A lot of people have spoken to me to say they enjoyed the rugby club celebration on Saturday night (20 August) and thanked me for the part I played in putting it together. It is very nice to hear from people that they enjoyed the Do.
I too enjoyed it once I felt that all of my worst fears had not been realised and that everything had in the end come together.
Since that point I have been busy thanking people who helped me and I will continue to do that for some time to come as there are so many people who deserve thanks and praise. Needless to say I have thanked and hugged my wife Kathleen and my daughter Catriona (now Flett but always Carsei) for their help and practical support with this project, but as I can never get around everyone else quickly enough I would like to pass on below a word of thanks and a few comments of my own.
I had a tremendous amount of support from a huge number of people, too many to mention individually, but the ORFC Committee, the ORFC 50th Organising Group and a wide variety of club members, players and supporters were always there and always willing to help with anything that I needed done or anything I needed assistance with.
Pickaquoy management and staff, both inside the Centre and the ground staff, were always supportive and very helpful.
The management and staff of The Standing Stones Hotel, including those who work in the Pickaquoy Centre were amazing in what they achieved and worked incredibly hard and long hours to cook, serve and deliver 600 meals on the night. They were also very helpful in meeting all of the various demands we made of them to help folk with dietary needs. The complexity of bringing all that is needed to serve 600 in such circumstances was mind boggling.
Throughout the weekend the folk who produced food in the club for a huge number of people over the 3 days worked their socks off, and deserve loads of plaudits for what they produced and the lovely kind way in which they take everything in their stride and get on with it all. ORFC volunteers at our own bar also put in some long and busy shifts and did it with good humour.
On Saturday night the bar staff worked very hard, Ian Farquhar produced the sound we needed, the people involved in putting together the displays and slides and getting them presented were spot on, the folk who volunteered to help with the stewarding of the event and the folk who helped others as the night wore on all deserve a vote of thanks. The response to our prize draw was generous and we are all pleased we have raised a healthy donation which will be presented to the charity Motor Neurone Disease soon.
On stage I thought the speeches and presentations were smashing - well thought out and well delivered with entertainment thrown in for good measure and The Eastie Boys were great – they had the company on the floor giving it laldie the whole night and left the crowd shouting for more.
None of this could have happened without the generosity of Norman Sinclair’s Orkney Brewery and all of our other club sponsors. Loganair (in particular Iain Hunter) and the help and support of the Scottish Rugby Union were vital, and the impact of all of those people who bought tickets and came along to support the club and make the night so lively was huge. I have been told through various channels that apparently few clubs of any size could put on a do for 600 and get that number of people to come along. So once again Orkney has become the envy of many.
Apart from all the help I received as mentioned above some highlights for me were meeting and working with Al Kellock – he was a great player but he is also a very nice man and a great ambassador for Scottish Rugby. Meeting and working with the visiting Penguins team was brilliant – they took to Orkney big time and gave back much in return through coaching, playing rugby and friendship and they were full of praise for the wonderful people who hosted them so generously. I was told by Iain Sinclair their player/manager, and another person who works incredibly hard, that these players had never played together as a squad before Saturday’s game and that the mix of 8 nationalities in the squad was the second highest figure in Penguin history
But for Orkney to beat a team of that quality on the rugby field was a huge moment! These Penguins have played, or are playing, at the highest level but our first fifteen squad took them on and delivered a hard fought but well deserved victory which bodes well for the coming season and must give our new coach Paul Livingstone, our team manager Garry Coltherd and our Club Captain (Goose) great heart for the coming season.
Delighted as I am about our win for the first fifteen squad it was also great to watch the Penguins coach our 12-18 year old squads, our Ladies section and our Mini/Midi sections all of whom who turned out in good numbers to work, play and get photos with/autographs of, Al Kellock and the Penguins.
And the All Comers game at High Noon on Saturday was a belter! Both for rugby and laughs – with so many players turning out it ended up as 20 v 20 with rolling (not a comment on physiques) subs allowed for breaks, and while the score mattered to some the camaraderie and friendship were much more important in the end. Nonetheless there was enough skill and fitness shown in the game to suggest that the Internal League in the coming season could produce some close encounters, and I look forward to seeing these folk turning out once again later this year.
However, it’s “More Than a Game” and the rendition of the Club’s new anthem of that name written by Andy Cant, sung by Duncan Hill and produced by Stewart Shearer of Iolair Sound Studios was a stunner!!!!! It was sung well in the first instance but once people caught on to the words that were printed in that evening’s programme the two or three later renditions on the night just got louder and louder, maybe not more and more tunefull as the night wore on, but hey ho who cares we now have a brilliant ORFC Club Anthem that we can be proud of and belt out wherever we go. If you are interested in buying a CD with the anthem on it for £5 contact Olga Burton or any of our other committee/club members.
Thanks to each and every one of you for helping and participating – now that the anxiety levels are dropping you have made an auld man very happy!!