Oil worker pledges to treasure memento of stunning Calcutta Cup win

Scotland captain John Barclay lifts the Calcutta Cup

Saturday February 24, 2018 is a date all Scottish rugby fans will remember for years to come.

One Aberdeen oil worker, however, has a physical reminder of Scotland’s stunning Calcutta Cup win.

Not only did Iain Cooper roar his national team to a resounding victory as they beat England 25-13, he snatched the match-winning ball, thrown into the crowd as the final whistle blew.

Mr Cooper arrived at Murrayfield with his girlfriend Erin Linton in high hopes he would see Scotland beat England live in the Natwest 6 Nations.

The 38-year-old from Arbroath, himself an inside centre who has played for Arbroath Rugby Club for 20 years, said his memento of the victory would be treasured “for generations”.

“To be honest, I don’t know who threw the ball,” he admitted.

“Erin and I were caught up in the moment, chatting to people, and I wasn’t even looking at the pitch.

“I saw the ball out of the corner of my eye, coming at me from the left, and it was an instinctive reaction to reach out grab it. Suddenly I had the match-winning ball in my hand.”

Miss Linton quickly took to social media to reveal her partner’s good fortune, tweeting: “What a day, what a game and @Coops_79er ends up catching the match ball from the Calcutta Cup winning game.”

With the ball deposited for safe keeping, Mr Cooper, an inside sales manager for Aberdeen oil and gas company TAM International, joined the thousands of fans who partied the night away in the capital.

Before the evening was out there was another surprise on the way for the couple, as they found themselves meeting former Grand Slam winner Craig Chalmers.

Mr Cooper said: “As somebody who has followed rugby for a lot of years, I was just so fortunate. I kept pinching myself.

“He played in the 1990 Calcutta Cup victory and was one of the players I watched when I was going to schoolboy rugby. It just seemed to be my day.”

Mr Cooper has already received offers for the match-winning ball but is emphatic it is not for sale.

“This is one of those things that will be passed down for generations,” he said.