Match Preview: Hillhead Jordanhill RFC Vs. Ardrossan Academicals RFC

KO 7:45pm at the Hillhead Sports Club, Friday 25th August 2017

In a repeat of last year’s opening cup tie, Ardrossan Academicals RFC travel up to Glasgow to take on Hillhead Jordanhill RFC in the opening round of the BT Cup.

Last year’s game was a tense affair with Hills struggling to integrate new coaches and new playing systems. In the end, Ardrossan ran out 24-17 winners to claim victory in a match that could have gone either way.

However, this year feels different.

The Hills have enjoyed a full pre-season under new coaches Dean Kelbrick and Graeme Blackhall. Fitness and skills are both up on where they were last year and the team has returned to a simpler, fast-flowing brand of rugby.

Returning players will remember last year’s cup game well and know that the result stood on a knife edge. A single moment of Rory Harte magic or a lone break from Owen Gemmell could have changed the momentum — and the result — of the match.


Head to Head

During the 2016/17 season, Hillhead Jordanhill and Ardrossan Accies met a total of three times — twice in the league and once in the cup.

Ardrossan ran out winners in all three fixtures.

However, it’s worth noting that two of Ardrossan’s wins came by one score or less. The opening cup game ended 24 points to 17 and the league fixture finished at 13 points to 7. Both games were there to be won.


Team Announcement

Official team announcement by Thursday 24th August.


Match Details

🏉 Hillhead Jordanhill RFC Vs. Ardrossan Academicals RFC

🏆 BT Cup

📍 Hillhead Sports Club

🗓 25th August

🕐 7:45pm

💌 RSVP on Facebook

Hilljills Appoint New Coaching Team

Hillhead/Jordanhill RFC are proud to announce the appointment of a new women’s coaching team for season 2017/18. Thomas Davidson has taken up the helm alongside assistant coaches Morgan Martin and Tonci Buzov.

Thomas Davidson was the Head Coach for Jordanhill School for season 2016/17 and is currently the Head Coach for the BT Academy Glasgow North U16. Thomas ordinarily plays for Cartha QP RFC however he is unable to play this season due to injury.

Morgan Martin, who hails from Lanarkshire, has previously coached women’s rugby abroad, most notably in Australia. His last role was Assistant Coach to the NSW State Junior Women. He is currently playing 1st XV rugby for Hamilton RFC.

Tonci Buzov is the current Head Coach for Strathclyde University Men and is also a junior boys’ coach at Whitecraigs RFC. He is a Croatian International and is in the process of obtaining a degree in rugby coaching. He was the Hills Men’s 1st XV Captain for season 2015/16.

Fiona Dorman, Vice President for Women’s Rugby, said, “These are really exciting appointments for us as a club. All three of the coaches have played for Hills in the past and it is pleasing to have them come back home to Hughenden. The women will shortly begin a dedicated strength and conditioning programme to supplement their Wednesday and Thursday nights’ training. We aim to have the most comprehensive and supportive club programme for women’s rugby in Scotland.”

Pre-season for the junior girls and women started on 26 July 2017. Training will be on Wednesday and Thursday nights at Hughenden (Hillhead Sports Club, 32 Hughenden Road, Glasgow, G12 9XP).

Training for the junior girls commences at 5:30pm and the women’s training commences at 7pm- all welcome. Pre-season fixtures are still to be announced.

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Dr. Iain Todd

It is with extreme sadness that I advise of the passing this morning, Wednesday the 2nd August, of Dr. Iain Todd at Buchanan House nursing home, Drymen.

In his ninety third year, Iain had lived independently until only very recently, when declining health required him to move to Buchanan House.

To describe “Toddy” as a kenspeckle rugby figure would overlook and undersell his many achievements in the game of rugby union, both at amateur and professional level, as a leading administrator in the domestic game in Scotland and eventually as president of the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) in the first year the game became professional in 1995.

