The rugby season is once again upon us and it looks like a long, challenging winter for Stornoway Rugby Club in Caledonia Division Two North.
There are going to be 22 league games in all on a home and away basis and the travelling commitment involved in 11 fixtures on the mainland is sure to test the squad to its absolute maximum.
The team is going to be missing several faces from last season and the list of players unavailable would test the resources of any squad at this level.
Missing for this year will be Jackson Lynch, Jerome Curran and Murray MacLeod, while James Kearns has moved to the mainland and Steve Burke is due to follow suit, though they may be available for the away games. Roddy Graham has also got a new job offshore which means he’ll be mssing for a lot of the time.
It means that everyone will have to pull together that much more to ensure Stornoway remain competitive in what is a very tough league indeed.
Stornoway coach Angus “Bubble” MacKay said: “Obviously, missing so many players is far from ideal but in that respect it’s even more important that players who are going to play step up the mark and take responsibility.
“Some of the pre-season has been good, but again lack of numbers is a real problem and it’s vital that we get numbers to training. Everything comes from that.
“We know it’s not going to be an easy season, but we showed in patches last year that we can compete at this level and we’ve nothing to fear. But full commitment is absolutely neccessary.
“We’ve some real quality in the squad and we’re looking forward immensely to having Jeff MacDonald in his first full season at senior level, along with young Paul Afrin. If we get enough ball we’ve got the backs to hurt most teams.”
The season kicks-off this Saturday with a home game against Lochaber at Bayhead, witha 3pm kick-off.
Coach MacKay also made a plea for any new players on the island, or those interested in playing, to come along to training every Tuesday and Thursday at 6.30pm.