Blether: Raith tour drama as team ‘boat’ is grounded

Jimmy Bonthrone

Cameron McLaughlin came on with a good tale about Raith Rovers, which I had not heard.

First of all, though, he teased me with the question . . . “Which Scottish football team went on a European tour and were on a boat that sank. However, they went on to win all their games?”

After swiftly ‘giving up’, Cameron revealed it was the Kirkcaldy outfit.

“They were on a boat called Highland Loch, which was taking the players to Spain in July 1923 for a pre-season tour,” he revealed.

“They were all safely rescued and then went on to play around a half-dozen games undefeated.”

With no more detail being offered, it was off to the files for me.

There I found cuttings that suggested the Highland Loch did not actually sink but was grounded on a sandbank near Corruedo in north-west Spain.

The passengers were all safely taken off and went to Vigo.

The ship was later refloated and eventually reached Vigo.

Scores on that tour were . . .

Vigo 0, Raith Rovers 1 (Jennings).

Vigo 1, Raith Rovers 3 (Jennings, James, Ritchie).

Victoria LPCI 0, Raith Rovers 4 (Hilley 2, James, Morris).

Gran Canaria 1, Raith Rovers 5 (Jennings 5).

Victoria 0, Raith Rovers 2 (Jennings 2).

Marino 1, Raith Rovers 2 (Cowie, Hilley).

The players who represented Raith Rovers on that tour were . . . Brown, Inglis, McDougall, Barton, Morris, Collier, Hilley, Bell, Miller, Jennings, James, Ritchie, Cowie.