Life of ‘Local Hero’ Dave Rollo in print

Author Andrew Arbuckle (left) with Dave Rollo.
Author Andrew Arbuckle (left) with Dave Rollo.

An entertaining and fascinating look at the life of one of Scotland’s finest rugby players has been brought together in a new book.

‘David Rollo Local Hero’ - written by local author Andrew Arbuckle - is being launched next Monday at 7pm at the new Howe of Fife rugby pavilion in Duffus Park, Cupar,

Dave, a sprightly 82-year-old, held a record number of international rugby caps playing for Scotland - 40- as well as a list of other notable achievements. Those included touring with the British and Irish Lions – one of the few Scots to have been awarded such an honour.

A pile of old scrapbooks collated by Dave’s wife, Jean, were produced for Andrew, although there were no photos of young Dave playing rugby at Bell Baxter as he enjoyed football until he was 19.

The photos revealed his rise through the ranks at the Howe and on to the international scene.

His first game against England was at Twickenham, but only 20 minutes from the start, he was flat on his back on the turf having been knocked out.

After being revived and his broken nose stuffed with cotton wool, he returned to the fray, playing so well his efforts were singled out by the commentators.

For most of the rest of the 1960s, his name was reckoned to be among the first to be written on the Scottish team sheet and it led Dave to be invited to play for the British and Irish Lions tour of South Arica in 1962.

He also played for all the major invitational sides, such as the Barbarians and the Co-optimists.

Dave competed in an amateur era, where he turned out for his country on a Saturday and was back feeding his cattle the next morning.

Training was based on physical farm work, long before the days of lifting weights in a gym and circuit training.

His current fitness was evident only last week when he was spotted tucking a heavy pallet of his books under his arm and carrying them to his house!

Throughout three decades playing rugby – a sport often associated with rough, tough play – he was only spoken to once by the referee and he was never sent off. But he was no soft touch, being more than able to hold his own in the dark shadows of the scrum.

The book contains a chapter on Dave and Jean’s daughter, Pat, who over a decade, represented Scotland and the UK in her athletic career. There are also many of Dave’s off-the-field high-jinks and escapades.

The book will also be available from The Courtyard Bookshop, Cupar, J & G Innes, St Andrews and directly from Andrew Arbuckle (01337 870209). Dave and Andrew will also be signing copies in Innes’s on November 5, between 10.30 and 11.30.