Highlanders First Side defeats Carleton University Seconds in a Friendly (but Physical) Rugby Match

(Perth, 19 September, 2019) – It was a contest that pitted youth against experience as the Lanark Highlanders Rugby Club’s men’s first team hosted the Carleton University men’s second team for a friendly match at Beckwith Park last night.

The final result was a 45-12 victory for Lanark County.

Carleton Men 2 pose with Lanark Men 1 after the game. Photo by LeeAnn Napiorkowski.

“It was a physical game, for sure,” remarked Dave Harrison, long-standing prop and one of the original members of the Highlanders. “The young fellas gave us a good run for our money, but you should always bet on cunning and experience.”

Patient play among the forwards allowed for possession to run in favour of the Highlanders who waited for opportune moments to run the ball through the back line. Deft offloading permitted Lanark to exploit gaps in Carleton’s defence. Still, the younger team did not fold under the pressure and paid out massive hits and finished tackles. The Highlanders selected Carleton’s Nick Naida as “Man of the Match” while Curtis Bernicky was the Highlander honoured.

“I’d love to get some of those Carleton boys into Highlander kit next spring,” said club president Dan Drummond. “Our seasons are complementary, so most university athletes will play for club teams through the spring and summer before heading back to their University sides in the Fall.”

The Lanark Highlanders are currently working on a club expansion and will add a women’s team and a U17 boys’ team to the club roster for play in 2020. If you would like to join the club as an athlete, fan or sponsor, leave your email address below.

The Lanark Highlanders’ Spend a Day at the Fair

(Perth, 09 Sep 2019) – Lanark County’s Rugby Club made a day of it at the County’s Harvest Festival held on Sunday at Beckwith Park. Having revived an old tradition at the fair, the Rugby Club showed up with a brand new, competition-grade tug of war rope.

“When we scrum down, our biggest eight forwards tip the scales at more than a ton,” says founding club member, Toby Shannan, “And that’s a metric tonne,” he adds.

Beckwith Township reeve, Richard Kidd, joins the Highlanders with a few recruits from the crowd. Photo by Robert McDonald

“I grew up just down the road in Gillies Corners, so I know Lanark County produces some big folk. Eventually we’re going to find some locals who will be able to pull us over. And we’ll recruit them on the spot.”

Brandishing a very new trophy, the “Lanark Highlanders Tug of War Challenge Cup,” the ruggers put on a demonstration, and then invited attendees to join them in the tug of war at what they hope will be an annual event.

The Lanark highlanders heavy team, with the unclaimed challenge trophy. Photo by Robert McDonald

Soon after, the Highlanders played host to the Barrhaven Scottish Rugby Club’s Old Boys and played an EORU-sanctioned match on the main field in near perfect conditions. At the end of the match, the Highlanders remained undefeated.

The Highlanders win their lineout. Photo by Robert McDonald

By all accounts it was a great day at the fair.

The Highlanders Issue Tug of War Challenge at the Lanark County Harvest Festival

The Lanark Highlanders Rugby Club will be attending the Fifth Annual Lanark County Harvest Festival at Beckwith Park this Sunday, 08 September, and they’ll be bringing their official 100’ Tug of War rope with them.

“We thought we’d bring an old rural tradition back to the county fair,” says Toby Shannan, co-founder of the club. “There is a beautiful simplicity to Tug of War that captures much of the rugby spirit –teamwork, collective strength, muscular endurance – and we thought Lanark County should have a championship trophy.”

A number of groups throughout the county have been invited to take up the strain on one end of the rope and compete for the newly minted “Lanark Highlanders’ Tug of War Challenge Cup.” Competitors may enter as formed teams of eight or may come as individuals and be placed on a team. The contest will consist of best-of-three heats following Tug of War Federation of Great Britain rules. There is no charge for this event.

