ABERDEEN is football territory but the rugby players of Dyce RFC, a suburb six miles north of the city and home to the region’s airport, are flying this season after a revival of which Lazarus himself would be proud.
Founded in 1983, Dyce’s problems started when they fell out with a local headmaster and were forced to lease a new pitch outside their catchment area. Years of mediocrity ensued and but for men like Steve Law and skipper Nicky Cheyne, the club might have folded.
Then new club secretary Mike Fearn brought about a return to Dyce Academy – now under a more enlightened head – and he and new head coach Graeme Smith set about promoting the club in the local pub and through flyers to the oil companies which provide so many of Dyce’s players. Like a snowball, the players rolled in and, after a year in the Aberdeen Development League, Dyce sit high in Caledonia Three NE after early wins over Peterhead and the second teams of Mackie, Gordonians and Wanderers. Why the transformation?
“Self-belief and team spirit,” Fearn says. “Their heads used to be down but now, bless them, they’re out there warming up an hour before kick-off.”
The back row of Paul Robertson, Stephen Christmas and Phil Horsfall comprise the heart of a team that will have extra motivation next month against Huntly – the club whose league rep spoke most forcibly against Dyce’s league admittance on the grounds they wouldn’t be competitive. “I just have to mention his name and the boys run faster!” says Smith.
Dyce are our September Team of the Month and receive a set of 22 kitbags from sponsors Canterbury.
This article appeared in the December 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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