“Toddy” was a leading figure in the prominent rise of the Glasgow district side (GDRU) in the days of the old unofficial championship. He served on the GDRU from the mid 1970’s, and in tandem on many of the committees at Murrayfield and also on its general committee.

His spiritual home was, however, always Hughenden, the ground of Hillhead HSFP RFC and latterly Hillhead Jordanhill RFC. He was able to trace his lineage to the World War 1 memorial panel in the current Sports Club bar where his uncle’s name was inscribed. On demob from the army in 1947, he played in the 1st XV, but the pressures of early family life and his work as a GP restricted his on field contributions.

His early committee life was as rugby secretary and, among other duties, he was 1st XV touch judge, always ensuring he packed his kit bag with his playing gear, without his wife Isobel’s knowledge, in case the “team was ever short”! He had and enjoyed for many years a formidable reputation as grounds convener, not perhaps as severe as a “keep off the grass” approach, but more sympathetic to the long term seasonal needs of the Hughenden pitches.

In his later years, Dr. Todd was a faithful attender at all the Hills home games at Hughenden and was regularly present during season 2016/2017, driving himself from his home in Drymen to the grounds in the west end of Glasgow. Always first up to the function room for the pre-match lunches, he remained as knowledgeable about the game as ever and totally committed to the Hills. “Toddy” was absolutely delighted when he became one of the first inductees in April 2014 to the HiIls legends at a ceremony in the clubhouse, and also later that year when he enjoyed his 90th birthday celebrations, again at Hughenden, with his extended family.

The club at Hughenden and the wider rugby community has lost a highly respected member of its family, but to Iain’s own family all at HJRFC extend their sincerest condolences. Funeral arrangements will follow when available.

Hillhead Jordanhill and Petone

Petone RFC was founded in 1885, located near Wellington, New Zealand. The club is famed for its competitiveness and its social attributes and holds close ties with Hillhead Jordanhill RFC, initiated in 1995 with the arrival of Matt Lee at Hughenden. Petone RFC has to date produced 30 All Blacks and 16 NZ Maori representatives including Andy Leslie (NZ Rugby Union President in 2007 and 2008) and Tana Umaga who have both captained the international side. They have also produced many players for the NZ Womens Black Ferns. In addition, players have also represented Scotland, England, Italy, Tonga, Australia, Samoa, Sweden, Spain and the British and Irish Lions. John and Martin Leslie have worn the dark blue of Scotland with distinction and now Nick Grigg has received his first cap.

With the British and Irish Lions touring, the club had organised festivities in the lead up to the second test at Westpac Stadium. This included a Māori Hangi evening, Golf day, Craft ale beer tasting and Test referees Q&A. It was in the back drop of the referees Q & A session that a HJRFC reunion was organised. This provided past and present players / coaches of Hills and Petone to meet, reminisce and celebrate the connection of the clubs. This night also had appearances from Gavin Hastings, Ricky Flutely, Nick Grigg and even the current Lions physio and Hills centre during the 1990s, Bob Stewart. The night was kicked off by the Petone RFC president Jon Roper welcoming everyone to the club but also gave special mention to the ties with Hillhead Jordanhill RFC. Below are some of the past and present players:

John “Zinny” McCormick: Second Row for Hills through the 90’s. Petone Club Manager.
Bob Stewart: Centre,  played for Hills in the 90’s. England and British Lions Physio.
Jason Adamson: Hooker, played in the 90’s for Hills, capped by Samoa.
Tama McGrath: Centre, played for Hills in the 90’s, now lives in Napier.
Paul Assur: Winger, Played in the 90’s for Hills. Now involved in coaching
Matt Lee: Player/Coach, Hills 1995 – 1999 former Petone and Hutt Old Boys Marists. Now coaching Wellington Lions and St Patricks School.
Iain MacCallum: Prop 1987 – 1997, also coached Hills Ladies and Lenzie. Coached Riverton Junior rugby.
Emma MacCallum: 1998 – 1999 Hills Ladies now GP in Riverton.
Hector McIntyre: Present Hills player.
Harry Preston: Present Hills player.
Andy Leslie: Petone player, All Black captain early 70s > Father played for Hibs and sons Martin and John played for Scotland and Edinburgh. The boys were often at Hughenden due to Matt Lee.
Martin Malone: Present Hills player.
Rory Dunro: Second Row, played 1998 season with Hills former Petone player.

