Ross Sutherland offers the use of Naval Grounds at Invergordon to Inverness Craig Dunain after the rugby club struggled to find rugby grounds to play in the Highland capital


The Naval Grounds in Invergordon will once again host matches for the 2022/23 rugby season – but it may not just be Ross Sutherland who will use the facility.

Inverness Craig Dunain has been left house hunting after being based at Inverness High School, discovering shortly before their first competitive game of the 2022/23 season last weekend that the rugby grounds had been deleted.

Left looking for a short-term home, Highland stepped in to offer Canal Park for the National Bowl tie against Stornoway, but with three teams of their own, it wasn’t a viable solution for the league.

Craig Dunain previously played at Inverness High School – but those pitches are no longer available. Photo: Callum Mackay

Instead, Craig Dunain has been forced to look beyond his hometown to ensure games are played, with Ross Sutherland providing the naval grounds and Caledonia North Three’s opener against Turriff this Saturday on Moray’s land in Elgin.

“We have belatedly discovered that the rugby pitches at Inverness High School have been removed,” said Craig Dunain men’s team manager Graeme Hislop.

“It wasn’t ideal so myself and (club chairman) Jess Butler were running around trying to find us a new home in Inverness. Highland kindly gave us Canal Park last Saturday but our colleagues at Moray and Ross Sutherland also offered us their locations until we could figure something out.

“We play a big role in the development of UHI, but we haven’t been told what’s going on there. As far as I know, all the money has been given and it’s just to get planning authorization and appointment of a person to carry out the work.

“We have no influence on that, which is very frustrating because we believe that once we get there, more women and men will play rugby for our club.

“There’s nothing we can do about it so we have to keep trying to find more local ground. We’re talking to the army guys in Fort George which isn’t ideal but it’s a bit closer to home we.

“Our players understand the situation we’re in. They just want to play rugby and they’re very enthusiastic about it, so whether we have to go to Elgin or Invergordon, they’re more than happy to keep going. just isn’t an ideal situation for us.

“We are in contact with the SRU who are also helping and supporting us with all the help they can give us.”

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