It’s been a long time coming, but RAK Rugby finally have a place they can call home.
The club has had their fair share of pitch and residency issues over the years. Up until 2017 they were the only Gulf rugby club who played their fixtures on the golden sands of Ras Al Khaimah.
They trained at various locations around the region and played mostly away fixtures.
Then, in 2017, they made the move to Tower Links Golf Club where they were able to train on grass for the first time and have a base to build on their foundations as a club which has origins going back to 1969, and had typically played as an informal, social side.
The club’s new pitch is located at Al Hamra Golf Club and serves as a symbol of how much progress they have made both on and off the pitch.
After securing a new partnership with Al Hamra last season, RAK Rugby saw their dreams of having their own pitch take tentative first steps. In July this year the bulldozers rolled in to begin work. Fast forward three months to this Friday, October 18, and new chairman Ryan Reaney will be welcoming His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Chief of Ras Al Khaimah’s Rulers Court and RAK Rugby’s patron, to cut the ribbon on the new rugby pitch and club facilities that the club can finally call home.
The full size pitch has been built in collaboration with Al Hamra, and comes with newly-built changing facilities as well as access to Al Hamra’s hospitality within the clubhouse.
“It is the culmination of many months of hard work and we are proud of how far this club has come,” said Reaney.
“This Friday marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of our club and rugby in the northern Emirate.
“Credit must be given to the members of the previous committee; Simon Williams, Eddie Presch and Dave Learman, as well as current committee members Ken Neves and Galvin McKechnie who have laid the foundations of this project and without who we would not have achieved what we have today.
“This initiative has only been possible due to the generosity of our sponsors, some of which have been with us for several years.
“We have also been very lucky to have forged strong new relationships with local companies. Without their financial backing and the support none of this would have materialised.
“We may be a small club compared to some of our brother clubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi but we have a tenacious spirit and are proud of our historical roots in Ras Al Khaimah.
“This is reflected in the fact we have the support and generosity of His Highness Sheik Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, who is an active supporter, and to the community at large.”
The relationship with the local royal family is just an indicator of how much the club has become central to life in RAK. The club has ambitious plans for Emirati, expatriate and youth rugby in the region.
“Our goal is to grow a love of rugby within our community and we urge everyone and anyone that would like to try the sport to join our men and ladies at training on Monday and Wednesday evenings,” added Reaney.
RAK Rugby will officially open their new rugby pitch and facilities in time for the senior men’s rugby match against UAE Division 2 opponents Dubai Sharks on Friday.
Before kick-off, an opening ceremony will be performed by RAK Rugby patron, Sheikh Abdullah.
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