HUNTINGDON Stags Rugby Club made the move back to their spiritual home at Huntingdon Racecourse on Saturday. After 13 years at Hinchingbrooke School, the Stags opened their refurbished clubhouse at the Racecourse and marked the occasion with a match betwe

HUNTINGDON Stags Rugby Club made the move back to their spiritual home at Huntingdon Racecourse on Saturday.

After 13 years at Hinchingbrooke School, the Stags opened their refurbished clubhouse at the Racecourse and marked the occasion with a match between a Stags XV and a President's XV. More than 400 people turned out to enjoy the occasion and watch the Stags XV run out 27-19 winners.

"Saturday was a very important day in the club's history," said club president Neil Greatorex. "We had everyone from ex-players in their 90s to the current under-sevens coming to see the clubhouse opened.

"After so long without our own clubhouse, it is great for the Stags that we are moving back to our spiritual home."

Greatorex hopes that the move will help propel the club on a period of growth, generating the revenue that can help the Stags compete with their rivals.

"We are now masters of our own destiny. In the past we have had to cancel matches because we have been sharing our pitches with other sports clubs, but now that we have three pitches of our own and a training area, we are on an equal footing with those clubs we compete against."

The Stags will operate three teams at the new facilities, as well as continuing with a youth and mini rugby programme that currently includes over 200 children.

"We now have players breaking into the first team who have been with us since they were kids. We have a fully thriving youth and minis system, and it is becoming a production line for the first team," said Greatorex.

The new clubhouse will also generate crucial income to help fund the club's entry in the league. Greatorex estimates that revenue from the bar could contribute an extra £50,000 to the club coffers every year.

It has already allowed the club to sign New Zealanders Seth Muggeridge and Heath Crawford for the new season.

"The extra revenue is absolutely vital for us to be able to compete in the league. Our rivals have always had much bigger budgets, and have been able to rely on sponsorship, while we have had nothing of the sort," said Greatorex.

"We have managed to get by for the last few years, and this move is a big step for us."

Huntingdon Stags kick off the league season against Peterborough Lions on Saturday September 12 at 2.30pm.