THE decision to call off the rest of the competitive season was greeted with dismay in the Caledonia area, and nowhere more so than by the three teams in Aberdeen, Inverness and Turriff who were eagerly waiting to make their league debuts during the 2020-21 campaign.
Taexali Rugby Club – who are based at Woodside Sports Complex in the Granite City so the most northerly of the 30 plus inclusive clubs in the UK – have in fact been in existence for two years, but this year were allocated a place in the Caledonia Regional Leagues to the delight of Kyle Yeats, one of the founder members.
“We are so pleased to have the opportunity to play in a competitive structure,” said Yeats, who is a key member of the pack in the squad of 30 who attend training every week. “The club has worked hard to promote equality and diversity, particularly the elimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Gaining a place in the Caley set up is a huge break through for us.”
As the numbers have increased so has the skill levels of the squad under the watchful eye of coach Grant Skene, who has already led the team to success in Northumberland where they won the Hadrian Cup all inclusive tens tournament just before lockdown arrived. Rob Dundas made it double glory, winning the player of the tournament.
“We now look forward to trips to Shetland, Stornoway, Inverness and all other points north, but sadly will have to wait until next season for that to happen,” added Yeats.
One of the trips Taexali will make on league business will be to the Banff Buchan area where newly formed Turriff will become the fourth club in the area in recent years to enter the league set up, joining Banff, Fraserburgh and Peterhead, making it the hot bed of North East rugby.
Turriff Rugby was registered with the SRU in October 2019 but due to Covid19 restrictions were not able to take their place on Caley 4 North this season. Far from frustrating the enthusiastic local committee, led by joint Presidents John and Lyndsey Hester (a husband and wife team), they have just got on with preparing for next season.
“It will be good to go into a league in which we have two local derbies,” said Lyndsey, who has been playing the game for 19 years and was one of the driving forces in setting up a women’s team at the ambitious club, who have already made their mark at the Huntly Sevens. “We believe we are on a winner, the potential of the area is huge. Our costs are minimal, as we have no clubhouse, but we are working towards building one.”
The third team set to make its debut is in Inverness where highflying Highland, who boast a 1st XV in National League One and eyeing promotion to the Premiership, are set to launch a third team who will also compete with Taexali and Turriff in Caledonia League Four.
“It’s just another building block on the way to establishing Highland’s place in Scottish rugby,” said President Geoff Begg. “We look forward to meeting our fellow newcomers in Aberdeen and Turriff.”
- The Offside Line’s grassroots rugby coverage is supported by Colin Campbell Sports (Teamwear Specialists), suppliers of Macron rugby strips and training wear.
- Email [email protected]colincampbellsports.com to find out more about how Colin and his team can help your club with their kit requirements.