Stornoway Rugby Club are cautiously optimistic of achieving their best ever season since entering Caley North 2 after the high-flying Hebrideans rocketed to a five league win of the campaign.
A six-sational tried were touched down by the relentless home stars who gave a weakened Shetland side absolutely no respite or relief.
Player coach Angus ‘Bubble’ Mackay’s young charges prowled Bayhead like a ravenous wolf looking for Shetlandic blood.
Innes ‘Kong Maclean, Chris Adams, Darren Beattie, Callum Nicolson and a brace from Euan Mackinnon propelled Stornoway to a magnificent win on a thoroughly entertaining afternoon while Allan Farrell had definitely packed his shooting boots as he drove his laces, pure and true through the conversions as four sailed comfortably through the posts.
In fact the 38-points which Stornoway did register on the Bayhead scoreboard was arguably scant consolation considering their utter dominance of the league tie.
Stornoway were welcoming back a number of players, with several normal starters out injured.
Darren Beattie and Euan ‘Moley’ Macleod came in to the back line, while Andy Macleod and veteran and coach Angus ‘Bubble’ Mackay came into the pack.
Stornoway have worked hard in recent weeks, trying to develop a more expansive game and Saturday saw the side reap the richest of rewards.
Stornoway enjoyed the lions share of possession and created untold scoring opportunities but were unable maximise this territory and pressure.
“I thought we did most things right,” mused Mackay after the match but he admitted to being slightly frustrated at not being able to capitalise on those scoring opportunities. “What’s pleasing is that we gained maximum points, scoring six tries, the boys are frustrated about the chances they failed to convert.”
He continued: “The boys all showed real ambition and spread the ball well, perhaps on another day the decision making would have been slightly better and we could have been looking at double figures on the try count.”
Mackay though was full of praise for the way the squad have approached a very difficult season.
It is a far cry from the well-publicised woes of last summer when Stornoway had genuine fears they could be forced to withdraw from the league due to a lack of players. But fast forward six months and the attitude, commitment and desire of the squad has delighted all involved.
That desire and inspiration was clearly evident on Saturday, on and off the field, with an incredible support on show.
It’s fair to say there is a buzz around the club at the moment, so much so, that Stornoway will make history next month when the first ever primary school fixture takes place. Glasgow side GHA are the visitors with the match scheduled for March 11th.
This is down to the hard work of club captain David Campbell, who has travelled round the primary schools promoting the game.
Mackay added: “There are a lot of good people, putting in a lot of work to ensure the club continues to thrive, no more so than David.
“His input over the last two years has been hugely refreshing.”
Stornoway now have a wee break, with the Six Nations returning this weekend. But it’s back to work on Saturday 4th March when they welcome Deeside to Bayhead.
Let’s hope the side continue to develop and finish the season on a high.