Happy returns as West mark 150th year with promotion

Calum Morrison rises to the occasion in his final home match for West of Scotland against Orkney.
Calum Morrison rises to the occasion in his final home match for West of Scotland against Orkney.

West of Scotland had a promotion party on Saturday after a surprise defeat by rivals Dumfries confirmed they are going up.

West had come off the pitch after defeating Orkney 24-15 at Burnbrae in an early kick-off to give the islanders time to travel home.

There was then a wait to find out how closest challengers Dumfries had fared at Edinburgh side RHC.

But news of their defeat means the champagne could flow as West marked their 150th anniversary season in style.

And going up from BT National League Division 3 with two games to spare meant their last two tricky away matches - at Haddington and runaway leaders GHK - were now meaningless.

Club presidents Allan Snedden said he was delighted at the club’s success.

He said: “The ambition at the start of the season was to mark our 150th year by gaining promotion and we have managed to do that.

“In recent years we’ve been going down, whether it was due to restructuring or our own results, but for the first time in eight or nine years we’re going up.

“One of the most pleasing things is that we have achieved it with a young team filled mainly with local players.

“A lot of teams, even at our level, throw money about bringing in Kiwis and the like but we decided that wasn’t a road we wanted to go down.

“Of the 19 players who were in the squad for the Dumfries game the previous week, 12 played junior rugby at West.”

Allansaidthe club was reaping the benefit of using money to invest in facilities at the club rather than on bringing in players.

He said: “Our new all-weather pitch has made a huge difference because it has meant we are able to train and play throughout the winter.

“We’ve been on a really good run since the turn of the year and I think the fact that we’ve been able to train regularly while other teams haven’t has been a massive factor.

“It’s been a real team effort and there’s a great spirit about the club.

“One of the things about being in Milngavie is that in the past we have tended to lose players once they go on to uni or whatever.

“But now we’re finding that they want to come back to play for the club.

“It’s a great achievement and it was a great night - but now we are turning our attention to the seconds and thirds.

“They are also both going for promotion and it would be great to complete a hat-trick of successes.”