A large part of the lore of rugby football concerns itself with touring and throughout its history Northern have been nothing if not enthusiastic, and at times intrepid, tourists.
In March 1949 it is believed that Northern became the first Scottish club to go on a tour after the end of the Second World War. The destination was London where Northern played Ilford prior to the England v Scotland clash at Twickenham.
Although the tourists lost by 21-0 it was reported that “Northern did well with their scratch XV after a night travelling by bus. (The international side also lost by 19 points to 3)
Two years later Northern were once again on the road south. This time the opposition was Llanelli Wanderers, at that time in their first season, and again the match was played on the morning of the international at Cardiff. This particular fixture became a tradition for many years and the Inverstradey Cup now resides in the clubhouse of Llanelli. After the association with Llanelli Wanderers died Northern forged links with Old lllytydians, a Cardiff club, but sadly the fixture did not last many years.
Having toured in both England and Wales the next logical step was Ireland and in 1958 we began our long association with Seapoint RFC in Dun Laoghaire. The final circular of the 1960 tour from the pen of B.Lodge, Hon Secretary, makes interesting reading “Airfare £7/9/0” and “as we are travelling with Costorphine RFC members should be on their best behaviour (when being watched) so that Corstorphine will get all the blame.” For many years visits have been exchanged with Seapoint and many friendships first made on the pitch still exist today. The W.C.Point trophy was hotly contested and in general the touring side normally conceded defeat – a tribute to the hospitality of the hosts the previous night.
Other tours included an easter tour to the Newcastle area in 1961 where our opponents were Vickers Armstrong RFC and Houghton RFC, and this trip was repeated in 1971.
But Northern do not only tour, they also act as hosts for other touring sides,
And over the years we have entertained clubs from all the home countries and several from abroad. Clubs such as Newcastle Northern, Mountain Ash, Omagh, Taff’s Wall, Guy’s Hospital and the Bank of Ireland to name but a few have all sampled Northern’s hospitality as well as Licio Militar from Argentina and the Luxembourg national side, who were defeated in 1984.
In 1995 Northern spread its wings somewhat wider and became the first Scottish club to tour in the Czech Republic when 26 stalwarts led by Club President Ian Brechin and Club Captain John Alden used Prague as a base for a rugby trip. Strange to relate that this tour was not all visits to museums and art galleries, and two games were played (v R.C.Praha and R.C. Ricany), one international match was attended and some of our members were also invited to turn out for the local expatriate side Prague Barbarians. The hospitality from our Czech hosts was quite overwhelming and in the words of one tourer “Anyone who can remember it wasn’t there”. We hope that we shall be able to maintain the friends made on that tour and that we may be the first Scottish club to play host to a team from the Czech Republic.
We welcome invitations to both tour and host visiting teams. Recent tours have been a mix of ventures to Europe and remaining within the UK:
- 2006 – Gdnask
- 2007 – Belfast and Bangor
- 2008 – Madrid
- 2009 – Cologne and Dusseldorf
- 2010 – Rotterdam and The Hague; Leeds
- 2011 – Budapest
- 2012 – Sopot
- 2013 – Bournemouth
- 2014 – Berlin