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Playing against exiles in annual fixture was great experience for young Ross Sutherland squad

By Andrew Henderson

Ross Sutherland captain Jamie Johnston says the club’s annual memorial game was a great experience for the younger Stags in the squad.

For the second year in a row, Johnston picked up the winning trophy in a 44–20 win against an Exiles XV made up of former players who were in the area for the festive period.

Some of those players have moved on to other clubs, playing in higher divisions now, while others have hung up their boots.

Ross Sutherland came out on top in the memorial match against the Exiles, winning 44-20. Picture: Peter Carson
Ross Sutherland came out on top in the memorial match against the Exiles, winning 44-20. Picture: Peter Carson

The youthfulness of the current Stags squad has been well-noted this season, but Johnston says there was plenty of scope to learn even in the friendly game.

“It’s an absolutely fantastic experience, even for myself playing in the second row,” Johnston said.

“We had a young lad, Mitchell McSpadden propping for us, up against a club stalwart, about 40.

“It’s good to see how he gets on against someone who knows all the tricks of the trade.

“Hopefully the younger lads will have learned a little bit to take into the rest of the season.”

The match between the former players and current squad is played in memory of former Ross Sutherland players Daniel Rafferty and Dave Mackay.

After a close first half, the Stags’ superior fitness started to make a difference against the Exiles, and they pulled away to claim the victory.

But the result was secondary for Johnston, who was pleased that the match was able to help give something back to the community.

“I didn’t actually know the end result, but I know that the Stags won,” the Englishman laughed.

“There were over 100 people there on the sidelines, and that was the main point of the day – to remember two fantastic lads who were taken far too early.

“It’s good that the club was able to remember those two lads, and also to give something back into the community as well.

“We had a fundraising raffle at auction afterwards, we’re not sure exactly how much we’ve raised, but we’ve raised some money to go towards both the clubhouse redevelopment and also a charity for a cousin of one of the young gentlemen that lost his life.

“It’s always good to have a run out, but I think the main thing is that we’ve been able to raise a bit of money for them as well, which is fantastic.”

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