Another season and another title in the bag. When you get a chance to look back and reflect it seems incredible what we've done as a small community rugby club over the last decade. There are a number of people that have worked tirelessly to get us where we are today, they know who they are!
With the new era of Scottish Rugby coming into play next season inclusive of the semi pro Super 6 competition, it would be natural for the Fullarton faithful to worry that some of our core players would be enticed by a move.
Interest and offers have been tabled and we are delighted to announce that Scott Bickerstaff, Calvin Henderson & Ewan Hamilton-Bulger have all turned down a move to Super 6 and will be playing their rugby in purple and gold next season.
On top of this the vast majority of our squad have committed to Marr and our Premiership squad will once again be captained by Conor Bickerstaff, with Mackenzie Pearce continuing his role as Vice Captain.
We also have exciting news from a coaching point of view.
Craig Redpath remains as head coach for his 11th season with the club, with Kenny Diffenthal continuing is excellent work alongside him. In addition we are very lucky and delighted to announce that D'arcy Rae will join the plethora of Glasgow Warriors taking up coaching roles around the country as he comes on board as our new forwards coach. A product of the Marr College Conveyor Belt, D'arcy jumped at the opportunity when asked and will be heavily involved throughout the season.
Speaking of the Marr College Conveyor Belt, we have a dozen of last seasons successful U18 side making the transition into senior rugby. It always has and always will be the foundation of our club and the conveyor belt looks to be stronger than ever. Colin Sturgeon has been appointed as our new Development Officer and will pick up from the great work Callum Harris has done over the last few years.
Finally I wish to thank the players that are moving on or hanging up their boots.
Several club legends have called time on their careers, although I personally think it's just an excuse to dodge pre-season. Chris Galloway, Ali Walker & Fraser 'Rhino' Ferguson have been outstanding for this club both on and off the field for a long long time and deserve a huge thanks for all their work & commitment to date. A see you soon rather than a goodbye...
Ross Miller has also decided to call it a day. For the last 2 seasons Ross has been a huge player for us winning Player of the Year in his first and Top try scorer in his 2nd season shows his importance. He has openly said he will play the 'Andy Kelly' role and help out if we are ever stuck. Basically, he just doesn't like training or winter trips to the borders... not daft!
Last but not least it's been an absolute pleasure to play alongside and be Captained by Stephen 'Pinnies' Adair. A club centurion and our most successful ever captain, Stephen brought a professionalism to this club when he joined in 2011 along with Paul Burke. He also hammered home the importance of enjoying yourself off the pitch and took a lead on that with trophygate, indoor fireworks and an early train from Newcastle along the way! Stephen has taken up a coaching role with the Ayr club side in National 1 and we wish Stephen all the very best, knowing he will always be welcome at Fullarton!
That's our rugby finished for the 2018-19 season and the players & coaching staff will now take a short but well earned rest before we crack into pre-season in June. No better or louder supporters than the Fullarton faithful and we are looking forward to bring Premiership rugby back to Fortress Fullarton.
Keep your eyes peeled on our social media channels for recruitment news over the coming weeks.