A View from the Touchline: 9.11.18.
A weekend of Remembrance – Campbell Reynolds.
This weekend marks one hundred years since the Armistice and the ending of the Great War, which wrought so much devastation and change for local communities; a generation lost on the battlefields of foreign countries, and the memories that still haunt all parts of this green and pleasant land today.
As a school boy, in the 1950s, I wondered why there was a series of wide ridges that ran across the width of the town’s rugby pitch? These undulations caused many a flying wing from the visiting opposition to lose their balance and stumble just short of the try line. My generation considered that the barely discernible ridges were a feature of the natural contours of the valley’s landscape. It was not until the 1970s, when the club had enough funds to level and upgrade the pitch, that the true story was revealed.
As local boys answered Kitchener’s call and signed up for military service in 1914, they were billeted in and around the town, and preparation for combat started almost immediately. As the months went by a new strategy developed on the ‘Western Front’ – trench warfare. It was considered that the new recruits needed training for the construction of these fortifications, and hence the local rugby pitch was dug up as part of their instruction, before these young men were shipped off to France. I now understand that this was quite common throughout Britain. The memories of sports enthusiasts are constantly stirred by circumstances and events that touch and shape lives; and it still happens today.
Every community, and institution will have their characters, and in every sense of the word, none was bigger than the Currie Chieftains Director of Rugby, Campbell Reynolds, whose passing leaves a void that only time can fill. He grew up with the fledgling rugby club, and has left an indelible mark as a player, coach and respected advisor to those striving to make Currie RFC a leading light in Scottish rugby football; Campbell had the Malleny philosophy flowing through his veins – with effort, improve and develop into a better player, club and community.
Back in the 1980s, when the rugby upstarts from SW Edinburgh were climbing through the National Leagues, a larger than life figure, dressed in a flamboyant black and yellow suit could be seen patrolling the touchline and encouraging his team. You would never experience any outrageous comments pitch-side, but you could look forward to a passionate, constructive and often hilarious after-match discourse in the clubhouse.
Campbell was a master of the one-liners, his wit was clever and endearing; following one unexpected defeat, a Currie supporter questioned – ‘How did we lose that one?’ Campbell’s cool reply – ‘We were just not good enough.’ He was always honest and straight to the point with his comments, which could be sharp, but they never intended malice; Campbell always gave as good as he got.
With the passing of his great friend and mentor, Graham ‘Greco’ Hogg, another man who had helped to build Currie RFC into the force it is, Campbell stepped up to the plate and took the role of Director of Rugby. It has been a turbulent twelve months for the club, especially with the proposed upheaval to the current league structure. From the outset of this edict, Campbell was resolute – ‘Whatever happens Currie Chieftains can and will remain in the top echelons of Scottish club rugby.’
The memory of Campbell Reynolds will remain at Malleny Park for many years; a big man with a big attitude for anything connected to rugby football, particularly when it involved Currie Chieftains – Big Cam will be sadly missed.
I.J.S – 9.11.18.