and in front of him were N. J. Finlay and W. E. Maclagan, 'Quinty' Paterson, and J. Younger. The forward divisions were largely composed of the same class of players.

Naturally, the meeting produced a great game, and it was team work and combination that gave the Edinburgh side their advantage. When they scored it was from a run by J. Younger, followed by a combined movement in which Ninian Finlay carried on and transferred to Paterson, who 'foozled' his drop at goal, for Maclagan to dash in and score the winning try. J. A. Campbell, who was still at Merchiston, played best among the Glasgow backs.

J. H. S. Graham's team held the title till deprived of it by the Institution, who, even in the season under notice, could claim to be a good third to the Academicals of the East and West. Frost set in about the middle of December 1878, and did not break till near the end of the following February. Except for a few weeks at the beginning and the end, the season was a blank. L. M. Balfour had returned to football, and was playing full-back for the Academicals, who in October opened the new ground of the Institution at Coltbridge. The Academicals won by a goal and a try, but even then the Institution forwards were beginning to command attention.

The continuity of Gerry Scott's career had been much interrupted, but he started the season with the Royal High School, who were not strong, and in one of the few matches played lost to the Academicals by 4 goals (all kicked by L. M. Balfour) and 3 tries.

The Wanderers and Edinburgh University also fell heavily before the Academicals. E. J. Pocock had left, and J. Reid, who had been the Wanderers' leading forward for about half a dozen seasons, had given up the game.

Season 1879-80 was a busy one in club football. The brothers Ainslie were then with the Institution, for whom W. Sorley Brown and W. H. Masters formed a strong scoring partnership. Behind the quarters the players were essentially sound in defence, and although Boyd Cunningham and A. Philp could score on occasion, it was in the quarters the danger lay. Masters was the more showy man, but Sorley Brown was the sounder player. He was one of the first quarters to carry on with his feet and thus beat opponents who had been specially told off to watch him. For a light player he escaped injury marvellously, and had a much longer career than Masters. When playing together the two backed each other up so well, and were so quick and clever in their movements, that they kept most teams on edge.

Malcolm Cross, who was then captain of the Glasgow Academicals, beat the Institution by his place-kicking in a hard game, in which each side crossed the other's line twice. Only one inter-Academical match, resulting in a draw, took place that season, and as the Edinburgh Academicals beat the Institution, the strongest local aspirants, the title remained at Raeburn Place. 'Quinty' Paterson had retired, and P. W. Smeaton and J. Younger were the Academical quarters. 'Jimmy' Younger, as he was currently called, was a fine player.

A notable player in Scottish Rugby appeared in the Royal High School team of this period, J. P. Veitch, who in after years became one of the stoutest defenders and soundest full-backs who ever played for Scotland. C. D. Stuart also came into the team as a forward. Always a strong, heavy player, he went into the heart of the scrum, and held the 'School' pack together in the hottest matches of a period when forward work was of a particularly strenuous and vigorous type. In later years he had the satisfaction of seeing two of his sons, C. D. Stuart (West of Scotland) and L. M. Stuart (Glasgow High School F.P.), go into International teams.

Edinburgh University were then playing at Corstorphine, where John Smith returned to the Association game, and Frank Hunter, whom Gregor MacGregor declared to be the fastest bowler ever he kept wicket to, reverted to the football he had learned at Fettes. W. A. Peterkin and Hunter took a turn at full-back for the University till Peterkin found his true place forward. When he was champion sprinter of Scotland, Peterkin was in the International pack. Scotland in these days was often faster in the scrummage than outside of it.

The Watsonians were getting their heads above water. The brothers Tod, A. Glegg, and H. Vibert were in their team which lost to the Royal High School by a try. Vibert became walking champion of Scotland, and went to London, where he made a name for himself on the stage. J. W. Parsons, who was at Fettes with Edgar Storey, a noted Fettes captain and equally prominent Cambridge University and ' F.L.' player, was playing for the Wanderers. Parsons was the best jumper Fettes has produced, and won both the Scottish and English high jump championships. His best jump was 6 ft. ¾ in.

