Orkney Rugby Football Club whilst still mourning the passing away of one of its earliest members Ken Watson, player, chairman and one of a duo who instigated junior rugby in Orkney are now equally saddened by the death of his fellow coach James (Pye) Groundwater.
Together they established junior rugby in Orkney and it was their enthusiasm and commitment that led to the likes of Drew Leslie, Al Watson, Keith Oddie Andy McGill, Bob Gilmore and James Linklater to name but a few, to become regulars and indeed the backbone of the clubs First XV.
Pye and Ken both served on the club’s committee for many years, Ken passing on his knowledge from his time playing for Madras, where he was a former captain and Pye, multi-talented in many of the other aspects of club rugby. Pye served as club secretary for an incredible 24 years from 1981 to 2005 he also wrote the match reports, enjoyed the odd brandy and port as well as being a legendary compère and main organiser of the Orkney Sevens for many years. At the Sevens he was always aided and abetted by his wife Lynn who maintained the scores.
Pye was a renowned after dinner speaker and would often have us all in stitches with his anecdotes at the annual club dinners.
He was multi-talented and probably should have been employed by Applemac in the early days, as he was expert on this new computer system.
Pye along with Gordon Scott (who passed away several years ago) set up the band called Gerbil with Pye on the accordion and Gordon on the guitar. They regularly played at the club raising much needed funds with Pye only accepting a small beverage in payment for his services.
Legend has it that that the band was so named because of an unfortunate incident with the next door neighbour’s pet rodent and Pye’s cat.
My overriding memory of Pye was his wit with the youngsters who played mini-rugby and how he could get the message across of the movement or tackle without sounding like a school teacher (which he was).
He passed on his enthusiasm to me, Willie Stewart and Simon Butcher who were privileged to follow in his footsteps. So many of the club members have happy memories of both Pye and Ken and the foundations that these two legends of the club laid down have made the club what it has become today.
This is truly the end of an era and we would like to pass on our heartfelt condolences to all family and friends.
Garry Coltherd / Brian Lanni
Contacts & Location