The start of the new season marks a historic milestone in the life of a Glenrothes sporting institution.
For the players and staff, past and present, of Glenrothes Rugby Club will be celebrating their 50th anniversary since forming in the town back in early 1965.
The club was founded by a group of enthusiasts, including current committee stalwart Ken Campbell, in 1965 with the desire to bring together rugby players and and anyone from the new town who was interested in the game.
From humble beginnings, the club quickly established themselves in Fife rugby circles.
Over the years, many of the players received representative recognition at district level and beyond, and the club can boast a club international player and half a dozen Scottish caps at youth level, including a Glenrothes front row of Young, Crombie and Grant playing for Scotland’s under 21s in 2007.
Particular mention must be made of full internationals Iain Paxton and Dave McIvor, both of whom learned their trade at Carleton Park before leaving for Selkirk and Edinburgh Accies respectively and Scotland jerseys.
Paxton, who also represented the British Lions against the All Blacks in New Zealand, returned to coach the team as his playing career ended, and McIvor still has close ties to the Glens.
In the 1970s and ‘80s Glenrothes enjoyed great success at both 15 and seven-a-side formats, regularly winning tournaments in the Midlands district.
At this time, the club was regularly fielding three senior teams (occasionally four) and a colts team. Currently, there are two senior teams and youth teams from P1 to under 18 level and, like all clubs, the Glens have had successful periods and less rewarding times. By 1982, the club had risen to National League 3, having spectacularly won Divisions 7, 6 and 5 in successive seasons between 1978 and 1981, a feat still revered in rugby circles.
Relegation after two years was disappointing but, by 1996, after assorted league reorganisations, the club had risen to SRU Premier League 4, having won National League 1 the previous season.
Currently, the club seems to be on an upward trajectory again, having won Caledonia League 2(Midlands) in 2012-13 and narrowly missing out on promotion in a three-team play-off.
Last season proved equally productive with a well-earned promotion to Caledonia League 1, while for the romantics out there, the club also fought its way through the various rounds to reach the final of the National Bowl competition for the first time in the side’s history. This popular and well respected club represents all that’s good in local amateur sport in the Glenrothes area. They rely heavily on many volunteers, parents, coaches, match day officials and committee, who all give up their time to ensure the continuing future of the Carleton Park outfit – and long may it continue.
The new season’s training is well under way and, while many of the current players are products of the club’s youth set-up, any new players wishing to join the club can expect a warm welcome from captain Kenny Christie and head coach Tom Hainey.
And so to the anticipation of another season of sweat, toil and hopefully another successful year.
The first home action of the season takes place at Carleton this Saturday, August 16, when Forrester’s are the visitors.
A youth training session starting at 12.30 p.m. will kick off the anniversary celebrations and any youngster interested in sampling what the club has to offer will be made very welcome at this, older spectators will be catered for with a post match barbeque.
Here’s to the next 50 years ...