HELENSBURGH Rugby Club have been dramatically reinstated in West Division 1 for next season after league restructuring plans were approved.
After picking up just one win last season, the Burgh were destined to play next season in West Division 2.
But they will now stay up thanks to Cumbernauld RFC’s proposal at the West Regional Club meeting on Monday night was passed by 13 votes to 10.
As a result there will now be three leagues instead of four in the West of Scotland rugby set-up, with leagues consisting of 12 teams as opposed to 10.
That means Helensburgh will avoid relegation, with Cambuslang and Stewartry moving up from West 2, and Greenock joining the division after being relegated from National Division 3.
With a number of clubs folding this year, several divisions finished fixtures as early as January, and new Burgh rugby club chairman Stuart Ashdown said the Ardencaple side were fully supportive of the change.
He said: “As a club we think it’s a great idea; the restructuring of going from four leagues to three means there are more teams in each league for a start, so instead of some of the leagues being short of players and their leagues finishing in February, most of the leagues will go on until March now.
“Hopefully we can retain more players because the leagues will be bigger and last longer, and we’ll have more home games to play which is good for the club.”
Ashdown admitted it was a difficult season last year for Helensburgh, but he hopes the appointment of new head coach David Calderwood and the restructuring of the league will see the Grizzlies be more competitive in 2017/18.
“We’re glad we’ll be staying in Division 1 for another season," he continued.
“Last season was a tough one for the club. We had an availability problem. We’re obviously closely linked with the naval base and a lot of the players are under operational commitments as well as social ones with the club, so we did find it a bit difficult at times to fulfil fixtures.
“But we’ve got a new coach and we’re trying to build a new team ethos and so far it’s looking quite positive for next season.
“Last season in games there were a few mishaps or a few mistakes that cost us games, but overall the performances and the standard of rugby the team put out was of a very high standard, and we’re going to take that on to next season."
Fort William side Lochaber have also joined the West set up, with Clydesdale also set to rejoin the leagues. after folding earlier this year.
West 1: Allan Glens, Annan, Cambuslang, Carrick, East Kilbride, Garnock, Greenock, Helensburgh, Irvine, Kilmarnock, Oban, Stewartry.
West 2: Birkmyre, Clydebank, Cumbernauld, Cumnock, Lenzie, Loch Lomond, Millbrae, Paisley, Strathaven, Strathendrick, Uddingston Waysiders.
West 3: Bishopton, Clydesdale, Cowal, Glasgow Uni Medics, Hyndland, Isle of Mull, Lanark, Lochaber, Moffat, Police Scotland Glasgow, Shawlands, Wigtownshire.