GLASGOW HAWKS will play their rugby this season at Balgray, the historic ground owned by Kelvinside Academy and located less than a mile as the crow flies from their previous Old Anniesland base.
The venue was home to Kelvinside Academicals prior to their amalgamation with Glasgow High School FP to form GHK in 1983, and it hosted Glasgow Hawks’ first ever game – a pre-season encounter against Hawick RFC – in August 1997.
Hawks will begin training at their new base this Tuesday and will play their first home game in this season’s Tennent’s Premiership against Heriot’s there a week on Saturday.
The partnership will also see Hawks train at Craigholme School’s sports complex at Pollok Park. Hawks will provide support to the school’s rugby programme and the organisations will collaborate on a joint sporting facilities development plan.
“This is a huge coup for our school. Balgray has an incredibly rich rugby history and we’re very excited for this next chapter,” said Kelvinside Academy Rector Ian Munro.
“The partnership is the fulfilment of a long-held ambition to bring senior rugby back to the school. I look forward to an extremely vibrant atmosphere on Saturday afternoons when Glasgow Hawks games follow what is always a fantastic morning of school rugby and hockey fixtures.
“Our young rugby players will look up to Hawks and we will work closely with them and GHK to maintain a strong former pupil presence in both sides.”
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Glasgow Hawks’ President Kenny Hamilton believes this move is an important step for the club as it looks to regroup after the disappointment of being excluded from the SRU’s Super 6 league which will kick-off at the start of next season.
The SRU plan to expand that league to eight teams in the near future, and having a suitable permanent base will be key to Hawks making the cut at that point.
“This is a landmark move for rugby in Glasgow. The partnership with Kelvinside Academy and our new home will provide a solid foundation for growth and will open our club to a whole raft of new opportunities,” said Hamilton.
“Glasgow Hawks’ roots are intertwined with the school and everyone at the club is incredibly excited about what will be a fantastic move for us.”
Bob Coats, Hawks’ Director of Rugby, added: “The facilities, set-up and ambition at Kelvinside are second to none and a perfect fit for Hawks. The move complements a comprehensive reassessment of our core operations.”
“We now have a 1st XV framework which will strengthen our ties with other Glasgow clubs in a meaningful way. Our existing partnerships with Royal Navy (Scotland), University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde will also continue to grow as we work with Scottish Rugby’s Super 6 Regional Taskforce in the coming months.”
Kelvinside Academy also recently announced that Balgray will host a GHK 1st XV home game next season, further solidifying its link with the FP side.
Hawks played one game at Balgray last season, when they defeated Hawick on a cabbage patch pitch. Significant work has been done this summer to return the playing surface – which was once regarded as the best in the west of Scotland – to its former glory, and an ongoing investment programme has been set out over the next few years.