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Ken Macaulay & George Telfer

Gala Rugby are delighted with the news of Scottish Rugby awarding further retrospective caps for the national side.

We recently announced caps for Gary Isaac and Mark Moncrieff and we are honoured to now add Ken Macaulay and George Telfer to the list.

Below is a history of both players.

Ken Macaulay

Introduced to rugby at Queen Elizabeth GS, Wakefield, where I captained the 1st XV, and also played for Yorkshire Schools, North Eastern Counties (Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland) and North of England against Midlands Schools, in a game which was a semi-final trial towards the England Schools XV, but that was as far as I got.

Whilst at school, played for Morley RUFC, the club nearest to where I lived.

Morley is a suburb of Leeds and the club was one of Yorkshires most successful.

Played the odd game for their 3rds and 2nds when at school and also for their Colts – the Under 19 XV. Made 1st XV debut, aged 17 on Boxing Day 1974, against Otley. Scored on debut!


Season 1976-77, after a few games for Morley, I moved to study at the Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels. Rugby played a part in the choice of further education establishment – my father had played for Gala whilst he also studied in Galashiels. His contemporaries included, Bill Easson, Murray & Chic Playfair, Kenny Grant, Nat Carson, Tom Elliott and Bob Wilson. Unusually I was selected for the 1st XV in Monday night game against Melrose without anyone at Netherdale ever seeing me play. We lost!

I retained my place for the next game and indeed for the whole season. At the end of this first season, we had tied with Hawick for the Championship and the only way to settle it was to have a play-off, which took place at the Greenyards in Melrose. In front of an estimated crowd of 15,000 Hawick beat us.

In total I played 317 games, over 13 and a half seasons which, I think, put me 5th on the list of most appearances, or it did up until the end of the 20th century – I may be further down the list by now – and scored 35 tries.

Amongst these games were matches played on Gala’s first tour to California in 1979 and the tour to Canada in 1986.

In two of the seasons during this period I only played a handful of games – 1984-85 played 5 (due to a neck injury) and 1986-87 played 3 (work commitments – Saturday working many weekends) although I did play several games for Gala YM that season.

In my last full season, 1988-89 I was elected Captain. The club was actually in the 2nd Division, having been relegated the season before. We won promotion back to the 1st Division under my tenure, although not as champions, as we lost the deciding fixture against Stirling County.

Representative Rugby (numbers approximate!)

1 game for Anglo Scots vs Glasgow

4 games for South of Scotland U-21’s

18 games for South of Scotland (including tours to Cornwall and Ireland)

3 games for SDU - selection came as a result of playing for Gala YM during season 1986-87.

1 game for a Scottish XV vs Royal Navy –

Twice Reserve at International Trial

Twice Reserve in attendance for Scotland B

Selected for the Scotland tour of France. Played in 2 of the 3 games. One of the games was the inaugural

game of the French Barbarians

[OCTOBER 2023 – first game of this tour, against a France XV, has been upgraded to Test Match Status, which means

I have now been awarded a retrospective cap and can call myself an Internationalist!]


In 1989, now living in East Lothian and working in Edinburgh, I left Gala and joined Heriots, where my first game was for the 2nd XV, against Gala YM !! Being league tied that season, I played for the 1sts in a few friendlies and some cup ties. In those days, there wasn’t a fully-fledged Scottish Cup, but a knock-out competition called the River Series Trophy – not every club took part, but in 1990 Heriots reached the final and played Edinburgh Accies and Meggetland and I was on the bench. I played the entire second half after one of the flankers got injured. We won.

I was elected vice-captain in season 1991-92. One game sticks out – returning to Netherdale to play against Gala in a league match. We lost badly!

North Berwick

In 1993, I accepted an invitation to become player-coach of North Berwick RFC and was then heavily involved in the club for the next 20 years, with 2 years out in the middle when I was asked to become Head Coach at Musselburgh RFC, which I did for two seasons, where my assistant was Eddie Henderson, another old Gala favourite.

During this time, I also coached at North Berwick High School, coached at the club and continued to play, finally retiring at the end of season 2005-06 – which started with a tragic injury to skipper Jonny Mitchell – aged 48 after playing in 21 of the 22 games. My last game was a Bowl semi-final against Highland RFC, who were three divisions above us.

