Dynamic duo spearhead rise of Garioch Women

Stuart Corsar and Jess Silcocks have played leading roles in helping Stuart Corsar and Jess Silcocks have played crucial roles in helping Kellands Park side establish themselves as a Premiership team

Garioch battled hard lasts season to retain top flight status. Image: Gareth Falls
Garioch battled hard lasts season to retain top flight status. Image: Gareth Falls

IT is generally acknowledged that the state of rugby in the Northern Caledonia area is not in the rudest of health at a time when too many clubs are chasing a dwindling pool of players. Having said that, there are still pockets of excellence, which do the region proud.

In particular, Highland continue to pursue a place in the Premiership, but not helped by the strange, unacceptable arrangement of only one promotion place being on offer in National League One. But where there is a will there is a way, and Davie Carson‘s coaching team will be bidding to improve on the third place achieved this season.

Orkney can be equally pleased with their second place finish in National League Three, especially as so many games were won on the road. Much of the islanders success can be attributed to their most dedicated of all round servants, Garry Coltherd, who is at the centre of all things good and has been for many a year.


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A strong contender for team of the region is Moray where coach-cum-player Cameron Hughes has taken his charges to a Murrayfield Final while topping the Caledonia Region League Division One Play-off Conference, which will give the club their first taste of the National Leagues next season.

Notwithstanding, the achievements of all the aforementioned, all led by driven, dedicated individuals, my vote for top club in Northern Caledonia goes to Garioch Women who have retained their Premiership status against all the odds, ably supported by a former Garioch men’s player who is now the North Women and Girls Performance Coach.

A lot of water has flowed down the nearby River Don since I first crossed paths with Stuart Alexander Corsar in the year 2000 when he was an aspiring under-16 Scotland squad member. A recent meeting with the Inverurie-born former prop convinced me he retains all the enthusiasm and drive which took him to the professional ranks with Glasgow Warriors after cutting his teeth at Garioch and Aberdeen Grammar, the then only Premiership side in the region.

Certainly, he is fondly remembered by head coach Damian Reidy who took Grammar to within touching distance of winning the Premiership.

The Australian said: “Stuart was a great all rounder who was prepared to play anywhere in the forwards. I knew his determination and work-ethic would take him places”.

Following his time with the Warriors, Stuart had short spells with Doncaster and Rotherham before returning to his native North-East.

A serious head injury in his second spell with Grammar effectively ended his playing career and after a season as head coach with the Rubislaw side, he retired to run his own rugby development company, including being the DO with his old club Garoch where he forged a strong alliance with Jess Silcocks who was a leading figure in the club and captain of the women’s team.

 

 

The link led to the strengthening of the section, while Jess became an ambassador with the club.

Silcocks said: “Stuart took over the head coach role of Garioch Women. We never looked back. He was just amazing. Sensitive and kind and a great coach.

“I am delighted that he is now in the role of women’s and girls performance coach. The North will surely blossom under his considerable coaching skills.

“He will also find time for Garioch who are going places now that Scottish Rugby have entered the Celtic Challenge and we have three players turning out regularly for Glasgow Warriors. He has surely found his niche in the coaching world.”

For his part, Corsar was delighted to still retain his links with Jess, and said of her: “She is a legend at Kellands Perk, a brave player, while an awesome leader.

“She even returned to play very soon after having a baby, managing to be the top try scorer in the team, not that she is likely to let her team mates forget the scoring achievement!”

So with such a deadly duo in place, it’s highly likely the women’s game will develop further in North Caledonia, while serving as inspiration to rugby throughout the region.


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About Jack Nixon 74 Articles
Jack is a Borderer, born in Langholm, and a graduate of Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh. He was a founder member of Livingston Rugby Club in 1968 and has been rugby correspondent for the Aberdeen Press and Journal since 1997. He has been going to Murrayfield man and boy since 1954!

1 Comment

  1. As an ex Donsider I’m delighted to see Garioch women doing so well and all credit to them for their achievements.

    Keep up the good work!

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