THE Helensburgh and Lomond community have offered their congratulations to Lomond and Helensburgh's young rugby players following their win in the Scottish Schools U18 Plate finals at Murrayfield last week.

The team which is a combination of Lomond School and Helensburgh Rugby Football Club's youth section, competed against old foes Marr College in a closely-fought encounter.

The team defeated Marr College 42-29, culminating a number of years hard work.

Lomond School principal, Johanna Urquhart, was delighted to see all their hard work pay off.

She said: "We were very excited ahead of last week’s game as we all knew the tremendous effort that the team had put in to get to the final and the training that had been involved.

"We took a large number of supporters from the school community over to Murrayfield for the match and I would like to think that this support helped spur the boys on to their tremendous win.

"It really is wonderful to see the hard work of coaches and players culminate in such a fantastic result. We are very proud indeed.

"I would like to thank all the coaching staff from Lomond School and Helensburgh Rugby Club."

John Simmons, president of Helensburgh Cricket and Rugby Football Club, also offered his congratulations to the team and the coaches for their efforts.

He said: "On behalf of HCRFC I would like to congratulate the U18 team on winning the shield competition against a strong Marr team.

"The boys showed tremendous grit to come from behind twice to take the trophy.

"This is testament to the character of the team and the time and effort put in by the coaches.

"The joint venture between the rugby club and Lomond School has enabled the boys to play at a higher standard and to produce some outstanding rugby.

"It was one of the most exciting games I have ever seen."

Iain Fletcher, the chair of the club's youth section, said: "All their hard work has paid off and we are over the moon from a club point of view.

"It highlights that the partnership is working. The team got to a final and won it and this will hopefully inspire the younger players too."

Andrew Nisbet, from Rhu, who chairs LiveArgyll – the charitable trust set up to deliver leisure and library services across the Argyll and Bute Council area – and is also a long-standing member of the local rugby club, spoke of his belief that the result was just reward for the players and the collaboration between the school and rugby club.

He said: "Mini rugby and junior rugby in Helensburgh has thrived for decades, thanks to the significant investment of time by a succession of parents and volunteers.

"At LiveArgyll, our vision is that people are inspired to lead richer and more active lives through culture and sport. The U18 team are doing just that.”

Local politicians and MSPs have also offered their congratulations to the team following their win.

MSP Maurice Corry, said: “I was delighted to hear of the recent success of Helensburgh and Lomond under 18s rugby at Murrayfield.

"This is a wonderful achievement for the team, their coaches and club. I wish them all the best in the future.”

Argyll and Bute council leader, Aileen Morton, said: "Many, many congratulations to the players who have worked so hard and were rewarded with a comprehensive win last week."

Jackie Baillie MSP and MP Brendan O'Hara are tabling a motion at Parliament to mark the "amazing" success of the team.

Brendan O'Hara, said: "My immense congratulations to our local rugby players, what an achievement! The whole team should be tremendously proud of their efforts.

"I will be tabling an early day motion at parliament this week to mark their amazing success.”

Jackie Baillie, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Helensburgh and Lomond has won the title and I have lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament to congratulate the young players on their success.

“This is a great achievement for the team, building on the progress they made last year by reaching the Under-16s final, and bodes well for the future of rugby in Helensburgh and Lomond.”