Ross Sutherland switch annual game with exiles to summer for first time
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ROSS Sutherland marked their centenary year by shifting their annual memorial match with an Exiles XV from Boxing Day to the summer on an event dubbed the Glorious 12th.
The Stags came out on top as they defeated an Exiles outfit to lift the trophy at the Naval Grounds in Invergordon.
However, the scoreline was ilconsequential as the match was a chance to remember respected figures at the club in the past.
Daniel Rafferty, a former player at the club, died in accident at Ben Nevis in 2010 aged 19.
Former player Dave Mackay died before Christmas in 2012 aged 21.
Margaret Black, a stalwart of the club and described as the ultimate rugby mum, passed away aged 58.
Three trophies in their memory were presented after the matches on Saturday, with the winning team receiving the Daniel Rafferty Cup. The man of the match Ross Mellis received the Dave Mackay Cup and the Margaret Black Trophy was awarded for the minis player of the day who represented the spirit of the game.
Event spokesman Rob Parkes says it was a popular decision to shift the match from the festive period to the summer.
He says as well an excellent game of rugby being played, the trophies were a fitting tribute to three people who were respected by everyone who knew them at the club.
“It was the first time the match had been held since Covid and it was decided to move it outside the traditional Boxing Day date.
“It was moved to accommodate better weather for rugby and be easier for the players and spectators. We received a lot of goodwill from the families to shift the date.
“Having cups honouring the memory of those three people is something which was important for the club to do.”
“Ross Sutherland won the match, but the score was irrelevant.
“The exiles team consisted of a lot of players from Inverness Craig Dunain which was great for them to be involved, as some of them played for us in the past.
“It was also great Ross was named man of the match as he played alongside both of these teams for years.”
Parkes says due to the success of the event, it will be planned to play the memorial match during the summer on an annual basis.
Ross Sutherland are scheduled to start their Caledonia North Two campaign on Saturday, November 9 when they host Caithness 2nd’s.