Set up as a club for families and all the community they hold matches from mini through to very successful Senior Men’s and Woman’s teams. As their 2017 season comes to a close four of their teams have so far reached semi-finals.

More information about Petone RFC can be found here: We would encourage any Hills player and supporter to visit Petone if they are venturing to New Zealand. Having had a great experience at Petone, we would encourage any Hills players or supporters to visit the club if you are in the area.

Hillhead Jordanhill RFC would like to invite those from Petone who may be visiting Glasgow to come along to support or play!

Fire Starter

Hills ignite new season with a strong first pre-season session

Last night was a perfect Scottish summer evening to start preparation for the new season. 56 senior players attended the club’s first session to prepare for Season 2017-18 and many faces are still to appear. Players were welcomed with a Mo’Farah fitness test to measure everyone’ work baseline; followed by an intense session including fitness work, skills development and a lot of game action. Overall a good effort in a great atmosphere.

Dean Kelbrick commented: “there was a huge effort from everyone, which was good to see. It gives us a benchmark as to how we want to work on our development this season” and added “The club fields 3 male and 1 female senior team through the season, so it’s great to see that we have started with this kind of turnout”

Pre-season for seniors will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 18:45 sharp, with Saturday sessions from the 29th July (Club’s Day) and pre-season fixtures on the 5th and 12th of August.


Hannah Smith SRU Top Player

Scotland & Hillhead Jordanhill RFC Hannah Smith was crowned BT Women’s Premier League Player of the Season at the Annual SRU Award dinner.

Hannah was recently celebrated as Player of the Match in the Sarah Beaney Cup Final, where her aptitude, skills and unshaken mental strengh unleached the Hilljills to victory.

The SRU stated the Scotland Women international took home the award for BT Women’s Premier League Player of the Season following her performances during the year, not least her outstanding contribution to Hillhead Jordanhill’s victory in the Sarah Beaney Cup.

The veterinary surgeon began playing rugby at the age of 17 at Stirling County. She first joined Hillhead Jordanhill Women in 2011/12 when settling in Glasgow to study. She also played for Lichfied RUFC while working down South before retuning to Scotland this season.

Hannah seized her full international debut for Scotland Women against France in the 2013 Six Nations. She went on to earn seven caps before suffering an injury in the 2016 Six Nations. But, we definitely hope to see the talented 24-year-old contributing further to the National XV squad.

Hannah was selected for the Scotland Women 7s squad ahead of the 2017 Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Trophy. She travels to the Czech Republic this weekend, with Abi and Louise, for the first leg of the Trophy. First game on Saturday 09:44 BST.

Congratulation and good luck Hannah!

Success at Ayr Beach Rugby

Turnberry Beach Rugby this year was slightly different: there was no Turnberry and no actual beach!

Instead, TBR was made part of Land O’Burns Weekender Festival, with the beach rugby being held at Ayr Rugby Club last weekend. Creatively, the beach was brought to Millbrae and a sand rugby pitch marked out on part of the main pitch.

Men’s, ladies’ and junior teams competed throughout the day. Hills entered two ladies teams: Hills (those who had played at Turnberry before) and Jills (those who had not) played in the round robin stages against Greenock Wanderers, Cumnock, The Bill McLaren Foundation and Ayr.

Both teams reached the final through some entertaining matches, to offer a dramatic Hills vs Jills finish. After being tied at full time following some great tries by both sides, Jills scored the sudden death winner courtesy of Andrea Gaffney. Player of the tournament was Aimée Watson, Hills captain for the day.

Thanks to everyone at Ayr Rugby Club for a great day.

