SATURDAY was a fantastic day in the Garnock Valley, as Garnock Rugby Club secured the Tennent’s Men’s West League Division One title.

They did so with a game to spare thanks to a comfortable 21-6 victory over East Kilbride at Lochshore.

It all but brings to an end an outstanding season for the club, as they secured a spot in the National League Division Three next season.

And it is the culmination of months of hard work, in a season which has seen the side defeated only once in their 17 matches to date.

The Herald caught up with the team’s head coach, Grant Ruxton, who talked all about their triumphant campaign - which coincided with the club’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

He said: “It felt absolutely fantastic. It was the culmination of so much hard work by the full playing squad and the club as a whole.

“We have been fighting to get out of this very competitive league for a long time, to do it on our 50th anniversary, in front of our top notch new facilities is extra special.

“It has been a great season with a lot of very good rugby played by the squad.

“We have grown together as a squad and improved from the foundations laid down in previous seasons.

“The key has been continued hard work and a strong belief in our abilities and what we can achieve.

“Over the course of the season the players have been able to bounce back from setbacks and still get the wins we needed.”

An added bonus for Garnock was pipping several Ayrshire rivals to the title, with Cumnock, Kilmarnock, Ardrossan and Carrick also competing in the same division.

Grant added: “I think all the Ayrshire teams love a bit of rivalry and the extra physicality that comes with that. League positions and form count for very little when two Ayrshire teams meet - any team can win on the day.

“Wrapping the title up at home in front of a huge crowd was amazing and a big bonus. With the league being so competitive, we fully expected to battle it out with old rivals Kilmarnock on the last day of the season.

“Other results gave us the chance to clinch it at home with a game to spare, which we grabbed with both hands.”