Peter Mitchell became a valued Trend columnist nearly six years ago after 37 years on the Press and Journal, latterly as a Diary writer. For Trend, he has interviewed lots of prominent people including TV’s Angela Rippon. He is also much in demand as an amusing MC and after-dinner speaker.
The name of the game at Aberdeen Grammar Rugby is bringing on local talent, not recruiting expensive imports, and doing the job as lead coach this season is Inverurie’s finest, Stuart Corsar. But can he restore this proud club back to Scotland’s Premier division from which it was relegated last season?
‘It is going to be very tough as we will be meeting some excellent teams from Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Borders,’ said the bearded former prop who played for Glasgow Warriors and travelled the world with Scottish teams. ‘Our main focus is to build a structure in the next couple of years to enable us to compete at the top level.’
We met at the Rubislaw playing fields where Grammar play their home games, and which becomes a sea of youngsters, both boys and girls, on Sundays. Said Stuart, ‘We have terrific support from mums and dads who see how much fun their children have learning the game.’
‘We are very conscious that rugby is a contact game and can look quite fierce but we nurture the youngsters in the early stages with touch rugby.’
The game in the North-east has also received a welcome boost from the sport’s governing body, Scottish Rugby, which is investing in an academy to be based at Aberdeen University’s Hillhead Centre, with support from the city council to make part of Seaton Park available.
It’s an exciting time for Stuart, especially as he is also Grammar’s development officer and will be in the thick of the action ahead. However, he is at pains to stress the values of the game he tries to passion to all players – respect, honesty and integrity.
It’s nearly 20 years since Stuart, then a pupil at Strathburn Primary in Inverurie, was introduced to the game with Garioch Rugby Club. It can take great pride in what he has achieved, albeit not without plenty of knocks along the way. ‘Just call it character building,’ he said with a smile.