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Omagh club remembers its first captain and club stalwart over a lifetime

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Omagh club remembers its first captain and club stalwart over a lifetime thumbnailThe founding captain and last surviving founder member of the Omagh Academicals Rugby Club team of 1952, Mr Dai Waterson, who sadly died in February last, was remembered at a special lunch in the rugby club on Saturday.

Omagh Academicals Rugby Club honoured the memory of its first ever captain and try scorer on Saturday with the official unveiling of a photograph of Dai Waterson in the clubhouse at The Thomas Mellon Playing Fields.

The ceremony took place prior to the club's 1st XV match against Dungannon in the Ulster Rugby Soni Premiership Division Two.

Mr Waterson, who led the Accies into their first game back in September 1952, passed away in February of last year. His contribution to the establishment of the club and its continuous growth over the years, stands as testament to the foresight, enthusiasm and drive he brought to the project.

Members of the Waterson family, friends and a few of those who played alongside Dai, were warmly welcomed to the occasion by club president, Roy Ward.

"Dai was our last surviving member, a trustee of the club, captain and a past president. His efforts, along with that of the other founding members, over many years, ensured that we have a rugby club here today where we can enjoy the great game of rugby".

Mr Ward outlined how the late Mr Waterson was best known as proprietor of the Royal Arms Hotel in the heart of Omagh which he ran with the devoted support of his wife, Elaine, and in which his son, Peter, also took on a management role in later years.

The Royal Arms Hotel was the meeting place for the 'Accies' in the early years and the Waterson family were always great supporters of the club, he said.

"In his younger days Dai was a keen and talented rugby player and a leading light in the formation of the Omagh Academicals Rugby Football Club. Dai had the honour of captaining the team in our first game of rugby against Enniskillen at St Angelo on September 13, 1952. Unfortunately on the day we lost 5-3 with the young Dai scoring the club's first ever try - with that rugby in Omagh was born."

Mr Ward added that Dai retained a keen interest in rugby throughout his life and spent many Saturday afternoons at the club and also enjoyed attending international matches as often as he could.

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