John Gibson: Norrie delivered a wreath marked RIP

Norrie Rowan. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Norrie Rowan. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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HE ROARED up to our lunch table, crash helmet under his arm. “I’ve just robbed a bank. I’ve left the bike at the door.’’ Norrie Rowan. Who else? As well that eavesdroppers at the next table were promptly reassured.

A reliable harbinger of good gossip, he’d been in Amsterdam for the sevens, Rugby Ecosse having won their section. He presented the prizes for the Sevens and Tens.

“I took Jimi McRae – Jimi the Piper – with me. He never stopped playing over the three days.” Norrie added: “They’ll open a rugby museum there soon. Way ahead of Scotland. I’ve donated stuff to it.

“We’ve been going to open one here for the last 20 years. It’s all in boxes and the storage costs will be higher than actually opening a museum. Typical Scotland, the coo’s tail.”

Ever an ideas man, Rowan believes it would make financial sense to turn Tynecastle into a dual venue with a synthetic pitch, rugby on Friday nights, football on Saturdays or whenever. Convenient for both sets of fans. One entrance for the rugby crowd, the other for footie fans. Makes too much sense for rugby’s administrators. That’s the problem.”

I left him to get back on his bike, a BMW, while valets spruced up his car. He should have been down in the mouth. Boroughmuir, his team for 17 seasons mostly as prop, once as captain, have been relegated.

“We are the artisans’ club, working class compared with the uppity Heriots of this world.” In a characteristic Rowanesque touch he sent his former club a wreath marked RIP. “When they bounce back I’ll congratulate them with a laurel wreath.”

Delivered by motor-bike?