Melrose builds on rich history to focus on community future

Ally Grieve in action for Melrose last season in a 45-12 win over Boroughmuir (picture by Douglas Hardie)
Ally Grieve in action for Melrose last season in a 45-12 win over Boroughmuir (picture by Douglas Hardie)

Melrose Rugby Club has announced the launch of phase one of its 1883 Legacy Project – to install a 3G pitch with floodlights at The Greenyards.

Following a period of consultation with community, plus public and private sector partners, it marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the historic club’s future, and for Scottish rugby.

The vision of the 1883 venture is to develop a focus for rugby and sport within a community environment, while recognising the heritage and the worldwide acclaim Melrose RFC has as the birthplace of the seven-a-side game.

The 3G synthetic surface technology is designed for rugby and football at competitive, training and recreational levels, for schools and community clubs, without the curtailment of weather and ground conditions.

Melrose – winners of last season’s BT Cup and Bookers Border League, and runners-up in the BT Premiership – are working closely with SBC, Scottish Rugby and the SFA on the project.

However, they need to plug the funding gap for this pitch and plan to launch a crowd funding campaign tomorrow (Friday) on the www.crowdfunder.co.uk platform under Melrose Rugby Club Legacy Project.

Additionally, the club hopes to raise sufficient funds to apply for planning permission to enable Phase 2 of the project to begin. This is to replace the current clubhouse, changing rooms and stand, with a modern-day, multipurpose community facility.

Plans for the new clubhouse include community and performance gyms, function spaces, changing rooms and, importantly, a Heritage Trail to map the history of the sevens rugby and promote sports tourism in the Scottish Borders.

Club president Trevor Jackson said: “This is an exciting prospect for the club to bring a vibrant, sporting community focus to Melrose and the Scottish Borders.

“We are working on the mantra that we are inspired by the past, delivering for the future.”

Melrose can boast contributing more than 30 internationalists to the game of rugby – most recently to the hugely successful Scottish Sevens team which included Melrose club members Scott Wight, Mark Robertson and head coach Calum MacRae as well as incoming Scotland Sevens coach John Dalziel.

The Melrose Youth Development Programme endeavours to continue this success into the future but the most notable contribution Melrose has made to the sport has to be the introduction of seven-a-side rugby credited to player Ned Haig in 1883.