Rugby club put plans in place for uncertain future

Fergus McCoss will don the captain's armband for Oban Lorne RFC next season. Photograph: Stephen Lawson.

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Calum MacLachlan barges his way through.
Calum MacLachlan will be vice-captain.

Their season may have been stopped just as they were getting into their stride, but Oban Lorne RFC are looking ahead now and making plans for the future.

With the season declared null and void by Scottish Rugby there is no promotion or relegation, so the Glencruitten outfit will play in the same league with the same opposition next season.

‘Oban were on a strong run of form having won their last few games and beating the first and third placed teams in the process,’ said coach Andrew Johnston.

‘Confidence was high and the boys were playing well and, if able to complete their fixtures, would hopefully have finished in third place.

‘Looking ahead, the picture remains unclear about return to sport as we know it, with social distancing and other problems to be solved to allow a return to play.

‘This affects all levels of the  club from the youngest to the oldest with lots of ideas being put forward about how to reintroduce training.’

Due to COVID-19 restrictions next month’s AGM has been postponed and the start date for the new season is uncertain.

Captain Iwan Roberts has stepped down from the captaincy and playing as he continues to rehabilitate his injury from last year, while vice-captain Owen McDonald is moving to Inverness for the next part of his doctor training.

Johnston added: ‘I would like to thank Iwan for his efforts over the last couple of seasons and hope that he can look back with pride at how far he took the team in his spell as captain.

‘We hope to see him back on the field for the Green Machine at some point next season while we wish Owen all the best in his future career.’

Fergus McCoss will take on the captaincy as Calum MacLachlan steps in as VC. A fresh influx of new young talent coming up from the Under-18 squad will also be welcomed.

Thom Catterwell, Ross McCaskill, Harry Johnston, Oran Charlton, Ellis Hunter, Jamie Blair, Jordan Norman and Kenni Gray are all champing at the bit to be involved with the senior squad.

This addition will see the reformation of four individual teams within the club for training and selection purposes. Linking to the Clan names from the High School, Diarmid, Fingal, Ossian and Somerled each of the players will be placed in a clan for the forthcoming season with points to be won for attendance at training, points scored, tackle completion etc.

Since the lockdown started Oban Lorne players have been volunteering to help those that have been shielding and isolating. Murray Hamilton and Allan Wright have been leading the response to calls for assistance and Johnston expressed his thanks to all the volunteers for their contributions.

‘We pride ourselves on being part of the community and are looking at how we can integrate more while working as part of the new Mossfield group to improve the area for everyone,’ he added.

‘We also need to look at the bigger pictures going on around us.

‘How many of us rely on our fix of exercise to keep us sane – fine as we enjoy the summertime in Argyll but not so great if we are approaching a winter of doom and gloom.

‘Be kind, be safe and look out for each other, we are all in this together.’

The club has also been active on the fundraising front with a couple of players braving the shave and a number of individuals from both the men’s and women’s teams taking part in a virtual race versus Wigtownshire RFC more than 178 miles to raise funds.