DUNFERMLINE Rugby Club's ladies team are celebrating after they were crowned league winners at the weekend.

Despite not having a game, the talented team were presented with the Scottish Rugby Women's Caledonia Midlands / East Division Two trophy after a remarkable season.

After the first round of fixtures in the division, the McKane Park squad sat top of the table before the eight teams were split into a top four and bottom four, determining their final placings.

Dunfermline won their first two games after the split, against Kirkcaldy and Perthshire, and were handed a victory over Lismore after their opponents couldn't raise enough players to play the match, which had been rescheduled from December 3.

Their success has capped a stunning rise for the team, which began in January 2019 when the then head coach of the men's first XV, Mark Dobson, who is now Scottish Rugby’s regional manager for the Caledonia Midlands area, first organised a free training programme for female players at McKane Park.

Two months later, a Dunfermline team had played its first match, and took to the field in September 2021 for its maiden league season.

They registered their first-ever competitive win in March last year, and team captain, Lisa Hamilton-Martin, told Press Sport: "At the end of the day, we're just feeling so proud of how the team has come on over the years, and what we've managed to achieve this season.

"If you've followed us for a couple of years, you'll know it's not always been up the top for us. We have been down the bottom and made our way back, so not letting the losses get us down and change our mindsets has been really important, and everyone's just banded together and thought, you know what, let's just go for it this year and see how we do.

"Everyone's committing and dedicated to the same page, and we're all working to the same goal. I think that was a really big factor this year in how it helped us get to where we were.

Dunfermline Press: The team celebrated their title success without playing at the weekend.The team celebrated their title success without playing at the weekend. (Image: Steve Adam.)

"Overall, I think we're all just really proud and, not relieved, but glad our achievements have taken a bit more of a positive turn.

"To sum it up, we've gone from the bottom to the top. Finishing pretty much dead last last year, to then finishing top of the board this year. I don't think any of us saw it coming. We were just looking to improve year-on-year, and, obviously, this is the biggest improvement we could have made!

"We wanted our scoreline to reflect what we knew we could do. Not to sound like we're blowing our own trumpets or whatever, but we knew we were better than some of the results we were getting last year, and we just wanted that to reflect.

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"We just said we wanted to put out a Dunfermline squad, try and use the same girls week over week when we had games, and see if that consistency piece helped drive us over the line. It looks like it has."

Gary Kenhard, who was appointed as the ladies head coach at Dunfermline in July 2022, is thrilled with their success and said "it is an absolute pleasure" to work with them.

"They love their rugby and love learning through every training session and game we play," he commented.

"One of the main reasons I came to coach the team was their sense of fun and friendship. They are a committed bunch who care about their game.

"This is particularly evident when they welcome new players to the team. I believe the care they display, and the connections they make, is why the league season has been a notable success."

Sheryl Wilson, who captained the side when they won their first competitive game, has been out of action this season due to injury but has taken on the role of team manager, with Kenhard describing her as "an unsung hero in the background".

She said: "We didn't know if this season was going to be much like the last couple of seasons, where we were just going to be getting hit with a lot of defeats again, but it just shows you sometimes you just need to go in as the underdogs, and you can still do really well.

"The men's team did really well last year, so it's nice to see that we're coming out with some sort of success as well this year. It makes us feel that we're putting something into the club as well."

Lisa added: "The support we've had this season has been unmatched.

"I know a lot of the girls have noticed and appreciated it as well, whether that's from our friends, our family, or people in the local area who have read about our journey so-to-speak through the Press or online on social media, then coming along, watching our games and cheering us on.

"It definitely does give us a big energy boost on the pitch. The team would like to say thank you for that support we've had this season."