1925 – BT Murrayfield is born
Today (21 March) is the 95th anniversary of the opening of Scotland’s biggest stadium, the home of Scottish Rugby, BT Murrayfield.
We’ll all have favourite memories of the ground, whether it involves games involving the world’s best players or the, perhaps, once in a lifetime chance in schools, youth or club cup matches for boys and girls, men and women, to play on the expansive international pitch.
People have met future spouses at the ground and, movingly, we receive requests for people’s remains to be scattered here. Such is the place that BT Murrayfield holds in the affection of Scots the world over.
The first match at the stadium, the first chapter in its rich history – where visitors have included for example Heads of State, Royalty, The Pope, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and top footballing talent – was a first for Scottish Rugby too: our first Grand Slam.
So, let’s have a quick look back at that game in 1925 when Scotland beat England 14-11.
The opening of the new ground – Scottish Rugby having moved from Inverleith in Edinburgh – was heralded by beautiful weather and a crowd of at least 70,000 flocked to EH12.
England opened the scoring through a penalty from prop William Luddington and the honour of the first try at the stadium fell to Glasgow Accies scrum-half Jimmy Nelson who fended off a would-be tackler with a pulverising hand-off to score under the posts.
Nelson’s Scotland cap is on display in the Cap & Thistle Suite at BT Murrayfield today, preserving the link to his place in the stadium’s folklore.
Dan Drysdale, the Heriot’s full-back, converted but a converted try for England saw the interval score at 5-8, soon extended to 5-11 through a try from England back-row forward Wavell Wakefield.
Scotland fought back and Johnnie Wallace, part of the famed Oxford University three-quarter line, scored for the fourth successive match – a feat Gregor Townsend was to match in Scotland’s 1999 Five Nations Championship success.
Sandy Gillies, a No 8 from the Carlisle club, landed a majestic touchline conversion to narrow the gap to 10-11.
Scotland attacked furiously and four clear chances went abegging, before, in the closing minutes, Herbert Waddell, the Glasgow Accies stand-off, dropped a goal – in those days, worth four points – and thereafter Scotland valiantly resisted repeated England attacks to hold on for a famous win.