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Permanent home at UHI's new artificial pitch will help Inverness Craig Dunain RFC go from strength to strength

By Andrew Henderson

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Inverness Craig Dunain hope having a permanent home will prove to be a “game changer” for the rugby club.

ICD are one of the partners in a plan to install an artificial pitch at the University of the Highlands and Islands campus, with the club set to train and play there.

Craig Dunain currently train at Ferry Point, and have played matches in recent years at both Inverness High School and Highland’s Canal Park.

None of those could be claimed as a permanent home for the club, but now club president Jess Butler hopes the purpose-built facility at UHI can help Craig Dunain go from strength to strength.

“If you’ve got the facility, you can attract more coaches and more players,” she reasoned.

An aerial visual of the proposed sports pitch at UHI's Inverness campus.
An aerial visual of the proposed sports pitch at UHI's Inverness campus.

“When people came along to where we’re training now, it’s fine but it is what it is – a muddy field.

“We haven’t got any toilets or anything like that, so some people are disappointed.

“Having the facilities there will make a huge difference, it will make everyone act more professional and I think it will really raise the standard of the game.

“We’ll be able to do so much more with training, and we’ll have more opportunities to bring people in.

“It will be an absolute game-changer for the club, it really will.”

Butler hopes that the pitch, which has received sportscotland funding but is yet to be granted planning permission, will be ready for ICT to use by the end of the year.

Craig Dunain have been working on the project since before the pandemic, so it has been a long time coming for all involved, and it could just be the start of big things.

“Previously we couldn’t plan, we couldn’t get much sponsorship – there are so many barriers when you haven’t got a base,” Butler added.

“I used to joke that we thrived despite adversity, but we have a really resilient bunch of people and I’m delighted for everyone involved.

“It’s a testament to the players because we all love playing the game.

“Inverness needs this. It’s a growing city, and there will be opportunities for all sorts of sports clubs with this facility.

“At the minute with Covid, it has been well-documented how important sport is for mental well-being, so it will be great for so many organisations I think.

“It will continue to grow, this is just the start of something big, and we’re absolutely delighted.”

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