HELENSBURGH Hockey Club's first team began the season with a 6-2 win at home to Rottenrow.

Under new management the, new-look 1st XI took to the field without their captain, looking to win their opening fixture for the first time in seven years.

Rottenrow's second XI were extremely pacey up front but Burgh's defenders managed to cope well enough to limit the number of chances for the away side.

Helensburgh themselves looked dangerous in attack, with Hartopp showing well early on, beating the last defender with an early chance before shooting narrowly past the post.

It wasn’t long after that the home side opened the scoring, Black winning the ball in midfield before feeding in Dye, whose shot was fizzing past the far post before Cox slotted it into the net.

A poorly-marked striker levelled the score for Rottenrow before half-time, but after the break Helensburgh began to dominate, showing themselves to be the fitter side.

Barton smashed a shot into the bottom corner past the sprawling keeper to give Helensburgh the lead before Dye got himself in the right place at the right time to make it 3-1.

Barton played a lovely one-two with Rosie before dispatching a thunderous reverse-stick effort for the hosts' fourth, but Rottenrow pulled one back after a well-executed short corner before putting Helensburgh on the ropes for a spell.

Murphy managed to get himself green carded after a last-man stick tackle ended up in a penalty flick to Rottenrow - but new keeper Keith, in only his second game for the Helensburgh first team, saved the penalty.

That gave Helensburgh the kick-start they needed to put the game to bed, with McGregor, Rosie and Hartopp all coming close to opening their account for the season before Cox made it five after a ball in from Black was poorly controlled by the Rottenrow defender.

Dye finished the game in style for the hosts, latching on to a through ball before taking it round the keeper and smashing it home.

Helensburgh team: C. Keith (MoM); C. McMenemin; J. Gumbrell; D. McGregor; G. Caulfield; G. Black(capt.); J. Murphy; G. McKenzie; N. McKend; J. Cox; D. Hartopp; C. Dye; T. Barton; C. Rosie.

Thanks to Andy Richardson for umpiring.

* Helensburgh's second XI took on a mixed Kelburne team of bright stars and fading white dwarfs, and despite falling behind to an early 'fluke' goal which crept between the Bambi-on-ice gait of keeper McGregor, Helensburgh fought back to lead 2-1.

Goals came from Murphy and Caulfield, both assisted by Cox, but there was a sting in the tail for Helensburgh as Kelburne broke free to score a last-minute equaliser.

Helensburgh team: D. McGregor; M. Payne (capt.); I. Richardson; J. Fowler; H. Johnson; M. Kelly; A. Richardson (MoM); R. Whittick; S. Murphy; B. Cox; J. Caulfield; C. Keith; R. Park.

Thanks to Dayle Hartopp for umpiring.

* The Helensburgh 3rd XI were away against last year’s league runners up, Hillhead 6th XI - a match which was always going to be a tough opener.

Going in 2-0 down at half time was very promising for the mostly young Helensburgh side, and a goal from new recruit Morgan Kelly, eagerly assisted by older brother Arthur, was a bright sign for the team, but the young and talented Hillhead side showed their dominance as the game went on.

Findlay played exceptionally well in goal, including a triple save later on in the game - which most of his team-mates thought had gone in - but it was to no avail as Hillhead finished 7-1 winners.

Helensburgh team: M. Findlay; J. Steel (capt.); E. Howie; G. Black; M. Kelly (MoM); R. Coles; G. McKelvie; A. Kelly; H. Hussain; S. Banyard; A. Bowman; T. Harris.

Thanks to Kim McCallion for umpiring.

* Meanwhile, Lomond School fielded seven girls' hockey teams against St Columba's School from Kilmacolm.

The school's first team played their first home match of the season, and it was the visitors who started better, Millie Grover in goal making some crucial early saves.

It took a great reverse stick lifted shot into the roof of the goal to beat Lomond and unfortunately it gave St Columba's the confidence to attack in greater numbers.

The visitors soon doubled their lead, but Lomond rose to the challenge, building up their own attacking play, and Hannah White played in Abigail Swigciski to score at the second attempt after the St Columba's keeper saved her first shot.

However, the pace of the game caught up with Lomond in the second half, and though Hannah Leach worked very hard in defence with Cara Malcolm, Cara Cawley, Felicity Hutchison and Charlotte Caskie all making numerous tackles to win the ball, Lomond lost out in the possessional play and St Columba's ran out 4-1 winners.

The squad have plenty of things to be working on and the fitness focus will be first on the list.

* Lomond's second XI played an evenly-contested match, and though St Columba's took the lead in the first half, a good run from Rosie Green set up Nadiyah Hassan for the equaliser.

Jessica Challender and Anna Greetham kept moving the ball into the attacking areas, while Luisaidh Henderson made crucial tackles in defence with Chiara Robertson showing good awareness from her centre defence position.

Izzy Stilwell cleared the ball out of defence from her sweeping positon and as a team they all responded to the task in hand, while Robyn Hodgson made some excellent saves to keep Lomond in the game and help secure a 1-1 draw.

* Lomond's S3 team were up against a strong St Columba's side in Kilmacolm, and though the home side won 6-0 several Lomond players shone, with Emma O'Neill in goal making upwards of 14 saves and Helena Geoghan and Catherine Laverty working extra hard in defence.

Amirah Hassan covered everywhere on the pitch and was voted ‘player of the match’ for her overall work rate, while and it was good to see newcomer Clara Kalkof improving on the pitch.

Lomond was unable to build up the attacking play through their strikers and players need to take more responsibility on their individual performance.

* Lomond's S2s were up for the challenge against their opponents, and credit must go to both of Lomond’s goalkeepers, especially Ruby Cathro, who was playing her first match for the team.

Olivia Winton had a brilliant first half in midfield and was very keen to involve herself in the attacking play, while Sophie Reid worked hard up front and it was captain, Rachel Macleod, who scored Lomond’s first goal of the season from a well struck penalty corner.

The final score was 2-1 to St Columba’s, but Lomond played well and never gave up trying.

* The Lomond first year team showed they are coming together well as a unit, beginning to communicate more on the pitch and demonstrating a good positive attitude towards each other.

Good defending from Zara Etchells and especially Caragh Hird kept Lomond in touch, and though the visitors lost two goals, they were keen to build up their attacking play throughout, with newcomer Amy Daveney showing how much she has improved.

Caragh was voted ‘player of the match’, but all players contributed during the game.

* The Transitus pupils from T1 came straight from a camping trip to play against St Columba’s. Short matches for all teams playing across the pitch resulted in a few non-scoring games as well as a 2-1 defeat.

In the first match, Zoe McEwan and Pippa Swigciski both stood out in their play and in the second match it was Orla Grant who scored Lomond’s goal and Ruby Erith who worked so well throughout the games.

Most of these players are new to the competitive game and are learning the basic spatial awareness on the hockey pitch.