Dee Bradbury at Memories Club (May 2019)

Last month, Scottish Rugby’s first female President, Dee Bradbury, was the guest of the Memories Group.

Dee Bradbury – Scottish Rugby Vice-President candidate Boroughmuir Rugby Club, Meggetland, Edinburgh, Scotland, Wednesday 10 August 2019. ***Please credit: David Gibson/Fotosport***

“Really enjoyed my day at Linlithgow, thanks for inviting me.
Kind regards, Dee”

Our ace reporter Hamish McIntyre was on hand to pen a few words on Dee’s address to the group:

Dee Bradbury was the guest speaker at the Memories Section of Linlithgow Rugby Club. In August 2018 she became President of the Scottish Rugby Union – the first female to hold the position. She has vowed to make her mark on the way in which the game is organised as well as the overall administration of the Union, and is determined to be more than just a pioneer of equality.

From avoiding the puddles in her first rugby training session at Lorne Ladies Rugby Club, to becoming the first female of a tier one nation, Scottish Rugby’s Bradbury has experienced many levels over the last fifteen years.

She embarks on a two year stint at an interesting time with two major area of work on going: the restructure of Rugby Development Department and a major review into Governance.

There is also the long overdue consultation process with the Clubs over the implementation of Agenda 3 overhaul of the club game, and the impact of creating a Super Six League at the top of the domestic structure is now underway following a motion proposed by Aberdeen Grammar which was voted through with a large majority.

In order to succeed Dee says that ‘you need to work hard, believe in yourself and be confident’.

Gerry Keating introduced Dee to the meeting.

She started off her talk by sending good wishes to Bert Lawson who is recovering from major surgery, and congratulating the Rugby Club’s male voice choir – possibly the only rugby club choir in the country – on their musical achievements. She also made a few comparisons with our other name – Linlithgow Old Sods Society – as found on Google.

As part of a rugby family, volunteers are essential to maintain standards, and Memories projects are part of the plan to bring players together and improve their physical and mental health. The SRU and other Rugby Unions are not entirely infallible, and her priority is to enhance rugby in Scotland, get children to take part, while still mindful of global occasions. The National Team is playing attractive rugby, and money is flowing down to clubs from the international matches. The team scored forty tries in twelve games and six tries against England, and we do often punch above our weight as we have neither the depth of players, nor the finances of some other nations.

One problem which is not particular to rugby is that we are not immune from injury, and the SRU is looking at how the laws can be revised to reduce major injuries, while still keeping the game as competitive as possible. Scotland has a small population and money as always is hard to come by, but with good heart and an unfailing belief we can achieve great things as rugby players and ambassadors both for the game and for Scotland.

At the 2019 game versus England we were losing 31-0 at half time and it seemed that an avalanche of England tries would be coming our way in the second half, but the belief in our team roared us on to six tries and a draw which meant that Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup – the first time that an SRU President had brought home the Cup since 1983!

At the Calcutta Cup game Magnus Bradbury – Dee’s son – scored a try for Scotland, and Princess Anne, who was sitting beside Dee, turned to her and said ‘is that your son?’ and gave her a big hug.

Dee then spoke about the women’s game and how it is progressing with additional investment and recognition.

She expressed her excitement towards the World Cup, where there are games against Japan, Ireland, Russia and Samoa. The summer warm up matches are home and away against both France and Georgia. Georgia has recently spent £32million on stadia and are keen to make rugby their national sport.

After coffee and biscuits Dee hosted a question and answer session where topics ranged from – legislation to ensure players’ safety – the use of headgear – the amateur and professional games – making refereeing more attractive – Edinburgh Rugby’s new ground at Murrayfield, and the Super Six teams.

Mike Wheatley closed the meeting by thanking Dee for a very interesting talk.