Flower of Scotland blooms in Newcastle

Dougie in kilt
Dougie in kilt
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By award-winning blogger Trish Burgess

As I write this the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup haven’t taken place so I don’t know whether the hopes of Welsh, Irish and Scottish fans have been dashed or whether they live to battle on another day.

Not normally a rugby aficionado, I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed watching all the first round games. There’s something about the big occasion 
which encourages people like me, who don’t know a collapsed maul from a collapsed soufflé, to suddenly become enthralled by the action.

I had to start paying more attention when my husband bought tickets to see his beloved Scotland play against Samoa in Newcastle. In the run-up to the match, I made sure I watched as many games as possible and drove Dougie to distraction asking too many questions. Why is a ‘line-out’ not called a throw-in? What’s the difference between a maul and a ruck? What’s a knock-on? Why does the English kicker do that strange thing with his eyes? Doesn’t the Scottish captain look like Dustin Hoffman?

Dougie was beyond excited to be seeing his home nation play, having been a regular attender at Murrayfield as a teenager when tickets to see them play cost about a pound. The tickets for this game were considerably more than a quid but this was going to be an experience of a lifetime. For me, it would tie in with a visit to my mum and a trip to Newcastle United’s football stadium. Once England were knocked out of the competition, I swiftly changed my allegiance to the Scots.

The match was a great opportunity for Dougie to don his kilt which he usually only gets a chance to wear if we go to a ball or wedding. This time, rather than the formal jacket and black brogues, he wore a chunky jumper and big boots. His dress sporran (the furry one) was replaced by a day sporran (black leather) and the traditional cream socks exchanged for moss green.

He was a little nervous heading into town on the day itself but he needn’t have worried: the city centre was packed with men in kilts of all colours. Walking down the main shopping street in Newcastle, he was accosted by an elderly lady who had been walking behind us and admitted to feeling quite giddy with the swing of his pleats.

Heading up to St James’s Park, the atmosphere was electric. Inside the stadium, the excitement increased and when the anthem, Flower of Scotland, was played and heartily sung, we were both left a little choked and emotional, one of us with tears streaming down his cheeks.

The game was incredibly tense and very close. We yelled, we sang, we waved flags and there were times I could barely watch but Scotland eventually beat Samoa 36-33.

They meet Australia in the quarter-finals. That’s a tough one for Scotland. As this is published, tell me now - who won?

You can follow Trish on Twitter via @mumsgoneto and read her blog at www.mumsgoneto.blogspot.com


A walk on the South Bank side