By the middle of the 'seventies the game had become firmly established on the Borders. Earlier progress was mainly confined to Langholm and Hawick. Gala and Melrose were still represented by a joint team, occupying a field at Galashiels. It would be contrary to Border character and temperament if two sections remained in union for any length of time. By and by the Gala men and the Melrose men apparently got tired of each other's company, and one dark night the goalposts disappeared from the field at Galashiels. By exercise of the wizardry Sir Walter Scott imputes to the district, the posts, the following morning, had sprouted out of the earth, and were standing erect on the Greenyards at Melrose. Clearly, the occult powers indicated separate and independent courses for Gala and Melrose, so the story goes.

Towards the end of the decade clubs existed at Berwick, Kelso, Duns, and Earlston. One of the Earlston players was a member of the Murdison family—grandfather, it might possibly be, of the youth who played for Gala a season or two ago. Both J. P. Veitch and George R. Wilson, Royal High School, had a Border connection.

An effort was made to stimulate the game north of Edinburgh by a series of fixtures played in Perth between representative teams of Edinburgh and those chosen from St. Andrews, Dundee, and the North generally, but, in spite of all encouragement, Rugby did not take the same hold as it did on the Borders. In fact, until comparatively recent times, no football of any kind appeared to appeal to the people in the North.

The extension of the radius in the East v. West game as an International trial was not very productive, for, as a matter of fact, with the exception of Paisley the clubs outside Edinburgh and Glasgow were not strong. D. Lang, Paisley, who played against England in 1876 and 1877, and L. J. Auldjo, Abertay, in 1878, were the only discoveries of the earlier matches.

I remember the Paisley team. They played in green-and-black striped jerseys. The Royal High School of the period affected broad red and blue stripes. The University, when they took up house at Corstorphine, were wearing a maroon jersey. The Institution school colour was scarlet, too pronounced for the Former Pupils, who played in white jerseys, red stockings, and white knickers. That sort of thing never affected the West of Scotland. They have been blazing scarlet and yellow all the time I have known them, symbolic, they say, of the popular Glasgow dish of ham and eggs.

For a number of years the Royal High School had been well represented in all the important matches, but, good as some of them were, none of their backs compared with Gerry Scott, who came into the team in 1875-76. He was the best product of 'School' football up to that time as far as back play was concerned. Not such a wonderful player as Ninian Finlay, he resembled the Edinburgh Academical more in style and play than Malcolm Cross did. A strong body of opinion advocated Finlay as centre half to Cross and Scott for the 1876 International, and, as events subsequently showed, that arrangement, and a change at quarter, might have made all the difference between the winning and the losing of the match. Scott unfortunately contracted a leg trouble that broke the continuity of his career, and prematurely stopped him entirely.

The 'School' had still a good team. N. Watt was playing behind the maul, sometimes with Scott at half-back and sometimes with T. L. Knott or Rutherford at quarter. A. H. Schneider helped to complete a first-rate club back division. They had lost a good forward in A. Wood, but found a strong pair in J. C. Robertson and R. B. Murrie, who was possibly a better cricketer than a football player. He certainly was one of the best fast bowlers in the East.

Fifteen a side had been generally adopted in club football, and applied to some of the representative matches two years at least before the repeated appeals from the Scottish Union for the reduction was accepted. About that time dissatisfaction with the scoring rule began to find expression, and at the autumn meeting of the English Rugby Union in 1875 the try was established as a substantive score. Scoring by points was already being discussed, but neither Union felt disposed to do more than recognise the principle.

