Monday, 11 July 2016

Earlston's Sporting Life

 A nostalgic look back at sporting activities in Earlston from the early 1900's.

Earlston Rugby Club Club is thought to have been formed in the 1870s by two Yorkshiremen who were installing machinery in the local woollen mill.One  of their first games was against Kelso in 1876,   the result being a draw. On 7 March 1879, Earlston played Kelso  in one of the first matches staged under electric floodlights. The Club also played in the first Melrose Sevens  in 1883. 

In the early years the Club's pitch was located at the Georgefield Road close to where the school pitches are today. In 1921 the present pitch at the Haugh  was leased from A. Brownlie, Timber Merchants. Two years later the first Clubhouse was erected. 

During the Second World War,  the rugby pitch and clubhouse were requisitioned by the military.  One third of the pitch was dug out and concrete laid to make a "hull down" park for the tanks of the Polish Division stationed in the area,  preparing for D. Day. 

In 1968 the clubhouse was extended  with further major work carried out in 1988.

    Earlston Rugby Team, 1911-1912 
   Earlston Rugby Team, 1960

  An early photograph of Earlston Bowling Team success at a tournament in Selkirk 

 Earlston Bowling Club - but can anyone help date this photograph?

[UPDATE - We were pleased  to receive the following information from a reader:
I would say the photograph dates from the mid 1930's.  This was Mr & Mrs Stafford's golden wedding - they lived at The Terrace on the High Street.  The event was held in the Girls Club Building  on  Melrose Road,  where the filling station forecourt is now. The Club was used for many social occasions and I see The Rev  Peter Wylie (Ercildoune Church Minster) and Mrs Wylie and I recognize quite a few others].

Earlston Bowling Club Social, 1975


Earlston Rhymers Cricket Club, 1908



Earlston Rhymers Football Team, 1903-4
Earlston Rhymers, 1973 

Earlston Golf Club was founded in  August 1906, making it one of the oldest in the country. The course  was designed by Willie Park of Musselburgh on land owned by Lord Binning . The nine-hole course was situated in an area known locally as “Caldies Hill” on high ground with sandy soil. At the time of its opening,  it was stated that "there were some rough and stony parts but the course was gradually improving".

First Earlston Golf Club Gymkhana  in 1908 

The Course was closed during the First World War and was ploughed up to plant crops for food  to aid the war effort.  Play was further suspended during the duration of the Second World War.  Afterwards, however,   the Club, due to lack of funds, could not afford to maintain the course.    It was subsequently used as a motorcycle scrambling circuit. There were hopes that the golf course could be resurrected but unfortunately this never materialized

But Earlston Golf Club survived and continued to have outings and competitions to various other courses in the country.   In 2000, 91 years after its start, it launched a new initiative to create the first golf course on the moon!  Read more HERE.  



The story of curling in Earlston or as it was then known, Erciltoun began before 1756. A century later reports of curling in the village appeared in the local press, with the first pond at Georgefield.   In 1907 the Club built an artificial three rink pond “to cost £100 or thereabout, with a house for the storage of stones, etc in addition” on land granted by Lord Binning.   With Haymarket Ice Rink, Edinburgh opening in 1912 Earlston curlers started indoor curling for the first time.  In 1964 the Border Ice Rink at Kelso  was launched  and this has been the venue for the club to the present day.
Members of the Earlston Curling Club playing outdoors at Lauder, December 1995.

And finally - SPECTATING

 1953 Sports at the Haugh. 

Thank you to everyone who has donated or loaned old photographs for scanning.

Auld Earlston welcomes all contributions on the village's past. 
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