Highfields want to go it alone
A BALL is yet to be kicked in this year's Downs Rugby competition but already excitement is growing north of Toowoomba where Highfields Rugby Union Club is preparing to enter the 2013 Risdon Cup.
Club officials are putting the finishing touches on their proposed entry as a sole entity in the 2013 competition and beyond.
Highfields will continue its affiliation this season with UQ Gatton, but new club president Matt Strahorn said the area's rapidly developing rugby base will have it strongly placed for next year's debut.
Highfields' expansion includes the development of a second field opposite its current Kuhls Road complex.
Strahorn, who relinquished his Downs Rugby board position this season to take on his Highfields role, said the club was ready to stand alone.
"A Highfields A-grade rugby union team has been three or four years in the making," Strahorn said.
"Through the work of a fantastic committee and good recruiting we are now ready to become a single identity.
"St George and UQ have supported us strongly and if it wasn't for their help we wouldn't be in this position."
The ground addition has been aided by a $300,000 State government grant, $70,000 from the Toowoomba Regional Council and $12,500 of club money.
The existing Kuhls Road ground will also be upgraded, including the addition of permanent ground seating.
"Our current ground will remain a multi-purpose venue while the addition of a second field will complete a sporting precinct," Strahorn said.
"Having two grounds will be a vital part of our future."
Downs Rugby general manager Cameron Donaldson said Highfields 2013 entry needed to be officially ratified but it was part of the board's competition vision.