Bo’ness rugby club have been admitted to the RBS East Regional League Division Three next season in what is a personal triumph for founder Steve Paterson.
Until three years ago, the Edinburgh bin man, now 26, had only dabbled in the oval ball game.
But when he announced to partner Laura Skene that he intended pulling on the boots once more, the response shocked him.
“Laura asked me ‘why don’t you start your own team?’ revealed Paterson.
“Up until then, anything I’d started never seemed to get finished and not only did I want to resume rugby, but I wanted to prove I could see something through.
“I thought ‘I’ll show her’!
“Rugby wasn’t my first love, mind you; that was football.
“But I knew early on I wasn’t very good and I got a bit of assistance from a PE teacher at school who told me it was either play rugby – or detention for a week!
“As a first step to forming the club, I contacted a friend, Adam Sneddon, to ask for help.
“Visits to the library yielded information about making posters to appeal for recruits and ten players were attracted to a first training session conducted on the concrete floor of a local hall.
“By the time we progressed to training on astroturf, numbers were picking up and, while the local council were happy to mark out a pitch, we didn’t have posts.”
The answer was a fund-raising event which yielded £1500 to more than cover the £1200 cost of the posts, while jerseys were provided in blue-and-yellow colours with the help of four sponsors.
Paterson, a prop forward who is also club president, added: “We are extremely grateful for assistance received from a local garage [Bellsburn Motors], the Corbie Inn, Long & Gilmour dental practice and Bo’ness chiropractors.
“Mind you, our first game was a bit of a challenge as we were thrashed by a Murrayfield Wanderers team,” said Paterson.
Opting to play in a reserve league as well as friendlies against the likes of Edinburgh Medics and the Caledonian Thebans brought some success, but application to the East set-up was delayed.
“We wanted to get a bit more experience and this has included training our own ref after some early games had to be cancelled through lack of an official.
“Rod Glass, one of our members, has been on a refereeing course and our player/coach, Fraser Stangoe, is also well qualified.”
Steve’s job with Biffa Waste at Granton has meant sacrifices in order to purse a rugby career with the team he built from scratch. “Often, I have to start work early on Saturday mornings which has meant rushing to games and changing by the side of the pitch in order to take part,” said Steve.
“It has all been worth it, though, and I am proud of what has been achieved for Bo’ness.
“When Scottish Rugby were contacted for assistance they sent along a development officer whose advice was to amalgamate with the likes of Grangemouth or Queensferry.
“However, we are mostly Bo’ness lads keen to do something for the town and hopefully we are doing that.”
Indeed, further recognition came last weekend when the Bo’ness team took a bow alongside Scotland’s oldest club, Edinburgh Accies, having been invited to take part in the 60th instalment of the Blyth & Blyth Edinburgh Northern sevens.