Kevin Brown aims to help Highland celebrate the rugby club’s centenary year in special style – by winning National Division 1.
The experienced hooker, who has been part of the senior squad since 2003, has been a key figure as the Inverness side surged through the levels, now competing with punch just one tier below the Premiership.
Despite finishing 2021 with a 36-26 loss against new leaders Heriot’s Blues, the north men are a mere eight points off top spot in sixth place in a real battle for the title.
The club have accepted the Scottish Rugby Union’s offer to postpone their home fixture against Boroughmuir this Saturday in response to rising Covid cases nationwide.
The web address for the Centenary Events Calendar has been updated (see updated web link in photograph) or click on the link below to go straight to the site👇https://t.co/KxCqshnnCa#highlandcentenary #thehighlandway pic.twitter.com/L0rg6V7eaX
— Highland Rugby Club 🦅 (@HighlandRFC) November 3, 2021
Winning start to year is first target
When they do return to the pitch, Brown will be keen to get 2022 off to a winning start to set the tone for a unique year.
He said: “It’s a big year for us – this is our centenary year and we want to get off to a good start.
“Hopefully, despite the Covid restrictions, we will still be allowed a good crowd down for this one. We have been preparing well for the game and hopefully we can get the win.
“There are a lot of events planned and hopefully Covid won’t disrupt things too much.
“We’ve enjoyed four promotions and cup wins, so it’s great to be in this position for the 100th year.
“It is a lot harder in this league because only one team gets promoted, but we’ll hopefully keep picking up the points and wins on the road too.
“Overall, the club’s doing really well and we now have a third team out this season. We have 50-60 people training on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is great.
“I’ve been at the club for a long time and I’ve never seen it as strong as this. It bodes well for the future and it’s great to be happening in the centenary year.”
Highland responded well to defeats
This season, two defeats in particular are sore scores for Brown, but he reckons the team have responded well to stay firmly in the mix.
He said: “There are no poor teams in this league and every side has lost games.
“Apart from the Heriot’s game, we had quite a good run going into the end of the year. We actually played pretty well, but they were just a bit stronger than us.
🦅🏉🟢🔴 So time to announce
🏆Highland Try of the Year 2021 Winner 🥇
On the basis I failed to generate any interest in the polls on both FB & Twitter over 3days 😭, & the fact Mike Gordon mobilised literally a few family & paid 💰friends 🙋♂️it was enough to win
I give up😱 pic.twitter.com/ruvLR6pQTk
— Highland Rugby Club 🦅 (@HighlandRFC) December 31, 2021
“It would have been nice to finish the year with a win, but it was still a good performance and we still came away with a point, which is good against a team like Heriot’s.
“The season has been up and down. We were really disappointed to lose on the first day against Ayr and we should have beaten Cartha Queen’s Park (in a 24-20 loss in September). Had we won those, we’d certainly be in a much stronger position, but we’re still in it.”
Steady progress as season goes on
With new players joining the first-team this term, Highland have been finding their feet week on week and Brown sees steady progress with eight victories from 13 outings.
He added: “As the season has gone on, we’re certainly playing more like the Highland team we know we can be.
“Every game we’re getting stronger. There are quite a few new players this season and it’s all coming together for us and you can see that by some of the wins we’ve had recently.
“There is just under half a season still to play and everyone is dropping points. It’s a competitive league, but we still have a chance of promotion.”
Head coach Davie Carson this week also spoke to the Press and Journal about their rollercoaster season and the team’s bid for glory in 2022.