Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Calcutta Cup

THE Calcutta cup came from Murrayfield (the home of Scottish rugby) to the Musselburgh Rugby Club on Saturday for the kids fun day. There were queues of kids (and adults) waiting to take photos of it.....And yes I was one of them!
So what is so important about the Calcutta Cup....Well for rugby fans in Scotland and England it means everything. It is played for every year during the Six Nations Tournament, and is awarded to the winner of the Scotland v England game. This year Scotland beat England 18:12 to win it, the first time since 2000. However England have failed to have the plaque on the plinth engraved since winning it in 2001, so discussions are taking place to decide what to do about this matter!

What is the history of the cup.....Well it was presented to the Rugby Football Union in 1878 when the Calcutta Football Club was forced to close down in 1877 due to lack of opposition and the growing popularity of other sports. When the club closed they had approximately £60 of funds left and the Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of the Club, G A James Rothney, whose family came from Aberdeenshire, asked for suggestions for the use of the money. There were several including a gymkhana, a ball or dinner, but finally it was decided that something more lasting should be done with the money. Rothney proposed that the funds be used to have a trophy made of ornate Indian workmanship and that the trophy be offered to the R.F.U. The proposal was considered and accepted thus :- "The committee accept with very great pleasure your generous offer of the cup as an international challenge cup to be played for annually by England and Scotland - the cup remaining the property of the Rugby Football Union" (A G Guillemard, RFU President) Once accepted, the Calcutta Cup officials withdrew the entire balance due in silver rupees, had them melted down and then crafted into an original, elegant and distinguished trophy. It is approx 18" high, with 3 handles in the form of king cobras and has a handsome domed lid surmounted by an elephant. There have only been 15 Calcutta Cup games cancelled since 1879, one due to a dispute in the 1880's and the others for both World Wars.

Here are Ronan (left) and Robert (right) with the cup in the club house just before the kick off of the kids and coaches rugby games (see previous post). Note that they look kinda wet, this was due to the water fights!
Who knows one of them might have the privilege of lifting this cup as part of a future Scotland squad........Well I am allowed to dream!


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