Featured picture by keen eye Alan Graham & plenty more of the event HERE
Report by Heather Lockhart

This Sunday 4th June, both Hilljills senior and junior (Under 18 and Under 15) teams travel to Murrayfield to contest the National 7’s. The juniors play in the morning whilst the first match for the senior team is scheduled for 13:35. Supporters always welcome.



Breakfast with the Lions

The Hills and Cafe Source Too invite you to Hughenden for the 3 test matches against the All Blacks:

Saturday 24th June
Saturday 1st July
Saturday 8th July

Enjoy a full Scottish breakfast with a fresh orange juice, toast, tea/coffee while watch the game in the Sports Bar.
Breakfasts are £10pp and must be booked at Cafe Source Too in person or by email, before close of business on the Thursdays prior to games.

Any question, please refer to Bernie

Am Fior Spiorad

Contacted by former head coach Chris Reid, Hillhead Jordanhill was invited to take part in the TRI Social 10’s Rugby Festival at Kilmanock RFC on Saturday 20th May.

Trust Rugby International (TRI) is a proactive, Scottish based charity, whose goal is to bring individuals and communities together through an integrative practice of rugby. They are also particularly involved in running Clan Teams (unified teams) in Glasgow, Ayrshire and Edinburgh, which incorporate and socialise players with learning disabilities.

With the help of our own Owen Gemmell, who has been involved with TRI for a while already, the Hills assembled a cross-club squad which head the A77 for the event. Ayrshire weather opened up for the occasion, ladies games and men games were played side by side in a nice and sunny atmosphere.

Playing unified rugby can be a bit distabalising at first, but it becomes very quickly enjoyable. It improves head up rugby with adapting constantly to your teamate or opposite player. Overall, it allows everyone to enjoy the social spirit of the game and integrating and very wide range of wisdom/age and skills.

After the unified games, the Hillhead Jordanhill delegation was challenged to a crafty game with the “Ba Ba’s”, the matured Kilmarnock RFC team. We saw the, so far contained, competitiveness of both side raise in a tight and high scoring game with the Hills very narrowly overcoming.

At the end of the day, the Hills squad was very honored to receive the “Am Fior Spiorad” festival trophy, rewarding its positive involvement and attitude. The “True Spirit” quaich is now sitting proudly in the sport bar.

Trust Rugby International is running numerous trainings and events in Glasgow and Scotland and are always looking for players keen to get involved in their Clan teams to share and transmit their passion.

Hills Squad: Owen Gemmell, Rory Dewar, Andy Bolster, Stephen Cunniffe, Grahame Cannell, Loïs Legendre, Darryl Elvin, Romain Fourdinier, Shane Fergus ‘the Hurricane’ McCormick, Mark Orr, Rory Harte, Hector McIntyre, Alan Cardno and the enlightning support from Josh, Josh, Darren and Andrew.

Pictures from Chris Reid & Jamie Armstrong

Hills Annual Player Awards Dinner

The Prizewinners and All the Chat

This eagerly awaited event at the end of the 2016/2017 season was characterised  by the usual mixture of the sublime  and the ridiculous, the details of which will unfold rapidly for those anxious enough to feast on all the gossip.   After all  as someone very famous once said .. “ we all hate to spread gossip but what else can we really do with it… “

It is important at the outset to note that the ladies present, some twenty number, had determined to make an impression such was their combined excellence in dress, (very occasional) décolletage and (initially) demeanour.   The men by comparison presented  as mostly dour and uninspiring in their dress sense with, however, some notable exceptions. Martin Malone wore his kilt but there were no  substantiated reports at the time of going to print  if there was anything worn under the kilt; Calum Forrester ,a guest of Dean Kelbrick’s, clearly thought he was attending a dinner in some upmarket gaff being attired in his “DJ” with bow tie, while Messers Scott (snr) and Legendre were resplendent in their “Hills” waistcoats. This was then one of those occasions when the Ladies came out on top of the men!!

