The unique organisation that is Darroch Basketball Club, started out in September 1972 as St. Catherines/Argyll Youth Club, playing in the hall of the church of the same name, in Grange Road, Edinburgh.
The church started up basketball, football, volleyball and badminton groups that session, but all fell by the wayside after a single year, other than the basketball. The next year, we moved to the (then) Milton Street School in the Canongate, and Tommy Millar (formerly of Hornets/Scotland/Great Britain) took over as Coach. Tommy’s brother Carl, himself an internationalist, was also an occasional visitor in the early days.
In consultation with the then members, Tommy formulated the ethos of the Club, which has been the major factor in its success and long life. Mixed gender, fun basketball, with a competitive edge, has sustained the club throughout its lifetime, and we have never participated in a league competition, contenting ourselves with occasional friendlies (some of which have been friendlier than others!)
After a couple of years at Milton Street we moved to the old Darroch School in Tollcross, from which the Club then took its name, playing there until 1989, when the gym became unavailable, at which point we transported ourselves to Boroughmuir High School, Viewforth (off Bruntsfield), our present home. Continuity was maintained over the Easter and summer vacations, when we let Edinburgh University’s (former Pleasance) Trust Hall, and latterly also the main sports hall at the Pleasance, and the Holyrood gyms.
When the Club was a mere five years young, we were invited to play a men’s match against the Youth Squad of the famous Hornets Basketball Club. The Edinburgh Evening News recorded the occasion.
Over the years, the membership of the Club has included females and males who have played at all levels of the sport within Scotland, including National League, and we have also managed to have a healthy influx of visitors from abroad, coming from an impressively wide range of countries. We also always maintained very close links with the old Pleasance Boys Club.
Forty years on, the Club has continued to meet once a week for an evening of fun basketball, not to mention for numerous lively social events! As a part of our 25th Anniversary celebrations, the Evening News once again ran a photograph and short article on the club, on 18th September 1997, under the headline “Darroch Have Right Attitude!”
Those with keen vision will spot that the six handsome chaps in the front row of the 1997 photo call still remain from the 1977 vintage. Our membership encompasses a wide age range, currently 15 to 50-ish, and our we’ve reached the stage where some members’ children have now become active Darroch members. Ally Reid holds an Introductory Coaching Certificate, and has generally organised all aspects of the Club’s activities for the last three decades.
In 2011, financial pressures suggested that a sensible move would be for Darroch to combine with our co-habitees at Boroughmuir High School – Boroughmuir Blaze (formerly Barrs), the latter Club still run by one of Scotland’s greatest ever players, Bill McInnes OBE.
Wednesday night social basketball sessions therefore continue under the Blaze/Darroch banner, and new players who wish to play without entering a competitive league environment are welcomed to our regular Wednesday evening session (7:30-9:30pm), in the Games Hall in the basement of Boroughmuir High School.
Darroch has recently joined forces with basketballscotland to provide the trophies to be presented to both Men’s and Women’s winners of the National League Play-offs, at Senior, Under 18 and Under 16 levels – the Darroch Cup for men, and the Tommy Millar Trophy for ladies.