Weir toasts a mile­stone af­ter he passes 300 games in the Bor­ders

The Herald - Herald Sport - - RUGBY UNION -

The younger brother of a for­mer Scot­land cap cel­e­brated a land­mark mo­ment in “club land” dur­ing this month.

Chris Weir – whose brother Dod­die earned 61 caps for Scot­land in the sec­ond-row be­tween 1990 and 2000 and rep­re­sented the British & Ir­ish Li­ons – played his 300th match for Gala in the Bor­der League en­counter with Haw­ick early in the new year.

He is now on 303 ap­pear­ances and helped the Ma­roons, strug­gling at the foot of the BT Premier­ship, to a morale-boost­ing BT Cup last-16 vic­tory over Haw­ick at the week­end.

The 32-year-old who nor­mally plays sec­ond row but was in the back row in that cup tie, said: “When I got an email from the club in De­cem­ber telling me that I was near­ing 300 matches I could not quite be­lieve it, you just keep play­ing sea­son af­ter sea­son and these mile­stones come around.

“There are not many peo­ple who have played so many games for the club and when I read some of the fa­mous names from the past who had done so, it made me feel very proud to be listed along­side them.

“When I was grow­ing up I was at school in Ed­in­burgh at Stewart’s Melville Col­lege and played rugby there. At the same time I was also turn­ing out for Mel­rose and I came up through the youth ranks there.

“I just loved rugby like my broth­ers did so any chance I got to play I would and of­ten I would play for the school and the club’s youth sec­tion in one week­end.

“The likes of Graeme Dodds, who notched up a lot off ap­pear­ances for Mel­rose over the years be­fore re­tir­ing last sum­mer, were also in that youth sec­tion and the rugby there and at school was just great fun.

“There was also some­thing about learn­ing and play­ing as a team that I liked and I would of­ten be out on the rugby field five out of the seven days in a week, I guess fol­low­ing in Dod­die and [other older brother] Tom’s foot­steps.”

Af­ter school, Weir played for the Mel­rose se­nior sec­tion for a short while be­fore he was per­suaded to move to Gala in 2003 by Ge­orge Gra­ham.

“I was around 19 at that point and I guess it was a big move to make, but I knew a lot of the guys there and straight away I en­joyed it,” he re­counts.

“As a young player go­ing into a dress­ing room that had many ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paign­ers in it, you re­ally had to earn re­spect quickly and if you showed them that you trained hard and put ev­ery­thing you had into 80 min­utes on a Satur­day then they took you un­der their wing.

“There was a great team spirit back then and, although a lot has changed in the game in gen­eral and we have had our fair few ups and downs at Gala over the years, that has not changed.

“We all pull to­gether when we run out in a Gala jersey and when we play the home matches at Netherdale it is al­ways pretty spe­cial be­cause we have a good sup­port who come along and watch us.”

As Weir men­tioned, there have been plenty highs and lows at Gala over the past 13 or so years and his fond­est mem­o­ries are the cup vic­tory at Mur­ray­field in 2012 when they de­feated Ayr, vic­to­ries in Bor­der der­bies and play­ing in the British & Ir­ish Cup.

He said: “Every rugby player wants the chance to play at Mur­ray­field and to win there with Gala with fam­ily, friends and the whole town watching on was very spe­cial.”

GALA DAYS: Weir has many good mem­o­ries with the club, par­tic­u­larly their vic­tory against Ayr at Mur­ray­field in 2012

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