The Highlanders Issue Tug of War Challenge at the Lanark County Harvest Festival

The Lanark Highlanders Rugby Club will be attending the Fifth Annual Lanark County Harvest Festival at Beckwith Park this Sunday, 08 September, and they’ll be bringing their official 100’ Tug of War rope with them.

“We thought we’d bring an old rural tradition back to the county fair,” says Toby Shannan, co-founder of the club. “There is a beautiful simplicity to Tug of War that captures much of the rugby spirit –teamwork, collective strength, muscular endurance – and we thought Lanark County should have a championship trophy.”

A number of groups throughout the county have been invited to take up the strain on one end of the rope and compete for the newly minted “Lanark Highlanders’ Tug of War Challenge Cup.” Competitors may enter as formed teams of eight or may come as individuals and be placed on a team. The contest will consist of best-of-three heats following Tug of War Federation of Great Britain rules. There is no charge for this event.

“This is going to be a good bit of fun,” says Shannan, who grew up near Gillies Corners. “We want folks to come out and meet us, and have a laugh, and celebrate a Lanark County community tradition. Everyone who shows up is welcome to partake and we hope they’ll stick around and cheer on our Old Boys team right after.”

The Tug of War will take place near the main stage of the County Festival at 11:30. The Highlanders’ Old Boys (35+) are hosting the Barrhaven Scottish Rugby Club and will be playing an official Eastern Ontario Rugby Union match on the main field, kicking off at 1 pm. This is also a free event.

Beckwith Park is located at 1319 9th Line, Beckwith, near Carleton Place. The festival runs from 11am to 4pm followed by a church supper.

Highlanders Place Third Overall in the Perth Demolition Derby

The Lanark Highlanders Rugby Club made a creditable showing in their first foray into the world of combat motorsports, finishing third in the mini class at the Perth Fair’s Demolition Derby last Saturday night.

Long-time Highlander, Alex “Smallsie” Small was the man of the hour. He piloted the club-branded, 2001 Honda Civic through the first, difficult heat, serving up a number of fan-favourite collisions to the capacity crowd. At the end of the round, judges had to call a draw, as only the Highlander vehicle and another remained mobile despite extensive damage to the Honda’s rear end and the loss of two tires.

“I think I was selected as the team’s driver because of my history as a very experienced crasher of cars,” says Small. “I have put many cars that look worse than this one into the scrap yards of Almonte.”

Bob Brown of Noonan’s Auto – who donated the Civic to the rugby club for the event – was aided in the pit by Highlander, Eric Smith, who put his welding skills to good use. “I couldn’t believe that Smallsie got through the first heat without even damaging his radiator,” said Smith. Several experienced Derbymen commented on Small’s intuitively clever driving, protecting his driving wheels while disabling others’. Despite that, with a bent axle and two shredded rear tires, the pit crew had a job of work to get the car drivable for the final heat.

The club’s motto, Cha Gheill, which translates from Scots Gaelic roughly as “he will not yield,” was clearly indicative of the performance of man and machine during the final “Survivor Round.”

“I don’t remember much of the event,” admits Small, “and some of the hits were massive. I just used my full-back instincts and thought sadly of all the children I might never have.”

Come to the Highlands! – The Lanark Highlanders Offer Free Social Memberships until Sep 2020.

The Lanark Highlanders Rugby Club is undergoing a major expansion in this, its 15th year, and is welcoming new and former members to swell its ranks. To that end, club leadership has announced that social memberships are free for a year.

“Players are always wanted, of course, but so are coaches, match officials, boosters, fans, sponsors – we’ll take anyone who shares our spirit,” according to club president, Dan Drummond. As the club develops Lanark County’s first rugby park – a 20 acre, million dollar project that will see a four-field facility and club house created between Perth and Franktown – the organisation wants to grow its membership base, field new teams, and welcome players and non-players of all ages and genders.

“We started out with just a couple of guys – literally, just two guys,” says Drummond, “and grew a team which has developed a strong, winning tradition. Now we want to become a regional centre of excellence for rugby development.”

With two Eastern Ontario Rugby Union Division One championships to its credit, and one international tournament championship trophy on the mantelpiece, the Highlanders have an expansionist vision. This year, the club added a new U17 Women’s team in addition to fielding a men’s side and an old boys’ team, “which hasn’t lost a game in more than five years,” adds Drummond.

“That’s all well and good, but the Highlanders need a women’s team and a U17 Boy’s squad and a second men’s side – and that’s just for starters,” says club head coach TeKapua Rewi. The New Zealander is also the assistant coach to the Ontario U18 Men’s team which placed second in Canada at the national competition this summer. “We have tremendous natural talent in Lanark County for this sport,” says Rewi. “There is something in the water I guess.”

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Perth Fair

Come and join the Highlanders at the Perth Fair this weekend. We will be in the crowd sporting our new club logo and cheering on our own Alex Small & Jamie Smith in the Demolition Derby.

Winter Training

Lanark Highlanders winter training begins tonight at the Beckwith Fieldhouse. These are open training sessions for anyone interested in rugby. Sessions run every Monday thru mid April from 9pm – 10pm. There is a $10 drop in fee or $60 for all sessions, which becomes a refundable deposit if you register as a full club member for the summer.