AN East Renfrewshire rugby club reaped the rewards for three years of hard work as its new pitch was officially opened.

Members of Glasgow Hutchesons Aloysians RFC (GHA) were joined by Scottish Rugby chiefs and a host of former players as they took the first steps onto the new 3G surface at their Braidholm base.

The opening ceremony on Friday night was led by Ian Barr, vice-president of the Scottish Rugby Union, and Brian Tracey, president of GHA, before the club’s 2nd XV took to the field in a friendly.

Officials at the Giffnock club believe the pitch to be the first in Scotland to be built through fundraising and sponsors and to be owned wholly by the club without any school or council involvement.

The idea for the pitch was first mooted by the club three years ago and, since then, players and supporters have been involved in intensive planning and research to make their dream a reality.

The facility is floodlit and meets both SRU and World Rugby standards, while the colours of main sponsors JWF Process Solutions are on show.

Tracey was full of pride as invited guests were able to see the new pitch for themselves.

He said: “I believe that the facility will benefit not only GHA members but also the local community.

“It is already proving very popular with local football teams and gaelic football teams.

“The new pitch should also safeguard the future of youth rugby at GHA by allowing training and playing on a first-class surface, even in wet and wintry conditions.”

Tracey (right) is pictured cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremony, alongside GHA 2nd XV coach Kenneth Fairbairn (left) and Ian Barr.