After hanging up the boots, I continued to coach at North Berwick, while at the same time assuming the roles of Fixture Secretary and Youth Co-ordinator. My final season of coaching was 2009-10, when we won promotion from East League 1 to National League Div 4 and also won the Bowl competition on Finals Day at Murrayfield.

I stayed on as Director of Rugby until the end of the 2012-13 season, when I finally handed over the reins of the remaining jobs I was doing to 3 other people. That year, I was awarded the SRU Spirit of Rugby award at the National awards evening, held at Murrayfield.

During my playing career I also played numerous Wednesday games, for the College of Textiles and then the Bank of Scotland (East) and several invitational games :-

Dolphins RFC vs West Hartlepool

Scottish Border Club –

1 game vs Northern (Newcastle) as part of their centenary celebrations

1 game vs South African Barbarians.

Royal High 7’s. (We won the tournament.)

Co-optimists – maybe 20 games including 3 or 4 as captain. These include a tour to Zimbabwe and a Carwyn James Memorial Match against Llanelli

Saltires – 5 or 6 games, including a tour to Trinidad & Barbados – I was tour captain.

Several appearances for “Presidents XV’s” – SRU, Morley, Selkirk, Rosyth & District to name but 4!!

Classics Rugby

World Rugby Classic in Bermuda - had the very good fortune to be invited to the tournament on 8 occasions from 1989- 1999. It was a Scottish Classic squad that took part up until 1992, then a Celtic Barbarians squad from 1993-96, and then a Classic Lions team.

During this period, the Scottish Classics played against the England, Wales, France and Ireland Classics over several seasons, including a game at Parc de Prince and a game in Bordeaux. The Scottish Classics also played a few celebration games around Scotland and went on tour to South Africa in 1993 and 1997 and to California in 1996.

Some months after retiring from all active involvement at NBRFC Pat and I relocated to the Isle of Lewis and I have continued to watch rugby as spectator and critic only! I remain a member of North Berwick (in fact the club made me an Honorary Member) and a member at Gala - although I think I need to increase my stand!

George Telfer

A 'borders lad', born and raised in Peebles; whilst at Peebles High School George played at Netherdale for the first time when he represented the South of Scotland Schools against Wales (under 16) in 1970; a team fielding six Gala Academy players that day Thereafter, he was selected for the Scottish Schools (under 19); playing alongside Gordon Dickson ( 'Dicks' was a player George says he never saw any opponent, even as a young player for Gala and newly bloodied in senior rugby, ever get the better of Dicks).

From an early age, George would rush to take the bus from Peebles to Gala after his school game, either midweek or on a Saturday, to watch Gala play. (He watched the legendary "Scotland Six" play many times), though his favourite rugby player then, and remains so today, was and is Johnny Brown.

On joining Gala A from school, as a seventeen year old, he made his debut for the Gala XV that same season in the traditional New Years Day fixture against Royal High School, having had to pull out against Ebbw Vale earlier in November due to an injury sustained against Gala YM (a modest rivalry between us prevailed then)! Thereafter, he played in either the number 14 or number 11 jersey alongside Drew Gill (another fine mentor).

From 1973 to 1977, George scored 60 tries in 90 appearances for Gala, representing the South of Scotland XV, Scotland (under 21) and winning his international cap against the Netherlands in 1974 (playing that day alongside Jim Aitken and Rob Cunningham) before his professional commitments took him away from the Borders and unfortunately from the commitments required in playing senior rugby during that era.

George originally studied Physical Education and Sports Science at Glasgow University and the Scottish School of Physical Education; teaching Physical Education for some five years before embarking on a commercial career. One of his earliest teaching practices was at Gala Academy under the watchful eye of the legendary Jim Shearer (Head of PE at the time) and also the late Alistair Christie (George says one of the best teachers he had the good fortune to observe and learn from).

Thereon and after teaching, George gained his MBA at Strathclyde University and thereafter an Executive Coaching Diploma from Cambridge University. For twelve years, George was the International Programmes Director at The Leadership Trust, before setting up his own leadership development company for some 15 years and working with major companies both in the UK and around the world.

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