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The 1872 Cup or is it the 1995 Cup ?

By Hugh Barrow

The Second City of the Empire v The Capital

"“Tradition is very, very important,” he said. “It’s the oldest derby and to be involved is an absolute privilege.”

Photo courtesy of Duncan Beattie and family

This writers fascination with the Inter City goes back to the early 1950s when the match was traditionally played on the first Saturday in December at Old ANNIESLAND and was either frosted off or the game was played in fog when you could hardly see across the pitch"
My grandfather played in the contest in the 1890s when on one occasion it was reported that in 1891 Glasgow gave Edinburgh "a good thonging"
However I don't recall a cup being at stake until much more recent times in fact not until mid 1990s

Like many good yarns including the William Webb Ellis story it has a degree of truth
There was certainly no Cup to be won on the 23rd November 1872 at Glasgow Accies ground Burnbank when they first met 20 aside Rugby rules

Two of the Glasgow team Tom Chalmers and Willie Cross having taken part in an international soccer trial organised by Queens Park FC (also held at Burnbank )had a decision to make --play Edinburgh at rugby or play England at soccer a week later at Hamilton Crescent they chose the former

What is fact is that between 1872 and 1995 there was no Cup to contest just the honour of winning and for generations who played that annual match in early December that sufficed whether it was played at Burnbank ,Hamilton Crescent Hampden New or Old Anniesland or Hughenden

Many of Scotland's greatest players graced this contest including in the Jubilee match of 1922 one of the two Chariots of Fire Eric Liddell who appeared on the wing for Edinburgh giving his opposite number Max Simmers a hard shift

An inter-city cup was first contested in the 1995-96 and season’s match, when it was donated by the match sponsors, Slater Hogg and Howison. This had been motivated by the old Glasgow District Committee with the likes of the late Ken Chrichton and Andy Little
It had the sponsors’ name on it. That sponsorship remained for the following season, but for 1997-98 a new sponsor came on board – Inter-City Trains. So for that season it was the Inter-City Cup.

By then the Inter-District Championship was a qualifying competition for Europe. However, in late March 1998 came the SRU decision to condense from four teams to two for European competition. That sounded the death knell of the IDC. But Glasgow and Edinburgh played a one-off Inter-City match in 1998-99.

The IDC was resurrected for season 1999-2000. But that lasted only three seasons, ending in 2001-2002. Thereafter the Inter-City Cup languished in the Glasgow District office in Somerset Place for a few years. It found a new life when the pro teams revived it in 2007.

Winners of the Cup until the demise of the IDC:

1995-96 – Edinburgh
1996-97 – Glasgow
1997-98 – Glasgow
1998-99 – Edinburgh
1999-2000 – Edinburgh
2000-01 – Glasgow
2001-02 – Glasgow

Glasgow’s 97-98 win was at Scotstoun! The ground that season was Glasgow’s first home in the Heineken Cup, though the home matches in the European Challenge Cup the previous season (the four Scottish teams’ first season in Europe) had been played at Hughenden.

What the players of bygone times would make of the international makeup of the current teams filling the Cities jerseys is anybody's guess but it was commented on as long ago as 1891 when it was noted that Edinburgh fielded some "aliens" a term used for non Scots involved at the time

What remains constant is that those who now play in Warriors shirts wherever they hail from have the privilege to bear the City's name and that is not an honour to be taken lightly
It is no mean feat because Glasgow is no mean City

Updated 21:31 - 30 Dec 2015 by Hugh Barrow

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