AUCHINLECK Academy have won the under-16s’ Scottish Schools’ Rugby Bowl.

They beat Oban High School 24-21 in a hard-fought final to bring the silverware back to the school’s trophy cabinet.

The match was played at the home of Scottish rugby, BT Murrayfield, on Wednesday, December 6.

Teacher Stephen Raby is the inspiration behind the team and ensures that the school is building a rugby culture of respect, hard work and shared values on and off the pitch.

He said: “I couldn’t be prouder of my team and of Auchinleck Academy. Since we became a School of Rugby the team has grown from strength to strength. We have a great group of young people who have shown maturity, strength and commitment to reach the finals of this prestigious national competition.

“To lift the Bowl at our first national competition is incredible but this is just the beginning for this fantastic group of young people. They have the ability and more importantly the character to succeed and to become the best they can be.”

The roll out of the Schools of Rugby scheme in East Ayrshire was made possible by a strong partnership between the Council, Scottish Rugby and Kilmarnock and Cumnock rugby clubs.

Council leader Douglas Reid said: “I have visited Stephen Raby at Auchinleck Academy and was very impressed by the young people who are part of the school of rugby.

“The school of rugby focuses on player development and lifestyle management.

“This has a positive impact on their attitude and their schoolwork. It is clear that there are benefits to rugby being part of an enhanced curriculum timetable.”