Highland Rugby Club’s centenary year will be packed with celebratory and community-focused drives, and will also include a promotion push by the players in National Division One.
Covid claimed a special civic reception, hosted by Inverness provost Helen Carmichael, which was set to be held on January 7 at Inverness Town House.
The impact of the rising cases also led to the first-team’s league match against Boroughmuir last weekend being postponed, as was permitted across the country by the Scottish Rugby Union.
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
Saturday’s trip to Dundee is on, though, as the Highland players target a title push.
As things stand, Highland are sixth in National One, but just eight points behind leaders Heriot’s Blues, who defeated them 36-26 just before Christmas and the winter break.
Calcutta Cup visit was early boost
All was far from lost last weekend, with the world-famous Calcutta Cup making a special visit to Canal Park, which put plenty of smiles on faces, as did the second team beating Moray 43-35 in Caledonia North League Division Two.
🦅🏉💚❤️A piece of rugby history made a visit to Canal Park to help kick off our Centenary 💯Celebrations last weekend.
See more in the link below!👇#thehighlandway #highlandcentenary #morethanarugbyclub https://t.co/frEm85eRRF
— Highland Rugby Club 🦅 (@HighlandRFC) January 11, 2022
The Inverness club is ensuring its impact can be positively felt away from the pitch, too, with a series of initiatives.
For example, next month, the senior players will be organising and distributing food hampers to the elderly and homeless in and around Inverness.
March will see the juniors pitch in with 100 good deeds that month, focused on the elderly members in the local community.
Youngsters to clean up in spring
The younger players and their coaches will be making a clean break for it when spring arrives, with 100 bags of rubbish being gathered from the beaches and riverbanks in the area in April.
From April 8-11, a Highland veteran side, along with its stars of the future, the under-14s, make a special trip to Inverness’ twin town, La Baule in Brittany, France, to play local club Baulois, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary.
🦅🏉💚❤️ Facts about Highland you may not know: #2
🦅Highland men Nairn MacEwan & John Frame both played in the 5 Nations Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham 20th Mar '71, & the Scotland v England Centenary match a week later.
Scotland won both games!🙌🏴
See the cup at Highland👇 pic.twitter.com/PGKVVKjQ0S
— Highland Rugby Club 🦅 (@HighlandRFC) January 6, 2022
The ladies and girls at Highland will be running 100 miles between them throughout May, while also encouraging other sections of the club to join them in reaching that target. The club’s own and other charities will benefit from the steps put in.
It will be third time lucky on June 3-5 for the sevens’ Highland 100 beer/gin and whisky festival, while from the 3rd to the 6th on the month, Baulois bring their senior and juniors over from France for return friendly fixtures over a weekend.
The end of season ball and awards will take place on June 17 at the city’s Drumossie Hotel and ticket details for this should be released soon.
Exhibition will capture big interest
The second half of the year kicks off with a Highland 100 Exhibition running in July at Inverness Museum, as a range of photographs, programmes, strips, videos and anecdotes are brought together for the first time and put on display.
There will also be the launch of a centenary Highland 100 book, capturing the history of the club in all its glory.
— Highland Rugby Club 🦅 (@HighlandRFC) January 8, 2022
A 100th anniversary “big dinner” and silent auction has been set for August 13, with a range of past and present Highland stars to be joined by several sporting legends in the north in an event not to be missed.
The very next day, there will be an invitational golf tournament held at Castle Stuart, which has hosted many leading competitions, including the Scottish Open four times.
Top professional sides on way north
In September, at a date to be confirmed, the focus switches to the Caledonian Stadium as Highland hosts two of the UK’s leading professional sides for a pre-season encounter.
A ladies’ day, dubbed Cocktails by the Canal, is also set to be pencilled in for September.
A connoisseur dinner and whisky tasting is to take place in October and a sponsors’ day in November at a first-team match are also to be scheduled on to the calendar.
The Highland veterans (over-35s) will get December started by organising a minimum of 100 festive gifts for disadvantaged and disabled children throughout the community.
Rounding off a memorable year, there will be a centenary Christmas party on December 17.
For the full list of events, which will be updated throughout 2022, click here.