Wednesday 18th September 2019
It’s important to me and all the other Melrose Board members that you’re kept up to date on club news, both on and off the field. There’s a lot of really positive stuff going on that I’d like to share.
First of all, I’d like to sincerely thank all our members, supporters, volunteer staff and vendors who came to our temporary home at Annay Road for our first home league game of the season against Kelso on 7 September. Also, a special thanks to our 1st XV stand-off, Donald Crawford, for his help in planning. I hope you had a great day as we celebrated our first home win.
Travelling to Goldenacre at the weekend for our first away match the 1st XV team celebrated a victory against Heriots, a fantastic start to the season. We’ll be using Annay Road for our next two home games on the 21st September and the 5th of October while development work continues at The Greenyards.
We wanted to create a really memorable experience for our first home game, and I hope you’ll agree we pulled that off. I also hope you’ll understand that due to the high costs involved, we won’t be able to replicate the same level of infrastructure (like the temporary grandstand, for example) for the next couple of home games. But we will work hard to make sure all supporters are looked after.
One of the really great bits of feedback we received about the first game at Annay Road was the family-friendly we were able to create. The Board is looking at ways we might be able to replicate that experience when we return to The Greenyards.
Our 1st XV have started this season very well, playing some brilliant rugby in our opening three games, showing passion and commitment. There’s a real buzz about the place and it’s so good to see the lads taking such pride in representing Melrose Rugby. Our head coach, Stuart Johnson, has got the boys playing a great brand of rugby and is fully committed to making the team everything the supporters would want of a Melrose team. I know all the players and staff are so grateful for your continued support.
Home is where the heart is
As discussed at the AGM, we are aiming to build a true community environment at Melrose. Creating a real family club with opportunities for our home-grown youngsters to represent Melrose – at every level – is a top priority for us. To demonstrate our commitment to this strategy, we’re targeting 95 percent of the 1st VX coming through our own system.
I’m pleased to report our Academy is going from strength-to-strength and the season has started well with all age groups. The number of boys and girls returning from last season, and a good few new recruits, point to a great future for the club. Our relationship with Earlston High School continues to be fantastic and this will hopefully allow us to grow the game of rugby football in the community.
I’d like to thank all of our volunteer youth coaches for their time, passion and commitment. It’s these volunteers who are making the game of rugby so enjoyable for the boys and girls. If you’d like to get involved in building the talent of future Melrose 1st VX squads, please get in touch. We’d love to have you on-board.
The Southern Knights project is moving along really well. The lads have started pre-season training and our Head Coach, Robert Chrystie, is delighted with his squad. As I’m sure you know, the squad announcements have already started rolling out.
Keep a look out on our website melroserugby.org/) and on our social media channels (Twitter: @MelroseRugby and @Sthrn_Knights. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MelroseRFC/. Instagram: @MelroseRugby) for further announcements. And on that point, it would be great if you could share posts and show your support in the comments sections. It’s a great way to demonstrate to the players that you care.
The new Southern Knights strips have been designed and we’re hoping to reveal them soon for our supporters to see. Watch this space.
The first Southern Knights game is at 3pm on Saturday 9th November at home against Watsonians. The commercial team here at the club is currently working on some partnerships, both locally and nationally, and we hope to announce some of these soon.
You might have noticed some changes to this website. We’ve pulled together information from three previous sites and we’re looking to create a more modern, intuitive navigation experience. A massive ‘thank you’ goes to Paul Mclean who has created our new club graphics. I’m sure you’ll agree they look fantastic. The website is still very much a work-in-progress. It’s not doing everything we want it to do right now, but we’ll get there. In time the website will incorporate an online club shop, membership offerings and discounts, more information and other functionalities. Thanks for your patience as we work through the build.
As is now very visible, The Greenyards is green again!
I’m mindful of the sensitivity around the project, but I’m also in no doubt that the changes are absolutely vital if we are to build a modern facility where we can provide the support necessary to help all our players, young and old(er), reach their full potential.
We must also all recognise that to be successful on the pitch, the club needs to be successful off the pitch too. And a big part of that means being commercially successful, so we have the money to reinvest in our rugby talent, and also reinvest in the club infrastructure and facilities. And to be commercially successful we must modernise and put plans in action to secure the future of the club.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the support and encouragement you’ve shown us as we take our first steps on the journey to that brave new world! Some of the decisions haven’t been easy, but then again, nothing worth having comes easy.
The target for the first game to be played back at The Greenyards is 2nd November. The contractors from W H Malcolm have been brilliant and have accommodated absolute everything that has been put their way. Thanks also to our funding partners Scottish Borders Council, Scottish Rugby and Sportscotland who have all been superb.
Come and ask us questions
As part of our commitment to you around openness and transparency, I will be holding a drop in session at the club on the 25th September between 7pm and 8 pm. This will be the third session I’ll have held. I’d love to meet you in person to answer any questions you might have. Please contact the club by email if you’d like to meet.
Thanks, as ever, for your continued support. We couldn’t do this stuff without you. And without you, it wouldn’t be worth doing anyway!
Until next time…