Paul McCLOSKEY aims to steer Dunbar to RBS National Bowl success against Helensburgh at Murrayfield tomorrow – then suspend his coaching career to return to the playing ranks.
The frustration of being on the outside looking in is etched on the face of the one time Penicuik utility player who moved to Dunbar and became absorbed into the coaching set-up after breaking his leg.
“I’m 42 years old and would still like to be out there playing,” said Paul, a financial crime investigator with Standard Life in Edinburgh. Coaching takes up a lot of time that could be spent playing while you can. I don’t need to make a decision just now, though, and firstly it would be great to try to help the lads get some reward for an awful lot of hard work.”
That hard work was recognised with the latest “Club of the Month” award from Scottish Rugby partly recognising the seniors winning East Division Two while the colts won the Edinburgh and District under-18 Division Two and the under-16s won their cup.
Club captain Jamie Peters, one of five sets of brothers represented in tomorrow’s squad, says: “Previously we lost guys to Haddington because we didn’t have a youth structure but that is now sorted.
“Against a Helensburgh club we have never faced previously we will have four under-18s in Gary Peebles, Sandy Thomson, Stuart Crighton and Chris Bryce which has got to be good for the future. There is also a good bit of experience while my brother, Gary, played for Dunbar’s junior football team until he became a bit disillusioned and decided to switch over. Because of his natural talent he adjusted pretty quickly.”
Adds McCloskey, who was coached himself at Penicuik by such luminaries as ex-Grand Slam captain, Jim Aitken, and former Edinburgh flanker and captain Simon Cross: “There is a fantastic community spirit at the club and there will be busloads travelling up from East Lothian.”