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