The meal was up to the usual high Café Source Too standard, but a surprise awaited the ladies’ when the dessert, a wonderful caramel (?) cheesecake, was served them by one of the “Chippendales” (aka Ryan Williamson). This appearance provided a fertile ground for all the usual wisecracks about apparatus and equipment. The bold Williamson did, however, suffer some damage to his ego, if not his manhood, by being advised by the Ladies spokesperson, Kirsty McConnell, an alleged connoisseur of matters to do with “tackle”, that he was very much “size inappropriate”. To keep spirits up during the first comfort break prior to the speeches, Abi Evans reinforced her image as an outstanding  athlete by doing “chin ups”  and swinging from one of the roof beams. Those familiar with the works of the eminent zoologist, Desmond Morris, will recognise these behavioural traits.

Then it was onto the speeches. Stuart Irvine who, admittedly on the flimsy evidence of only one speech, is recommended not to rush to  give up his day job spoke for the men. He did provide one good line for the discerning among the diners with his remark about James  Reekie always running “hard lines“. “Waldorf and Statler” really enjoyed that one, thinking aloud it was indeed “hardlines” that they had attended, but Stuart was applauded for his efforts; never easy to be a prophet in your own country. Georgie Keys, “A lady in red” for the evening, was all Transatlantic sorority and engaging with the girls in the team. It was generally agreed that the decision not to have bread rolls at the meal  had contributed to an improved feeling of health and safety for the speakers and their general wellbeing. There was regrettably, however, the occasional missile, either a napkin doused in lager or a slice of lemon, but the collateral damage was limited.

The awards proved as popular as ever, with the presenters having their differing styles of delivery. Loïs Legendre with his usual Gallic flair and Stuart “The Speaker” Irvine presided over the awards for the 2A and the 2nd XV’s.  European football has its “golden Boot“ award for their top player, and Loïs’s answer to that fashion statement is a rugby boot presented as a phallic symbol, “mounted” on an impressively polished plinth. Matt Rea (most improved player) and Ben Chaddock (player of the year) captured the 2A’s prizes; and Matt Murray (most improved player) and David Webster (player of the year) garnered the votes  for the 2nd XV. Chairman Andy Scott (Snr) who performed well under duress all night, distributed the 1st XV awards to Jamie Maddox (most improved player), Owen Gemmell (player of the year) and Rory Harte, (Players’ player  of the year). The latter, known affectionately as “Golden balls“ to some present, seemed rather off colour and became more overwhelmed by the occasion as the evening wore on. Perhaps he became dizzy as a result of the greatness imposed upon his callow shoulders? Bringing up the rear of the “Oscars” was Ladies coach Dean Kelbrick who dazzled the audience with a welter of statistics about the Ladies performance over the season: games won; points scored; tries scored;  record numbers of girls/ladies with representative honours, it flowed. The awards for the Ladies went to Aimee Watson (Most improved), Hannah Smith (Players’ player) and Hannah Telling (Player of the year). Winding up, Dean thanked  Graeme Blackhall for his help and then delivered the best line of the night, perhaps a Freudian slip, when he asked Mairi McDonald to thank Fergus Matheson (absent for the evening) for his help.  No-one present  doubted  that would not take place.  Finally the demure and sober Louise MacMillan, captain of the ladies 1st XV, made presentations to Messers Kelbrick and Blackhall on their retirals as coaches to the ladies.

It was unfortunate that the formal part of the evening then concluded rather too swiftly without any vote of thanks to the Dinner Convener, Douglas Grove, who had worked tirelessly to deliver the evening and the “Hills” President, Andrew Scott (snr) for his seamless performance  in continuity announcing. But by then the youth had evacuated to boogy on the dance floor and Rory Harte  was ready for the knackers’ yard.

PS: The usual process of contacting A and E departments on the morning after the night before to check on diners’ welfare was severely hampered by lack of communications due to the malware problems afflicting the NHS. A chance visit however to HQ this morning revealed at least two pairs  of high heels had been left in the function room. Ladies being swept off their feet!!

Bernie “The Bunnett’ Mitchell