Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic A 21s can reminisce fondly after another hugely successful season.
The Midlothian-based outfit not only achieved cup glory by winning the William Johnston Cup, they were also crowned SERYFA East of Scotland league champions for the third consecutive year.
Club secretary Ian Richardson is thrilled with the continuity that has been created within the squad, but puts their rewards simply down to hard work by both the players and coaching staff.
Richardson said: “We always go for boys with potential, but they all work hard for each other, so I think that has contributed enormously to our success. It’s a great achievement winning it for a third time in a row, as - before we won for the first time three years ago – it had been 30 years since we’d last won the league. So we’re thrilled.
But the efforts of our three coaches – Graham and George Pullen, and Richard Smith – have been second to none over the past few seasons. Last year we managed to do it undefeated and even received an award from Midlothian Council.
“We went out in the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup this year to a team from Falkirk. We did start to think this might have been our chance, but we’re still delighted to have come away with two trophies.”
With some of this season’s squad ready to move on to pastures new, a rebuilding process is already underway at the club. Richardson expresses an element of disappointment at seeing some of his most talented players depart, but is delighted at the legacy those individuals have left behind.
“We look to bring in somewhere between 18 and 20 players, but we do lose some at the end of the season due to the age restriction.
“There are a few players who are now going to the juniors, whereas some have opted to go amateur.
“There is a tinge of sadness when you see the boys leaving, but if they are going to benefit by moving into the junior or wherever they may go, then we push them on as much as we can.
“You have had these guys since they were 19, so you get friendly with them and build up a mutual respect, so there is that sadness to see them go. But we’ve got a few boys in for next season already, so we’re hoping to continue right where we left off when the games get underway again.”
The Bonnyrigg Rose junior squad are also in celebratory mood, having clinched the East Superleague championship. While pointing out that it is within the club’s best interest to retain the players they have at their disposal should an opportunity arise to move up a tier, Richardson admits that the decision ultimately lies solely with the player.
He added: “The junior coaches come in and have a look at our guys and we try to lead them that way if we can. But if another club comes in for the player then it’s entirely his own choice what to do next.
“I admire the juniors as they have picked themselves up after being down in the dumps for a while. They now have a really good side. It’s great for Bonnyrigg as a whole for us to win the 21s league and for the juniors to win the Superleague.”