Moray Rugby Football Club is a rugby union club from the city of Elgin, Moray that compete in the BT Caledonia 2 North. Moray also have a 2xv that competes in the BT Caledonia 3 North League. Moray has a number of youth teams taken from different age groups including micros and minis, S1 and S2, Under-16, Under-18 team. They play their rugby at Morriston Park in Elgin, Moray.
|Full name||Moray Rugby Football Club|
|Location||Elgin, Moray, Scotland|
|League(s)||BT Caledonia 2 North|
To introduce rugby into such a strong soccer stronghold as Elgin, took courage and was bound to bring setbacks. In fact, the first attempt was made as long ago as 1903 by the then rector of Elgin Academy. It was, however, not long before the oval ball was forced to give way to the round one.
Twenty years and World War 1 were to elapse before a second attempt was made and again the man responsible was a rector of Elgin Academy – Mr Iain Graham Andrew. As far as records show, the formation of the Moray Rugby Club took place on 3 March 1923 at a meeting in the drillhall in Elgin. Mr George C. Christie was elected as president. It was agreed that it was feasible to form a club and application was sent to the Scottish Rugby Union to become an affiliated member.
In September 1923 the town council approved the use of part of the local Cooper Park for the game of rugby by the Club. The first match took place against Inverness Highland when Moray won 14 – 5. In these early days, the opposition came from Highland, Ross-shire, and the Army sides. The club adopted the colours of Elgin Academy – Red and White shirts with Navy Blue shorts.
In 1925 the Brin Cup was donated for competition among the clubs in the North. Up until the outbreak of war in 1939, Moray went on to win this cup several times.
After hostilities ceased in 1945, the Club reconvened in September 1946 with Dr Thow as president, and a dentist called George Cusetter as captain. The amount of Naval and R.A.F. personnel stationed around the Moray area gave the Club many more teams to play and also helped to improve the standard of play.
A Valuable nursery was provided by Elgin Academy. Such was the enthusiasm for the game that it was not uncommon for some of the Senior Schoolboys to play for the School in the morning and for Moray in the afternoon.
In 1960, the Club moved their playing field to Morriston Park, and was able to field 2 teams.
In 1973, the Club celebrated its 50th anniversary when the rugby enthusiastic in the area had the privilege of seeing several internationalists playing for the presidents XV against the Moray Select. The Club was honoured by the presence of Dr. J.R.S. Innes, then Vice President of the Scottish Rugby Union, who proposed a toast to the Club at the official dinner after the game.
In 1975-76 the Club joined the S.R.U. Schweppe League in the 7th division and, by the end of the season, were promoted to the 6th division. During the club’s peak in the early 1980s, Moray reached the 5th division and ran 3 XV’s and a colts side.
The Club took another step forward when the Clubhouse was opened. This event was marked by a special game between the Presidents XV Select and the North Midlands Select on Sunday 25 October 1985. Special permission was obtained from the Scottish Rugby Union to play on a Sunday. After the game, the Clubhouse was opened by W.L. CONNON, the Vice President of the S.R.U.
In recent years, Moray has seen a period of success where it has narrowly missed out on promotion to BT Caledonia Division 1 on a number of occasions. In 2016-17 Moray finished 3rd in the league missing out on promotion to eventual champions Banff RFC. Despite this setback, Moray ended the season with silverware by winning the BT Caledonia North Regional Bowl when they defeated fierce local rivals RAF Lossiemouth 8-7. Moray also missed out on the opportunity to play at Murrayfield after a heartbreaking semi final defeat against Portobello in the National Bowl.
In 2017-18, for the first time in over 15 years, Moray were able to field a 2nd XV which entered BT Caledonia Division 3.
The 2016-17 season was one for silverware, yet one that ultimately ended in heartbreak. Moray started the season in impressive fashion, winning 9 out of their first 10 fixtures. Morriston proved to be a fortress for the Elgin men, as they spent the first half of the season unbeaten at their riverside home. A lengthy winter break caused to be problematic for Moray as their form dipped after the new year. Some damaging results, in particular narrow defeats to eventual champions Banff and a last minute defeat to Aberdeen Grammar 2xv eventually saw Moray finish 3rd, therefore missing out on promotion. The season was new head coach Barry Grimwood's first, and despite the eventual disappointment, the feeling around the club was optimistic that happier times lay ahead. The season saw Club Captain John Westmacott step down from the role after 3 seasons wearing the armband. Hulking No 8 John Stuart won the club's player of the year, while Centre Harvey Freeman finished up as top Try scorer. Winger Connor McWilliam finished as top points scorer after a consistent season with the right boot.
