Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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Robert Kenneth Gillespie MacEwen


Robert Kenneth Gillespie MacEwen selected for Scotland (Hooker) from 1954-58 while playing for Cambridge University and London Scottish. Born Oxford 25th Feb 1928 the son of Kenneth Grant MacEwen and Mary Josephine Ussher. He was related to the Bush family that played for Clifton. His fathers sister, Elaine Gwendoline G. MacEwen married Reginald Arthur Bush, the son of James Arthur Bush. It was his grandfather, Robert MacEwen, who was born in Scotland and qualified him to play for Scotland. He was educated at Clifton College from 1936 to 1942 and Bristol Grammar School. He played 6 times for the Barbarians while at Cambridge University and London Scottish and also Gloucestershire. He started his club rugby with Clifton. He ended it playing for Landsdowne. He wasn't selected for Scotland in 1955 as they had adopted a policy of not selecting Scots that played for English Clubs.

INTERNATIONAL RECORD: Scotland Appearances 1954-58

Career Record: P13, W3, D0, L10, Tries 0, Cons 0, Pen 0, DropG 0

9th Jan 1954 v France (Murrayfield) (FN) L 0-3

13th Feb 1954 v New Zealand (Murrayfield) L 0-3

27th Feb 1954 v Ireland (Ravenhill, Belfast) (FN) L 0-6

10th April 1954 v Wales (Swansea) (FN) L 3-15

14th Jan 1956 v France (Murrayfield) (FN) W 12-0

4th Feb 1956 v Wales (Cardiff) (FN) L 3-9

25th Feb 1956 v Ireland (Lansdowne Road, Dublin) (FN) L 10-14

17th March 1956 v England (Murrayfield) (FN) L 6-11

12th Jan 1957 v France (Stade Colombes, Paris) (FN) W 6-0

2nd Feb 1957 v Wales (Murrayfield) (FN) W 9-6

23rd Feb 1957 v Ireland (Murrayfield) (FN) L 3-5

16th March 1957 v England (Twickenham) (FN) L 3-16

1st Feb 1958 v Wales (Cardiff) (FN) L 3-8

Standing (L-R): M.G.Hinton, R.K.G.MacEwen, G.H.H.Lambert, B.R.J.Beesley, J.Farleigh, J.C.Mansfield, G.A.Davies. Seated: T.W.Graveney, R.S.Lloyd, W.S.Down (Captain), P.R.Richardson, P.H.Tangye. On Ground: D.Datta, M.J.Young.

Above the 1944 Bristol Grammar School Rugby XV with Robert MacEwen. Also in the picture is Tom Graveney who went on to play cricket for England.

Back Row (L-R): M.H.Drewett, R.K.G.MacEwen, K.G.H.Fleming, G.A.Davies, M.S.Dunnill, D.M.Vowles. Middle Row: P.M.Cooke, R.S.Lloyd, A.D.Brown, D.Adams, J.Farleigh, G.H.H.Lambert, I.Sutcliffe, P.R.Richardson. Front Row: M.J.Young, J.R.Northey, J.C.Mansfield (Head of School), The Headmaster, P.H.Tangye, M.C.Boyes, J.C.Milburn. Absent: M.G.Hinton (Second Prefect), E.B.Bunker.

Above the 1945 Bristol Grammar School Prefects with Robert MacEwen

He was at Loughborough Colleges/University prior to Cambridge and captained the rugby club with an almost unbeaten 1st XV in 1951-2 season : played for unbeaten UAU side : cf Rugby Annual 51-2


Above programme from the Cambridge University v Cambridge University LX Club on 28th October 1952 with Robert MacEwen (mispelt McEwan) on the LX Club side, Vic Leadbetter on the University side. Robert MacEwen had also attended Loughborough College as well as Bristol Grammar and Clifton College.

Standing (L-R): J.Roberts, R.K.G.MacEwen, D.R.Silk, J.P.K.Asquith, J.W.Clements, H.B.Griffiths. Seated: P.M.Davies, K.J.Dalgleish, I.D.S.Beer, P.J.F.Wheeler (Captain), T.C.Pearson, M.J.O.Massey, D.G.Massey. On Ground: P.H.Ryan, H.P.Morgan.

Above the 1953 Cambridge University side with Clifton's Robert MacEwen.

Above programme cover and team sheet for the 1953 Varsity match which featured Robert MacEwen. The match was a 6-6 draw.

Back Row (L-R): H.F.McLeod (Hawick), R.K.G.MacEwen (Cambridge University), E.A.J.Ferguson (Oxford University), E.J.S.Michie (Aberdeen University), J.C.Marshall (London Scottish), A.Robson (Hawick), Ivor David (Wales Referee). Seated: J.H.Henderson (Richmond), J.S.Swan (London Scottish), A.D.Cameron (Hillhead High School F.P.), P.W.Kininmouth (Richmond), J.N.G.Davidson (Edinburgh University) (Captain), T.P.L.McGlasham (Royal High School F.P.), D.Cameron (Glasgow High School F.P.), T.G.Weaterstone (Stewart's College F.P.), A.K.Fulton (Dollar Academicals).

Above the Scotland side that played France on 9th January 1954. Robert MacEwen's debut. © Yerbury Photography, image courtesy of Scottish Rugby Union Library.

Above programme cover and team sheet for Robert McEwen's debut for Scotland v France on 9th January 1954. France won 3-0. Robert MacEwen was selected for Scotland after 2 trials at Murrayfield. This season Scotland lost all their 5 Nation matches and a game against New Zealand. This game was Scotland’s 12th defeat in a row. They last won a game on 3rd February 1951.

Above programme cover and team sheet for Robert McEwen's second match for Scotland v New Zealand on 13th February 1954. New Zealand won 3-0.

