One of Scotland’s oldest clubs will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a match against Co-optomosits and a gala dinner.
Edinburgh Wanderers were formed in 1868 and merged with Murrayfield RFC in 1997 to become Murrayfield Wanderers.
The club has had a full and colourful history from initial membership of the English Rugby Football Union to providing the greatest number of lady internationalists through its powerhouse women’s section.
The club is about to mark a new chapter as it moves from the Murrayfield Stadium back pitches to a new home but will play against Co-optomists there tomorrow followed by a dinner for more than 400 guests to celebrate the milestone.
Former Wanderer, Scotland internationalist, SRU president Alan Lawson said: “Wanderers has a fine tradition of being an open and welcoming club. Until the 1970s it was one of the few open clubs and as such had a special place in Scottish Rugby as FP clubs only admitted former pupils.
“Playing at the home of Scottish rugby is also a special magnet and attraction for the club. It is a thrill for those youngsters, men and women, from the club and indeed every visiting team, who get the chance to play there.
“Back when I played in the 70s Jimmy Thain, the head groundsman, regularly let us play on the international pitch, telling us: “The pitch also has to be match fit.”. What a thrill to change in the International changing rooms and run down the tunnel on to the hallowed turf.”
The club was established by Herbert Radcliffe as the first truly open club in the east of Scotland and played all its games away from home in its early existence, as it had no ground.
Arthur Conan Doyle used to watch matches sharing a carriage with his friend, the team captain George Budd, who he later incorporated as a character in his novel the The Stark Munro Letters.
Along with five other Scottish clubs, Wanderers were initially admitted to the Rugby Football Union in 1872. They joined the then Scottish Football Union the following year, withdrawing from the English body.
Another former SRU president and ex-Wanderer, Ian Rankin, who will speak at tomorrow night’s dinner, added: “What a fantastic achievement for any club to reach the milestone of 150 years, providing the opportunities for generations of men and women to enjoy the greatest team game in the world and Wanderers now join that very exclusive club.
“Their achievements over the last 150 years on and off the pitch including being the first club to coach and play mini rugby on Sundays which is now accepted as the norm and sits equally alongside their contribution to Scotland and the Lions.
“The gathering of 400 at Murrayfield sharing their particular memories of the past and looking forward to the future on Saturday will be a fitting manner to mark this momentous occasion.”