Despite the late season collapse in the league, the cup competitions provided Moray with silverware for the first time in nearly 5 years. Moray advanced to the final of the Caledonia North Regional Bowl, where they faced local rivals RAF Lossiemouth. A tense and dramatic final, Moray took the spoils when they scored a last minute penalty, courtesy of veteran Fly Half, Chris Clarke. Lossiemouth had initially taken the lead from a penalty, before John Stuart scored a try to make it 5-3 heading into the last quarter. A second Lossiemouth penalty saw the Owls take the lead before Clarke's last minute heroics.
Courtesy of winning the bowl, Moray were entered into the Caledonia national bowl where they were eventually knocked out at the semi final stage by Edinburgh-based Portobello. Another tense and dramatic encounter, the Edinbugh side ran out 17-10 winners.
The 2017-18 season saw several changes within the 1xv squad. There were several departures with Flanker Will Vernon and Winger Connor McWilliam leaving due to attendance at University, while centre Leon Keirl left for RAF Lossiemouth. Long serving hooker Lewis Higgins was named as new club captain, while his front row compatriots Mark Taylor and Nathan Gilmore were named as vice captains. The club also saw the return of veteran lock forward Callum Purcell, while Irish Flanker Stefan O Tobain joined the club. Fullback Callum Wright also returned to the red and white after leaving the British Army.
Moray continued their form from previous seasons and currently sit 2nd in the league. They have suffered just two defeats in the league, a surprise defeat to struggling Deeside and a home defeat to bitter rivals Highland 2xv. They remain the only team to so far beat runaway league leaders Ellon and currently sit 9 points behind the North Aberdeenshire team. Wing Lewis Scott, a converted forward, is the leading try scorer with 11 try's, while Callum Wright is leading the way for points scored.
The cup competition has been less successful as Moray were forced to withdraw from the 2017–18 Caledonia National Shield due to players being unavailable.
For the first time in over 15 years, Moray were able to field a 2xv team that entered BT Caledonia Division 3. Utility forward, Matthew Lackie was named Captain, while former front row, Richard Burgin was named head coach. The season has mainly been a struggle, as a new squad adapts to the rigours of Rugby in the 3rd division. A mixture of newcomers to the sport, players returning to the game after a period of absence and players making the step up from the under 18's has seen Moray suffer some chastising defeats. Moray currently sit 10th (third from bottom) however their performances have been better than their results suggest. The early signs are encouraging and giving time, this new team will grow and progress into a cohesive and competitive unit.
|Club President - Fraser Andrews
|Vice President - James Taylor
|Treasurer - Aileen Phillips
|Secretary - Yvonne Stuart
|Sponsorship - Mark Dunscombe
|Press Officer - Graham Stables
|Head Coach/Backs Coach - Barry Grimwood |Assistant Coach/Forward Coach - Doug Cooper |Team Manager - Gregor Hands |Team Physio - Matt Thomas |Captain - Lewis Higgins |Vice Captains - Nathan Gilmore and Mark Taylor
|Lewis Higgins - Hooker |Jordan Walton - Hooker |Mark Taylor - Prop |Nathan Gilmore - Prop |Stephen Reid - Prop |Connor Duncan - Lock |David Clarke - Lock/Flanker |John Westmacott - Lock |Callum Purcell - Lock |Chris Robottom - Flanker/Hooker |Marc Higgins - Flanker/Hooker |Neil Wiseman - Flanker/No 8 |Ruraidh Mckessack-Leitch - Flanker |Stefan O Tobain - Flanker |Ross Joy - No 8 |John Stuart - No 8/Flanker |Callum Watson - Scrum Half |Gregor Hands - Scrum Half |Jonny Haslam - Fly Half |Chris Clarke - Fly Half/Centre |Francois Du Toit - Centre/Fly Half |Alex Stronach - Centre |Ben Roberts - Centre |Cameron Renton - Centre |Harvey Freeman - Centre |Andrew McBean - Wing/Centre/Fullback |Kieran Young - Wing |Lewis Scott - Wing |Aaron Gilmore - Wing |Callum Wright - Fullback