Club rivalry was beginning to get very keen. The Scot has always been credited with clannish-ness as a natural attribute. Some time later than the period under notice this characteristic revealed itself in aggravated form, and only a very fine line of distinction could be drawn between club and faction. Everyday personal relationship was hardly affected, but on the field and in the council chamber 'club jealousy' was currently accepted as an explanation for multitudes of sins of omission and commission. The curious feature of this phase of the game was the nice discrimination exercised. Every man's hand was not against his neighbour. Each club had one pet aversion, upon which they accumulated and bestowed all the love that could reasonably be translated into chastisement.

Scotland reared a race of hardy players. All old-timers will remember that invariably when play was interrupted in an International, it was to allow an Englishman time to recover. Not that the Scot was rougher than the Saxon, but he was hardier, partly by racial inheritance and partly by his football upbringing. An old military man, of many campaigns and an International player, has told me that one of the stormiest times he ever came through was in an Edinburgh club match in 1874.

James Finlay, one of the last of the Scottish twenty who played in 1871, retired at the end of 1874-75. Chosen for all representative matches during his career, he was one of the heaviest, most powerful, and athletic of the Scottish forwards. Inside the ' 25 ' there was no stopping him if he got fairly set for the line.

Personal reference is due to many of these old players of the 'seventies. Some of them are bearers of names which are still mentioned and discussed at the present day. There are those who consider that T. R. Marshall was not only a great football player, but as a cricketer was the best bat Scotland has ever produced. After his return from abroad, he played cricket in M.C.C. elevens, and occasionally appeared in Scotland. By that time he had lost much of his earlier agility, attributable no doubt to the climatic influences incidental to his sojourn abroad. His fielding was thereby affected ; otherwise he would have been classed as a Gentlemen of England player.

T. Chalmers was also a very prominent cricketer. Loyalty to their own evoked the opinion in Glasgow that Chalmers was the best Scottish bat of his day. B. Hall Blyth could play cricket too. I recollect Hall Blyth taking wickets on the Academy ground, and saw Chalmers drive R. Macnair clean out of that field for a 6, and not many 6's were hit off Macnair.

J. Finlay was a member of a notable brotherhood. I cannot claim to personal recollection of him, but I saw Ninian Finlay from his schoolboy days, and perfectly remember Gardine Finlay, who would probably have gained International honours had he not gone abroad. There never was such glamour and reputation attached to any Scottish player as there was to Ninian Finlay, until A. R. Don Wauchope reached the zenith of his powers.

To detail L. M. Balfour's career would occupy a volume in itself. I saw him play football as an Academical, watched his cricket many and many a day, saw him at lawn tennis at the time he won the Scottish Championship, heard of his triumph at St. Andrews in a game I know little about, and probably from observing him and that Sussex County gentleman who played football for the Wanderers in 1873, J. M. Cotterill, the hardest hitter in England and the greatest bat in Scotland, had it ingrained in my being that a cricket ball was a thing that was intended to be hit—a fundamental that is not universally observed.

In the mid 'seventies there was a J. Smith playing full-back for the Wanderers and Edinburgh University as occasion offered. A big fellow, you might see him stand with his arms folded over his chest in idle moments. He was that John Smith of Mauchline, afterwards Dr. Smith, leader of the Queen's Park forwards, and International successor to the great George Kerr, 'Prince of Dribblers.' He is now of Kirkcaldy, and occupies a high place among Scottish bowlers. In 1876 he was selected reserve full-back for Scotland. Had he played, the unique distinction of representing the country under both codes would have fallen to him.

Angus Buchanan, although he continued to lead the Royal High School for a number of years later, only played in the first International. However, before retiring, he had brought the 'School' into the front rank in club football. In 1874 the Glasgow Academical-Royal High School match at Bonnington attracted one of the biggest crowds seen at a club game up to that time. The 'School' was then playing a fast, open style of game in which 'chucking' and 'backing-up' were features. However, on that occasion their play did not reach" its usual standard, and they were beaten.