Above programme cover and team sheet from Robert MacEwens 4th cap for Scotland v Wales on 30th February 1954 which was cancelled due to frost.

Above team sheet from Robert McEwen’s 4th cap for Scotland v Wales which was replayed on 10th April 1954. This appeared as an insert in the original programme. Wales won 15-3. This gave the Wooden Spoon to Scotland.

He was awarded a cap v England in 1954 but could not play at last minute due to haematoma injury aggravated in team training.

Cambridge Standing (L-R): Mr Ivor David (Referee), N.C.G.Raffle, T.McClung, R.W.D.Marques, D.Jagger, A.R.Smith, R.H.Umbers,. Seated: D.R.W.Silk, J.Roberts, P.M.Davies, I.D.S.Beer (Captain), R.K.G.MacEwen, J.W.Clements, A.J.Herbert. On Gorund: A.F.Barter, W.J.Downey.

Above the Cambridge XV that played in the 1954 Varsity match which included ex Clifton RFC player Robert MacEwen. The Oxford XV included Clifton RFC player John Currie. Cambridge won 3-0

Above the programme cover and team sheet from that 1954 Varsity match that included Clifton's John Currie and Robert MacEwen.

Above programme cover and team sheet from Robert McEwen’s 6th cap for Scotland v Wales on 4th February 1956

Standing (L-R): Mr.C.W..Drummond (SRU), J.S.Swan (Coventry), T.Elliot (Gala), I.A.A.Macgregor (Llanelly), J.W.Y.Kemp (Glasgow HSFP), E.J.S.Michie (The Army), R.K.G.MacEwen (London Scottish), Mr.L.M.Boundy (Referee). Seated: H.F.McLeod (Hawick), J.T.Greenwood (Dunfermline), A.Cameron (Captain) (Glasgow HSFP), A.Robson (Hawick), A.R.Smith (Cambridge University). On Ground: K.R.Macdonald (Stewarts Coll FP), N.M.Campbell (London Scottish), M.L.Grant (Harlequins, T.Chisholm (Melrose).

Above the Scotland side that played Wales on 4th Feb 1956 with Robert MacEwen.

Above programme cover and teamsheet from the Ireland v Scotland on 25th February 1956. Ireland won 14-10

Above programme cover and team sheet for Robert MacEwen's 8th cap for Scotland. This was also John Currie's 3rd cap for England v Scotland on 17th March 1956. He scored 2 penalties and 1 conversion in this match.

Action from the France v Scotland match on the 12th January 1957 at Stade Colombes, Paris. Above left J.T.Greenwood has tackled one Frenchman and T.Elliot and R.K.G.MacEwen set off for another. Above right A picture which might have had a tragic ending for Scotland. R.K.G.MacEwen is carried off on a stretcher. Happily, he was able to return.

Back Row (L-R): Mr.L.M.Boundy (Referee), J.S.Swan (Coventry), I.A.A.MacGregor (Llanelly), J.W.Y.Kemp (Glasgow HSFP), A.R.Smith (Cambridge University), T.Elliot (Gala), J.T.Greenwood (Perthshire Academicals) (Captain), E.J.S.Michie (London Scottish), G.D.Stevenson (Hawick), A.Robson (Hawick), R.K.G.MacEwen (London Scottish). Front Row: E.McKeating (Heriot's FP), H.F.McLeod (Hawick), A.F.Dorward (Gala), M.L.Grant (Harlequins), K.J.F.Scotland (Royal Signals, Catterick, and Heriots FP).

Above Scotland team that played France on the 12th January 1957 at Stade Colombes, Paris. Scotland won 6-0 with ex Clifton RFC player Robert MacEwen.

Above programme cover and teamsheet from the Scotland v Wales on 2nd February 1957.

Above Robert MacEwen in action for Scotland v Wales on 2nd February 1957. Scotland won 9-6. The caption read "The ball is loose and MacEwen, the Scottish hooker, dribbles through between Lloyd Williams and Ken Jones".

Above programme cover and team sheet for Robert MacEwens 11th cap for Scotland v Ireland at Murrayfield. Ireland won 5-3. This match was the seventh match in succession the Scottish pack remained unchanged. This season saw the debut for Scotland of K.J.F.Scotland who scored in every match in this year’s Five Nations.

Standing (L-R): Mr.R.Mitchell (Referee), R.K.G.MacEwen (London Scottish), K.R.Macdonald (Stewart's College FP), G.K.Smith (Kelso), J.W.Y.Kemp (Glasgow High School F.P), J.L.F.Allan (Cambridge University), T.McClung (Edinburgh Academicals), K.J.F. Scotland (R.Signals and Heriots FP), Mr C.W.Drummond (Touch Judge). Seated: E.J.S.Michie (London Scottish), T.Elliot (Gala), A.Robson (Hawick), J.T.Greenwood (Perthshire Acads) (Captain), A.R.Smith (Cambridge University), H.F.McLeod (Hawick). On Ground: G.H.Waddell (London Scottish), A.F.Dorward (Gala).

Above the Scotland side that played England at Twickenham on 16th March 1957 with ex Clifton RFC player Robert MacEwen in his penultimate game for Scotland..

Above programme cover and team sheet from Robert MacEwen’s last match for Scotland on 1st February 1958 v Wales. He won his place back after an injury to Norman Bruce.

Above Oxford University v Major Stanleys XV with ex Clifton player Robert MacEwen on the Major Stanleys XV.

In the mid and late 1960s he was a co-author of the RFU's 'Guide for Coaches' and 'Guide for Players' copies of which, with accompanying filmlets, sold throughout the world.; and were much copied for their thought-provoking contents.