A Greenock woman has proved she’s in a league of her own after being nominated in the Tele’s Community Champion Awards.
Caitlyn Haldane has been nominated for ‘Sporting Champion of the Year’ for her role as an ambassador for women’s rugby in Greenock and across Scotland.
The 24-year-old, who lives on the Esplanade, embarked on a mission three years ago to set up a women’s rugby team at the Greenock Wanderers.
Through her infectious passion for the sport, Caitlyn managed to build up a strong women’s rugby team which has quickly risen through the ranks.
She recently set up an under-15 girls team and is also the face of Scottish Rugby’s campaign to change perceptions about the women’s game and increase participation levels.
Yet modest Caitlyn said she was taken aback to be nominated for the award.
She said: “I can’t believe it.
“It’s really good that women’s rugby has become such a big thing especially as it started from nothing and has become massive.
“Through the team I have made best friends for life, we always have such a team spirit, we win together and we lose together but whatever happens, we move forward as a team.
“Rugby is so much fun – it’s my life.
“Every day involves something rugby-related.
“Through rugby I feel more confident and I’ve also had so many opportunities through the sport.”
Caitlyn, who works as a primary teacher in Inverclyde, was inspired to set up a women’s rugby team after a discussion with her dad Steven, who is a coach at the club.
She said: “I was in the kitchen one night and my dad was talking about the guys playing and I asked him if he thought any women would play rugby.
“I knew quite a few sporty girls so I made a Facebook group to see any of them would be interested in rugby sessions and six or seven of them said yes.
“I made public Facebook and Twitter pages to try and get the word out there and it worked – we grew from five girls to 30.”
Caitlyn captained the team for the inaugural season and as well as regularly training with and playing for the Wanderers she trains with Hillhead Jordanhill ladies, in Glasgow.
Her endeavour was recognised by coaches who selected her for the Premiership final match at Murrayfield.
She is one of six women players who are the faces and voices in a new campaign to attract new players of all ages to the game.
Caitlyn said: “It’s all about women being the best they can be and not caring what other people think, to just go out there and do what you want to do.”
Her talent was recognised when she was asked to represent the West of Scotland in a clash against their counterparts from the east coast at the national stadium.
Caitlyn said: “Me and my sister Erin and my friend Lauren Gunn got picked for the West v East match, it was a massive achievement.”
Caitlyn was nominated for the Tele’s Community Champion Awards by Stephen Harrison, who works at local community care forum Your Voice.
She said: “It’s a big surprise to be nominated.”