Dave Cherry will be forever grateful to Stuart Hogg for priceless moment
Dave Cherry says he must have thanked Stuart Hogg “about 30 times” for allowing him to lift the Calcutta Cup with Cam Redpath after the stunning win over England at Twickenham last month.
It was a fine gesture by the Scotland captain, pushing the new boys forward to enjoy their moment in the sun on such a momentous occasion.
While much of the post-match euphoria centred on Redpath and the maturity of his performance on his Scotland bow, fellow debutant Cherry also deserved plaudits for the sheer determination he showed to get him to that point.
The Edinburgh hooker turned 30 in January and admitted this week as he prepared for Sunday’s home game with Ireland that there were moments earlier in his career when he thought the chance had passed him by.
A Scotland under-20 international, Cherry’s route to a full cap was circuitous. When he failed to win a professional contract in Scotland, he headed south to join London Scottish in the English Championship, a tough breeding ground.
A move “sideways” to Stade Nicois in France followed before he answered the siren call of home and joined Edinburgh in 2018.
“The time I thought it had passed me by was when I was a lot younger and playing in the Championship,” he explained. “It’s a notoriously hard place to get out of! There are times there when you wonder if you’re ever going to kick on or not as time was marching on. I then went to France which was a bit of a sideways step to go forward.
“But I’m here now as I always believed in myself. Sometimes you need a bit of luck but that’s life. I’ve created my own luck by working hard and I’ve been given my opportunity. I’ve taken it with both hands and I’m relishing every moment that I’m in camp or on the field
“It’s all panned out for me now thanks mainly to my own resilience. I have the mantra of never giving up and I guess that’s paid dividends for me.”
Cherry’s appearance as a second-half substitute at Twickenham was the culmination of everything he had grafted for but it was all over in a flash for the hooker
“It was so surreal. The whole day was over way too quickly for my liking! I remember sitting in the stand and looking at the clock and I was like, ‘how’s that 60 minutes gone already?’
“And then it came to the end of the game, and I was in it, and then the final whistle was there before you knew it.
“And then when Hoggy asked me to lift the cup - I think I’ve thanked him about 30 times. It was over so quickly. We zoomed my family in the changing rooms when I got my cap. I look back on it and it’s still a bit unbelievable really.
“To have my first cap at Twickenham and win the Calcutta Cup - you couldn’t write that, especially with the journey I’ve been on in my career.”