‘Lights on, lights off and everything in between’

GALASHIELS, UNITED KINGDOM. - 16  Apr 2012 : 'Steven Headspath, in the changing rooms at Gala RFC'''(Photo by  ROB GRAY/digitalpic )
GALASHIELS, UNITED KINGDOM. - 16 Apr 2012 : 'Steven Headspath, in the changing rooms at Gala RFC'''(Photo by ROB GRAY/digitalpic )
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WHEN Gala RFC’s Steven Headspeath switches the lights out in the Netherdale changing rooms on Saturday night, the team he has followed all his life may be crowned Scottish Champions for the second time.

In 1999 Steven, known as Heppy, was among the huge throng of Gala supporters who turned out to watch their team beat Melrose in a dour final at Murrayfield. On Saturday he will be responsible for making sure they turn up in the correct kit and that their water bottles are full.

For Heppy, being kitman at the club is an honour. He took on the role 12 years ago, at first alongside Colin Wood, Wattie Kirk and Des Fox and now by himself, though Colin is still at hand on occasions. Being the first man in at Netherdale, on match and training days, and the last man out, he is considered every bit as much part of the team as the players.

“It’s a case of lights on, lights off and everything in between,” he told TheSouthern. “Anything outwith the playing side, that’s what I do. Kits, bags, medical stuff, water bottles, all need to be sorted out. This week it will be extra special because of the importance of the game.”

Long before Gala RFC’s players even think about getting out of their beds on Saturday morning Heppy will be at Netherdale dreaming of Cup glory.

“There won’t be much sleeping going on on Friday night,” he said. “I get excited before a normal game so goodness knows what it will be like on Saturday.

“I’m involved with the Braw Lads Gathering and they have their declaration night on Friday but it will be a quiet one for me because of the game the next day.

“Preparations are going well so far and there has been a magic atmosphere around the club this week so doing the job I do has been a pleasure.”

There will be no rest for Heppy after Saturday’s match. The club have their Border League final against Hawick next Wednesday. “It’s a quick turn-around so we will have to get everything sorted out again for that. It’s all good though and I wouldn’t swap it for the world.”

Coaches George Graham and Scott Nichol, team manager Harry Keddie, the players and many others all do their bit to help Heppy and a win against Ayr on Saturday is all the reward they want.