HELENSBURGH Rugby Club chairman Mike Linzee-Gordon says the club is looking to appoint a new head coach in “the next week or so” to replace Adam Hart.
Hart made the decision to leave his post with the Grizzlies last week, telling the Advertiser: “I’d just had enough”, after feeling he no longer had the backing of the players.
The Ardencaple side will look to bounce straight back up after being relegated to BT West Division 2, and the chairman said a replacement coach will help them prepare for next season.
Linzee-Gordon said: “We want to try and get it sorted early so we can start working for next season.
“It’ll be guys who have been involved with the club and whether or not it’s a previous player or coach yet, we’ve not got anything sorted out, we’re still working on that.
“Hopefully it will be sorted in the next week.
“We’ve got David Calderwood, who’s keen to still help out, and Bill MacDonald as well, which is good, and so there will be a bit of continuity for next season.”
The chairman, who also plays as fly-half, found it tough to read what Hart had to say about some players’ lack of commitment over the course of the season.
He added: “I’ve been talking to Adam quite a bit over the last couple of months, being a player and having the chairman's role as well.
"Reading his last interview was quite brutal but he hit the nail on the head.
“We had a players’ meeting last Tuesday and only 15 guys turned up. We’ve had 63 playing this season.
“You can understand why we’re struggling given a couple of years ago we’d have had a few teams playing week in week out.”
The team's fall from the great heights of winning the National Bowl final just a few years ago to being relegated this year might come as a surprise to some.
But for the chairman the writing has been on the wall for some time, and the Grizzlies need to be more of a team if they are to return to BT West Division 1.
Linzee-Gordon said: “The club’s been at the highest level it’s ever been at, and that’s on the back of the strong team five or six years ago. Realistically the talent now is not as high.
“We’re going to have to try harder and work harder and play as a team if we want to stay at the same sort of level and we’ve not been able to do that this year.”
* Meanwhile, Helensburgh's ladies XV lost 36-0 to Lismore Ladies in Edinburgh on Sunday.
Due to the weather, Lismore changed the venue from their usual Inch Park to Liberton High School.
Both teams were ravaged by injuries and illnesses and ended up playing 13-a-side, playing with six in the scrum and dropping the flankers.
Led by captain Peebles in her second full game, Burgh had a strong start, securing the ball, rucking well and quickly getting it along the back line.
Not long into the game it was time to show them what the ladies have in a scrum.
Despite some of the ladies being out of position, Burgh held strong in the scrum through the reliable front row of Sloan, Callan and Baillie.
They provided quick ball for scrum-half Gibbs, even under the opposing pressure from the opposition nine due to no flankers.
Dropped balls became a problem for the Ardencaple side as the hands became clumsy and the ball went loose on the floor with Lismore’s hooker diving on it to gain possession.
And before anyone knew what had happened, the hosts' scrum half picked up the ball and sprinted through a gap to the try line, scoring right under the posts with a successful conversion.
Burgh’s lineouts were strong with winger McCloy jumping and regularly winning the ball. But out of nowhere Lismore's number 10 kicked and chased before gaining ground, retrieving possession and scoring another try.
getting nowhere then saw their number10 kick and chase the ball, gaining them ground and another try.
Burgh came close to a try a few times in the first half but Lismore’s defence was strong until another brief gap in their defence let a winger through.
Although she was stopped by full back Carruthers, she quickly offloaded for the last try of the half, which was converted.
With no let-up in the dismal weather, the pace of the game slowed in the second half, but Burgh kept their scrums strong, with second rows Thomson and Nicholson driving the opposition back, giving No. 8 Peebles the chance to pick the ball up and get it to the back line.
Lismore left their blindside exposed, which gave winger McCloy the chance to take a run.
Helensburgh came very close to their try line and after being awarded a penalty they attempted to maul Sloan through the Lismore defence.
Scrum half Gibbs got the ball out and continued to drive forward, popping it to centre Mack, who was tackled right on the line.
Sadly it was not to be and the ball was kicked away.
The Burgh ladies' tackling was strong, slowing Lismore down, but the home side broke through again made it to the line – though this time their progress was halted by a knock-on.
Helensburgh relentlessly tried over and over again, but the weather and lack of substitutes meant both sides tired in the closing stages.
Lismore scored twice with one more successful conversion right near the end with Carruthers tackling at pace trying to prevent them. However it brought the final score to 36-0.
But Burgh ladies walked away smiling, having enjoyed the experience and played their best they have as a team yet.
Player of the match for Helensburgh was Hannah Nicholson, with Mhairi Mack choosing the best of the Lismore team.
Helensburgh team: A Carruthers, L McCloy, M Mack, A Thomson, H Crossley, H Murray, R Gibbs, S Sloan, K Callan, J Baillie, S Thomson, H Nicholson, A Peebles.