Melrose 3G community sports pitch officially opened
Hundreds of junior and senior sportspeople helped mark the official opening of the new Melrose 3G community sports pitch on Saturday 2 November.
The new pitch at the Greenyards was opened by Doddie Weir as part of a full day of sport which included a training session for new Super6 franchise team Southern Knights, two Melrose Rugby senior XV games, girl’s rugby and junior football sessions.
The £1million pitch will provide an all year-round playing surface and a variety of community benefits to local sports clubs and schools.
The project has been led by Melrose Rugby and Scottish Borders Council (SBC), with support from Scottish Rugby and charity Live Borders.
It includes new floodlighting and a spectator walkway and is fully expected to result in a considerable increase in sports participation at all levels.
The new surface will assist Melrose Rugby with its aims of becoming more community focussed and sustaining its long-term future.
These include changes to their famous and historic Sevens tournament in 2020 to include junior and female rugby, and an ambitious vision to bring the Rugby World Cup Sevens to the Scottish Borders in 2033.
Chairman of Melrose RFC, Gordon Brown, said: "Melrose Rugby is delighted with the opening of the new 3G pitch.
“This has been a long-standing ambition of the club since the launch of our Legacy project in 2017. The new 3G pitch with floodlights will allow the club to continue competing at the highest level as well as being an incredible asset that will enable other sporting activities and events.
“The club would like to thank all its support partners involved in this inclusive community-focused project. It will mark an exciting new chapter for us as we open our doors to other sports clubs in Melrose and the surrounding area.”
Scottish Rugby’s Regional Director for Edinburgh, Borders and Lothian, David Drummond, added: “It’s great to see the newly installed pitch ready to be utilised by the Southern Knights, Melrose and now the wider community.
“The installation of the new surface has been possible through the efforts of Scottish Borders Council, Live Borders and Scottish Rugby to ensure that more people, young and old, will be able to enjoy the facility and ensure the club’s sustainability for many years to come.
“I look forward to seeing some high-quality rugby on the pitch in the very near future.”
Councillor David Parker, SBC’s Convener, who was heavily involved in negotiations to secure the new 3G pitch at Melrose, said: “This is a fantastic day for Melrose and the surrounding area, and we thank all our partners for making this project a reality.
“The Greenyards pitch is owned by the Ormiston Trust, whose sole aim is to make sure that it provides important community facilities for all and the new 3G community sports pitch will certainly do that.
“The Council has worked closely with Melrose Rugby on this project. We are exciting about their plans for the Sevens tournament next year and will fully support its bid to host the Sevens World Cup, which, if successful, would be a game-changer for sport in our area.”
Councillor Euan Jardine, Executive Member for Culture and Sport, added: “We know the physical and mental benefits sport provides, and having another quality 3G pitch facility available for all to use all-year round will help increase participation.
“Significant numbers use the Galashiels and Hawick 3G pitches every week, and we expect Melrose will see the same positive usage of its facilities, as highlighted by Saturday’s full day of sport.”
Scott Weir, Area Manager for charity Live Borders, said: “The team at Live Borders welcomes collaborative and partnership projects, and we look forward to further close working with all those involved in the 3G pitch, including the local community.
“We are incredibly supportive of facilities that not only drive participation but create opportunities for all ages and abilities, all-year-round.
“We have seen significant usage at the 3G pitches in Galashiels, Hawick and Kelso and look forward to bringing the expertise and experience developed in these locations to Melrose.
“This project has also presented the opportunity for us to further develop and invest in our team with three new jobs created, all with a focus on our objective of people in the Borders being healthier, happier and stronger.”