“This is going to be a good bit of fun,” says Shannan, who grew up near Gillies Corners. “We want folks to come out and meet us, and have a laugh, and celebrate a Lanark County community tradition. Everyone who shows up is welcome to partake and we hope they’ll stick around and cheer on our Old Boys team right after.”

The Tug of War will take place near the main stage of the County Festival at 11:30. The Highlanders’ Old Boys (35+) are hosting the Barrhaven Scottish Rugby Club and will be playing an official Eastern Ontario Rugby Union match on the main field, kicking off at 1 pm. This is also a free event.

Beckwith Park is located at 1319 9th Line, Beckwith, near Carleton Place. The festival runs from 11am to 4pm followed by a church supper.

Highlanders Place Third Overall in the Perth Demolition Derby

The Lanark Highlanders Rugby Club made a creditable showing in their first foray into the world of combat motorsports, finishing third in the mini class at the Perth Fair’s Demolition Derby last Saturday night.

Long-time Highlander, Alex “Smallsie” Small was the man of the hour. He piloted the club-branded, 2001 Honda Civic through the first, difficult heat, serving up a number of fan-favourite collisions to the capacity crowd. At the end of the round, judges had to call a draw, as only the Highlander vehicle and another remained mobile despite extensive damage to the Honda’s rear end and the loss of two tires.

“I think I was selected as the team’s driver because of my history as a very experienced crasher of cars,” says Small. “I have put many cars that look worse than this one into the scrap yards of Almonte.”

Bob Brown of Noonan’s Auto – who donated the Civic to the rugby club for the event – was aided in the pit by Highlander, Eric Smith, who put his welding skills to good use. “I couldn’t believe that Smallsie got through the first heat without even damaging his radiator,” said Smith. Several experienced Derbymen commented on Small’s intuitively clever driving, protecting his driving wheels while disabling others’. Despite that, with a bent axle and two shredded rear tires, the pit crew had a job of work to get the car drivable for the final heat.

The club’s motto, Cha Gheill, which translates from Scots Gaelic roughly as “he will not yield,” was clearly indicative of the performance of man and machine during the final “Survivor Round.”

“I don’t remember much of the event,” admits Small, “and some of the hits were massive. I just used my full-back instincts and thought sadly of all the children I might never have.”

Come to the Highlands! – The Lanark Highlanders Offer Free Social Memberships until Sep 2020.

The Lanark Highlanders Rugby Club is undergoing a major expansion in this, its 15th year, and is welcoming new and former members to swell its ranks. To that end, club leadership has announced that social memberships are free for a year.

“Players are always wanted, of course, but so are coaches, match officials, boosters, fans, sponsors – we’ll take anyone who shares our spirit,” according to club president, Dan Drummond. As the club develops Lanark County’s first rugby park – a 20 acre, million dollar project that will see a four-field facility and club house created between Perth and Franktown – the organisation wants to grow its membership base, field new teams, and welcome players and non-players of all ages and genders.

“We started out with just a couple of guys – literally, just two guys,” says Drummond, “and grew a team which has developed a strong, winning tradition. Now we want to become a regional centre of excellence for rugby development.”

With two Eastern Ontario Rugby Union Division One championships to its credit, and one international tournament championship trophy on the mantelpiece, the Highlanders have an expansionist vision. This year, the club added a new U17 Women’s team in addition to fielding a men’s side and an old boys’ team, “which hasn’t lost a game in more than five years,” adds Drummond.

“That’s all well and good, but the Highlanders need a women’s team and a U17 Boy’s squad and a second men’s side – and that’s just for starters,” says club head coach TeKapua Rewi. The New Zealander is also the assistant coach to the Ontario U18 Men’s team which placed second in Canada at the national competition this summer. “We have tremendous natural talent in Lanark County for this sport,” says Rewi. “There is something in the water I guess.”

To become a Highlander, submit your email address below.

Perth Fair

Come and join the Highlanders at the Perth Fair this weekend. We will be in the crowd sporting our new club logo and cheering on our own Alex Small & Jamie Smith in the Demolition Derby.