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Chapter 3: Club Sections

The phrase “Grammar FPs” conjures up in most minds one or other of the three best known Sports Sections. Reference in the minute of the first meeting to a ‘Football Club’ was, of course, a reference to the formation of the Rugby Section, which has been in continuous existence ever since and which celebrated its Centenary during the 1993-94 season. The FP Rugby Section is, and always has been, closely woven into the fabric of the parent Club. The season 1947-48 remains the high-water mark of FP Rugby, for not only did the 1st XV have a particularly successful record in a fixture list which included matches against many of Scotland’s leading teams, but its captain, “Donny” Innes (1923-35), also captained Scotland in each of that season’s international matches. More recently, Grammar Rugby, which is now the Section’s playing name, has had success in Premier Division One. Since 1947 five FPs have been Presidents of the Scottish Rugby Union, a record unequalled by any other Club, and two of these served in successive years – Doug Smith (1930-41) and Bill Connon (1930-40) who held office in 1986-87 and 1987-88.

While it was resolved in the first year of the Club to form a Cricket Section, it was not until 1917 that organised FP cricket began. From 1947 the Section was a member of the Strathmore Union, and FPs won the Championship in 1948, in 1982 and again in 1990. In Season 2001 a joint FP/Gordonian team played in the Union, but after two seasons this proved difficult to sustain and from Season 2003 FPs have continued in the Union, but as a non-playing side. They continue to play in the Aberdeen Grades. The Section has also competed regularly for the Three Counties Cup since the Competition began in 1931. After years of disappointment they won the Cup in both 1958 and 1959, and then achieved double success by winning it again in 1990, the year of their third Union win. The Section has also been successful by winning the P&J 7’s on four occasions and the Fochabers 7’s on numerous occasions during the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. The Section also had tremendous success in 1988 by reaching the final of the Scottish Cup.

The Men’s Hockey Section was formed in 1911 and, while always enjoying support, really came into its own after 1945. During the Second World War years hockey had been introduced at the School as a recognised games activity. The Section’s golden era, when it was competing in and winning national finals and regularly providing international players for Scotland, was from the early ‘50s to the mid-70s. Three well known ‘Caps’ were Sandy Innes (1933-45), Eric Watt (1937-50) and Fred Lawson (1947-62). The Women’s Hockey Section was formed in 1986, and has an assured place in the hockey world as well as in the FP Club. Tracey Robb has twice captained Scotland in a 15-year international career.

With the introduction of soccer as a recognised School sport from 3rd Year it had to be only a matter of time until there was an FP Football Section. This was established in 1988, and if not so far winning any titles, its members were able to record in 1991 that they had, for the third year in succession, been awarded the Fair Play Cup in their division, this trophy being awarded to the team with the best disciplinary record over the season.

The Golf Section was formed in 1947 and its monthly outings over the summer months were well supported. Members also competed regularly in the Queen Elizabeth Coronation Schools’ Tournament, although success has consistently eluded them. The Section had success with their  annual competitions with Gordonians for the HAR Trophy, which changed hands from time to time. The Golf Section no longer has outings and it is hoped these will resume in time.

The other Sports Sections currently active are Curling and Petanque, the latter operating on a piste at the Club Centre. Tennis has enjoyed popularity from time to time; there was an active Section between 1920 and 1938, and it was revived in 1953 for a few years. A Swimming Section functioned until 2006 when new regulations on the provision of life-guards meant that the use of the School pool was denied.

After 1919, when Rubislaw Field came into full working order, the various Athletic Sections became affiliated to an Athletic Association, formed in 1921 with the object of assisting and co-ordinating the working of the various Sections and of extending the athletic activities of the Club. This was discontinued after 1945.

Proposals were made in the first year of the Club’s existence for the formation of a Tennis Club, a Gymnastic Club, a Cycling Club, a Photographic Club and a Dramatic Club. The following year, at the first Annual Meeting, it was reported that only the Football, Gymnastic and Dramatic Clubs had “already proved that they have in them the elements of success”.

Whatever happened to photography then, there was for a short time in the 1970s a Photographic Section with its own darkroom at the Club Centre. An attempt to revive interest in a Dramatic Section in the early 1960s came to naught. Between the two World Wars there was a flourishing Motor Section.

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