Rugby - home advantage for Stornoway Ladies on season opener but men in action away

After a long summer without rugby for island fans both our mens and womens teams will cross the painted white line and into sporting battle again this weekend as the curtain for the new season moves into near sight.

Stornoway Rugby Club’s men are on their travels as they cross the Minch to play Ross Sutherland in a pre-season friendly.

This game is also being used a development opportunity, with the hope that players in the Ullapool area can be drafted in to the game.

In the past, Stornoway have been fortunate enough to pick up the odd body when travelling to away games, with the Invergorden side also showing an interest, it could prove valuable to both sides this season.

First team coach David Campbell is keen for the island outfit to play their part in developing rugby in the Ullapool area.

He commented: “We have been lucky enough to pick up a few Ullapool lads when we travel to away games over the past couple of seasons and it’s always a bonus to try and add to these by playing this game on their doorstep.

“Hopefully both teams can gain from this fixture.”

First team captain Alick Graham is keen to get the season underway and he is hoping the club’s junior ranks can propel some new bodies into the senior pack.

Graham said: “We have seen a number of the clubs U-18 squad make the step up to senior rugby this summer and we are all looking forward to getting on the pitch and seeing how they handle first team rugby.”

At home Stornoway Ladies make history yet again, as they play their first ever league match against Huntly Ladies.

The ladies squad have worked hard over the summer and coach Angus ‘Bubble’ Mackay is tipping the ladies to continue the remarkable growth of the game on the island.

“It’s been a very positive pre-season and the girls are keen to get on the pitch,” said Mackay.

“We have welcomed a few new players to the squad and they have really bought in to the rugby ethos and what we as a club are trying to build here on the island.”

Ladies captain Emma Scaramuccia is looking forward to getting back in the swing of things.

She added: “The girls can’t wait to get playing again. We’ve added to the squad over the summer and everyone is desperate to get going again.”

The girls have lost their starting stand off Iona Cooper due to a broken hand and this will be their hardest challenge in the early part of the season.

But with the way the girls have approached the last couple of years, there is little chance of them letting this get in the way. Stornoway Ladies RFC host Huntly Ladies RFC at Bayhead this Saturday at 3pm.