A. Gordon Petrie and A. Wood, of that 'School' team, became International forwards.

One of the greatest cricketers of that time was T. W. Lang, who played football in the Edinburgh Academical side of 1872. While at Oxford University he was one of the best bowlers, slow or medium, in England. In the 1874 game against Cambridge he took no fewer than ten wickets. I recollect hearing a story, but cannot vouch for its accuracy, that on one occasion he bowled the great W. G. Grace for 'duck.' 'T. W.' was a Selkirk man, brother of Andrew Lang of literary fame. There were three brothers. The family did a great deal to establish cricket in Selkirk.

J. H. S. Graham was one of the greatest forwards the game has seen. A fair-haired, enthusiastic schoolboy, he possessed from his early days the gift of leadership, and as captain of the champion school team, captain of a great Academical champion team, and captain of the International fifteen, he gained all the honours the game could give. Of very powerful physique, it was his skill as a dribbler that carried him into his first International match in 1876. He played the game heartily and vigorously, and was always as willing to make concessions to an opponent as he was ready to acknowledge the merits and encourage the efforts of his own players. Whether he passed the ball to Malcolm Cross, or some one else did, it was characteristic of Graham that almost as the ball cleared the bar he was endeavouring to hoist Cross shoulder high there and then. No forward of his day played the game with more intelligence, skill, and effect than Graham. He was one of the most advanced players of his time, and one of the great products of Scottish football.

W. St. Clair Grant was the first great product of Craigmount, a school that in its day held its own in competition with the best of its rival scholastic institutions. When we consider its term of existence, Craigmount may be said to have provided both Scotland and England with a wonderful list of players of the highest status. St. Clair Grant not only went into all the representative football teams of his time, as a first choice man, but, as a cricketer, was reputedly one of the best bowlers in Scotland. The pink field jacket and cap of Craigmount were the prettiest 'creation' in cricket attire.

J. H. L. M'Farlane lived before the days of authentically recorded athletic performances, but we know that as a long jumper and as a sprinter and middle-distance runner he was the best all-round man of his time in Scotland.

J. A. W. Mein, who played in the first International, is a Border laird in the Jedburgh district. His two sons were prominent Edinburgh Academy players between 1904 and 1907. In the latter season the younger, A. B. Mein, was captain of the school fifteen.

C. W. Cathcart—in 1872—was the first Loret-tonian to be capped, or rather selected, for 'capping' was of a later date. In the photographs of the first International teams, several of the players can be observed wearing the conventional cowl previously referred to.

As St. Clair Grant was the first Craigmount International player, H. Springman, a Lancashire boy, of the same school, was the first Scottish-trained schoolboy who played for England. Neither Edinburgh Academy nor Merchiston had any particular first International player. Each school supplied a batch to the team of 1871.

The Institution team, which won the club championship in seasons 1880-81 and 1881-82, was of distinct character and strength. N. T. Brewis had laboured long and arduously toward the consummation of his ambition.

The title had been in possession of the Edinburgh Academicals from season 1877-78. J. H. S. Graham led a powerful team at the peak of its strength. By season 1880-81 it had begun to crumble, and a year or two later the Academicals entered a tolerably long journey through the wilderness until they were again led into the ' promised land' by C. Reid and his virile collection of young forwards. W. E. Maclagan had gone to London, but was brought down specially to face the new challengers. Two Academy schoolboys, C. Reid and Frank Wright, already building up reputations for themselves, were included. But it was of no avail; the Academicals were beginning to decline, and even if they had been able to put off the evil day, the fall would only have been deferred. The game was played at Coltbridge, and I have a tolerably clear recollection of W. H. Masters running in for the winning and only score of the match.

I cannot recall two brothers playing together as forwards in one team who would bear favourable comparison with R. and T. Ainslie. In the great International triumph at Manchester in 1882, it was they who scored both tries. When R. Ainslie, or 'Bob' Ainslie, as he was known to the world, scored, A. N. Hornby, the English back and Lancashire cricketer, stooped too soon in his attempted tackle, and Ainslie jumped clear over him. When Tom Ainslie scored again, the crowd were actually on the goal-line, and his problem was to get through them and at the same time evade Hornby.

