Garioch Ladies’ dream of becoming a Premiership side only 10 years after coming into existence became a reality at Kellands Park when they fought off the considerable challenge of Stewartry Sirens in a play-off.
The Inverurie side ran out 19-10 winners in the match between the sides who had finished first and second in National League 1.
Garioch will now take their place in the elite of the Scottish club game in the Premiership, sending a clear message that the north-east is set to compete on the bigger stage in the women’s game.
Head coach Stuart Corsar was delighted with his charges who twice had to come from behind to beat a determined Stewartry who shrugged off the handicap of a 249-mile journey to fulfil the third meeting of two finalists but all won by the Aberdeenshire side.
Corsar said: “This is a highlight of my rugby career, for while I have won individual honours, I have never led a team to victory and a trophy.
“This was a great, controlled performance.
“Women’s rugby is in good shape, and nowhere more so than here in the north-east.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge in the Premiership but if we can win our home games, we’ll survive.”
Garioch started the game full of intent, hoping to run their opponents off the pitch, and for 15 minutes looked the more likely to take the lead, only to be shocked by the first serious attack of the game from the Castle Douglas side who scored out wide to make it 5-0 after 20 minutes.
Garioch rallied and it was no surprise when scrum half Laura Kay raced 30 yards to score under the posts for a try converted by lock Alisha Ross.
But it was the Sirens who had the last word in the first half, scoring a second unconverted try to make it 10-7 to the visitors at the break.
Playing with the strong cold wind in the second half, Garioch made their advantage count, even if took them late into the half before they overcame the gutsy Borderers.
Tries from Louise Murray and Holly Duncan, one of which was converted by Ross made the final score 19-10 before a big raucous crowd were able to celebrate a famous victory.
Garioch captain Jess Silcocks said: “We are delighted to be going up.
“It was a real team performance but our No 8 Nikki Simpson was a stand out. It’s a great day for the club.”