SINCE it first opened its doors for business in 1868 Peebles Hydro has held innumerable functions but surely none with a bigger impact on the local sporting circuit than Saturday night when it hosted the Centenary Black-Tie Dinner and Ball for Peebles Rugby Club.

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The event played to a capacity audience of 200 which included dignitaries from the rugby world, players past and present and people from all across the Borders, the vast majority of whom were Peebles supporters.

The iconic guests included President of the Scottish Rugby Union Colin Rigby, Iwan Tukalo capped 37 caps for Scotland and part of the Grand Slam winning team in 1990 and Norrie Rowan, capped thirteen times for Scotland.

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Bob Hogarth, Chairman of the Centenary subcommittee welcomed every one and thanked them for the support they had given the Club. Following dinner, the guests were taken down memory lane by John Beattie.

John’s rugby pedigree includes 25 caps for Scotland, two tours with the British Lions to South Africa and New Zealand, coach at Glasgow Accies, Biggar and West of Scotland. Since retiring from the game, he has taken up a career in broadcasting and is a regular presenter on BBC Scotland’s news programme The Nine. He concluded by proposing the toast for the evening which was “To Rugby”

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The main speaker for the evening was originally billed as being Ian Landles, BEM and President of Hawick Rugby Club however he was unavoidably detained elsewhere with appendicitis. In the words of Eddie Jones, former coach of England “every club needs a selection of good finishers on the bench “and Peebles Rugby Club certainly had that box ticked when, at very short notice, they acquired the services of Bruce Aitchison. Bruce, in his own words is a coach, business speaker, blogger, all round professional rugby enthusiast, well-being ambassador, man behind the mike at Edinburgh Rugby and in the opinion of all present on Saturday a fabulous after dinner speaker.

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He had everyone on the edge of their seats, sometimes wiping away tears of laughter, regaling them with stories of rugby, life experiences and much more. He then added another string to his bow by helping to auction a number of excellent auction lots.

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The evening was then given over to the Back Green Band who managed to get everyone onto the dance floor for Peebles’ very own version of Strictly!

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All too soon the referee had blown his whistle for time up to end a fabulous evening. On behalf of the Club and in particular the Centenary subcommittee, we would like to thank everyone at Peebles Hydro, the guest speakers, the organisations and companies who donated lots for the auction and every single person who was there on the evening.

As part of the centenary celebrations the Club has commissioned a Centenary Year Book. Overseen by Alan Beveridge, Club President and Bob Hogarth, the book which was prepared and edited by Atholl Innes, takes you on a journey through rugby time.

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The journey transports the reader from the very first match involving a team from Peebles, and onwards to the present day, with various memorable stops along the way. It is a fascinating read and is a must have if you have any connection at all with the Rugby Club. Copies, priced at £15 are now on sale from the Clubrooms and Off The Back Barbers.