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Inverness Craig Dunain Women strengthen in depth as number of players grow

By Andrew Henderson

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Inverness Craig Dunain’s club president Jess Butler has seen a remarkable growth in the women’s side of the club.

Inverness Craig Dunain Women's 14 players lost out to Broughton in their National Plate Pool A match.
Inverness Craig Dunain Women's 14 players lost out to Broughton in their National Plate Pool A match.

The team has had decent levels of success in recent years, reaching the semi finals of the National Plate in 2019 and coming close to earning promotion on multiple occasions.

It is a far cry from the handful of players who were attending training when Butler first became involved with Craig Dunain – but extremely encouraging.

“We did so well in the cup the season before last, before it all went pear-shaped in 2020, but the squad is growing,” Butler said.

“When I started there were only four or five women, and now we’re up to 30 or 40 being a part of our club. It has grown massively.

“There are new clubs towards the east, there are Banff and Peterhead, Stornoway is quite new too.

“I think it’s great for the north of Scotland to have something other than football or shinty, because we’re all fighting for the same people.

“It’s growing, and I think it will continue to grow as people continue to see what it can do for women.”

Many women’s sports are behind their male counterparts purely because clubs and leagues are more recent.

Perceptions are slowly changing though, and Butler believes rugby can have a particularly strong effect on players.

“It really empowers women to not conform to that stereotypical body images that we get surrounded by on social media,” she reasoned.

“You can just be yourself and nobody gives a damn. You are you, a person in your own right, and it doesn’t matter what you look like.

“It’s a real sport for everyone, you don’t have to be fast, you can be strong. It’s got so many good things about it, that’s what makes it so special really.”

That said, Butler still believes more progress can be made – especially in and around the Highlands.

“We need more opportunities for women in the north,” she insisted.

“A lot of things are based in the central belt, but I think there is a Caithness team starting, so that will be great for inter-club rivalry.

“The future is bright, women’s rugby is getting more publicity now although it’s still nowhere near equal to the men’s, but it’s all getting awareness that these opportunities are there for people. Fingers crossed it will just continue to grow.”

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