Ross High Rugby Club’s annual fixture against Welsh side Bedwellty on Sunday was met with added poignancy as the team marked its first game without captain Aiden Hoenigmann.

The occasion marks a historic connection between Ross High and Markham RFC, who merged with Bedwellty in 2022.

The relationship between the two sides dates back to 1972, when the sides first met on the field.

Since then, the clubs have continued annual friendly trips to Scotland and Wales when the national sides face each other in the Six Nations.

Both Markham and Tranent have a strong mining history, which initially linked the sides together.

Players and staff from Ross High made the trip to Wales on Friday, enjoying the weekend with their friends and watching the Wales vs Scotland Six Nations rugby game on the TV.

The fixture, where the sides competed for the John Tinlin Cup in memory of the former Ross High president, who died in 2022, took place on Sunday, with Bedwellty running out 19-10 winners.

A minutes applause was held before the game in memory of Ross High captain Aiden Hoenigmann, who passed away last month aged just 27.

READ MORE: Tributes paid to Aiden Hoenigmann following tragic death

The fixture marked the first time Ross High took to the field without their captain.

Chris Tinlin, son of former Ross High president John Tinlin, stood in as captain, scoring two tries on the day.

Rob Brown, vice-president of the club, told the Courier: “It was a touching moment with the minute’s applause. Bedwellty were so respectful and paid a great tribute to Aiden.

“It was a different sort of game without him but it was nice to be with friends.”

Following the game, both sides enjoyed a dinner where a total of £750 was raised towards a fundraising page in Aiden’s memory which is raising funds to support Aiden’s seven-year-old son Oskar. The fundraiser has already raised more then £22,000.

READ MORE: More than 800 pay their respects at funeral of Aiden Hoenigmann

Mr Brown added: “The Bedwellty guys did a lovely tribute to Aiden at the dinner which was nice. He was friends with many of them so they felt his loss too.

“But we enjoyed our trip. We got to see friends again, it was the first time we had been down since before Covid so it was special.

“I think everyone had a good time and we look forward to welcoming them to Tranent next year.”

When asked about the future captaincy of the team, Mr Brown said: "That will all be sorted soon.

"I imagine someone will stand in while we make decisions. We haven't decided yet but it is something that we will have to look at."

Scott Russell, Aiden's stepdad, thanked the clubs for their kind tributes on their trip.

He said: "I got sent all the pictures and it was nice to see such a good tribute.

"It is clear Aiden touched many lives and to see him celebrated means a lot."