Behind the scrummage the Institution's scoring power lay in the quarters—W. Sorley Brown and W. H. Masters. They were both small men, but fast, active, and nimble-witted. In fact, they conformed in all essentials to the ideals of the period. The others were pre-eminently safe men and sound defenders. W. H. Masters went abroad after a season or two, but Sorley Brown had a long and successful career in club and International football. Over and above that he did a good deal of practical missionary work in forming a connection between the Institution and the Border teams. He and Masters were the best scoring club pair who up to that time had played together.

Actually ten of that Institution team were International players. R. Maitland, the heaviest man on the side, was a thoroughly sound forward; D. Somerville's long reach rendered him a most useful player at the throw-out, and he brought both feet and hands, along with a keen scent for a score, into operation on the goal-line.

A. Philp was wonderfully light on his feet, in spite of his rotundity, and he earned all the honours that came to him. I used to think Boyd Cunningham a very fine player of the type equally at home in any class of game, winning or losing. They were a very sound pair of halves. W. Gordon, a young Irishman—how Nat Brewis unearthed him I don't know—was a clever back. It was therefore a powerful, well-balanced team.

The Institution men who beat the Edinburgh Academicals in November 1880 were : W. Gordon; A. Philp and Boyd Cunningham; W. H. Masters and W. Sorley Brown; N. T. Brewis, R. A. Brewis, T. Ainslie, R. Ainslie, R. Maitland, D. Somerville, A. Drummond, J. Fraser, J. Chisholm, and — Adam. In rather an indirect manner the Royal High School won the championship of 1883-84. The West of Scotland had the misfortune to be weakly represented in their match with the Institution, which they lost; and when they came to play the Wanderers they were faced by a team reinforced by Edinburgh Academicals and Fettesian-Loret-tonians, and they went down very decisively. The Royal High School brought Walter M'Farlane from London specially for their match with the ' West,' but they were beaten by a goal and a try.

The 'West' were the best club team of the season, but the Royal High School were the champions. It was an anomalous position, no doubt, but the competition bristled with incongruities. A. R. Paterson, the Fettesian-Lorettonian forward and Oxford 'Blue,' helped the Wanderers to beat the 'West,' and assisted the 'West' to get the better of the 'School.'

At that time, and for a number of years afterwards, the Royal High School were well supplied with players; so well, indeed, that they ought to have been in closer running for the championship than they were. Their team in the 'West' match was: J. P. Veitch; W. M'Farlane and W. A. Scott; P. H. Cosens and C. Robertson; N. Watt, C. D. Stuart, A. M'Farlane, R. Roy, J. W. Walker, W. M. Gossip, D. A. Gray, J. Horsburgh, C. Paisley, and W. M'Donald.

The following season the 'School' ought to have had even a better team, for they had several notable additions, particularly G. Wilson, a halfback, who had a meteoric career; A. Duke, an International forward; W. R. Gibson, also an Internationalist; and Dr. Rutherford lent his assistance on occasion. The best they did was to make a strenuous fight at Grange Loan against the Edinburgh Academicals in a game that was unfinished 'owing to a dispute.'

Until the middle 'nineties the 'West' continued to exert a leading influence on club football, and for a great part of that time quite put in the shade their local rivals the Glasgow Academicals. Indeed, the new century had almost dawned before the Academicals began to re-establish themselves in their old position among the leaders.

When all the other home clubs were playing the hard slogging forward game, the back play of the West of Scotland in combination was not equalled until C. Reid had R. H. Johnston, H. J. Stevenson, and J. Duncan in his half-back line. After M. F. Reid left Loretto, he played centre for the 'West' until he went abroad. With Reid in the centre, and A. E. Stephen and R. G. Eagles


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