Highland on the up with Club of the Month honour

THE snow may have wiped out virtually all rugby across Scotland in the past fortnight, but Highland RFC are shining like a beacon of optimism after scooping £1,000 with Scottish Rugby's Club of the Month award for November.

The award is determined by an SRU panel who sift through nominations from club representatives, development officers and the public, and is based on three key criteria - 'performance', 'growing the game' and 'discipline'. Highland received the commendation for their on and off-field performance in the month, where they went on a six-match winning run to reach third place in National Two.

Highland have also been praised for extensive rugby development through volunteers, the area's jointly-funded development officer Alan Falconer, SVQ Community Coach Gary Mckenzie and their relationship with Culloden Academy.

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Club chairman Andy Little said: "Alan (Falconer] has delivered rugby sessions to more than 350 primary and 400 secondary school children, including 85 girls at Culloden Academy, during the month of November alone. In the same month we introduced a rugby curriculum for coaches and players from Primary Four to Seven which includes a coach's manual and a 'passport' for every youngster to chart the development of their skills and game understanding."

The club now runs successful youth academies for its top young players while the Highland Reds, the club's second XV, top their division.

The under-18s have won their league, their table-topping under-16s are unbeaten so far this season, the under-15s have won their league and the club has sides at S2, S1, P6/7 and P4/5. They also have 15 P1-3 players training every week.