A rugby club in the north of Scotland has snapped up the first RBS Club of the Month trophy of the 2013/14 season.
Highland Rugby Club, whose home is at Canal Park in Inverness, impressed the judges not only with their successful run in RBS Caledonia Regional League Division 2 North, or because they are now running over 12 teams and have more than 300 players, but for a selfless act to ensure a fixture could be played.
During the last week of September Boroughmuir and Highland under-18s were due to meet in Inverness in the National Under-18 League, but the capital side were unable to arrange transport north. Highland stepped in and helped to arrange and fund a coach.
Highland president, Neil Rennie, said: “It turned out to be a good game, very competitive. We’re glad we could help them out with some cash and to understand the Scottish Rugby travel scheme.
“The under-18 National League is good for us and we’re hoping we’ll be able to keep competing in it for a number of years.”
Following a tough season last year the club has done everything it can to ensure a fresh start, the ageing clubhouse was given a facelift during RBS RugbyForce weekend back in August, a new first XV coach was put in place in Davie Carson and it's now operating with a development officer, Sinclair Patience and two modern apprentices, James Murray and John Clark, whose work is seeing a great deal of growth in the club’s junior sections.
Rennie continued: “We have set in motion a one year development programme to ensure we have a competitive senior team that is sustainable. We have put in place a new coach, who has appointed some great coaches and this reward is down to the hard work of so many volunteers and coaches at the club, particularly after a poor season last year.
“The players have set themselves targets, notably to go unbeaten this season and earn promotion to RBS Caledonia Regional League Division 1 and to try to get to the RBS Bowl final at Murrayfield next April. We’re doing well so far and we hope to keep building on those goals year on year.
“With this successful run we’re seeing new sponsors keen to come on board and more fans coming along on a Saturday. Winning is definitely an attractive quality. On the back of this we want to create an attractive club full of rugby values and a social atmosphere.
“The work of our development officer and modern apprentices is also extremely valuable. We have players coming through at all age groups and we’re now seeing players’ progression from the junior section into the senior team, which is something we have struggled with in the past. Given the size of Inverness we’re desperate to have more people playing rugby.”
In terms of performance Highland’s first XV won five games and drew one during August and September and their under-18 team won four from four. One yellow card was conceded during the month across all teas.
In lifting the RBS Club of the Month award for September Highland win £1000, a trophy to mark occasion and a table of ten at the annual Scottish Rugby Club Awards Dinner that will take place next May.