LOMOND and Helensburgh’s youth rugby players completed a fine double win away to their Hillhead/Jordanhill counterparts last weekend – with the club’s under-16s triumphing 45-26 and the under-18s winning 41-0.

The recent upper hand between the clubs’ U16 teams has rested with Hills, but a full-strength Lomond-Helensburgh team, bolstered by Joseph Gonzaga from the U15s, made an impressive start, winning turnover ball after conceding a penalty in the opening seconds and working through several good phase plays for Gonzaga to power his way over for the opening try, ably converted by Rhuairidh Hall.

Trading phases and field position saw Hills level with a converted try of their own, but from the restart Lomond-Helensburgh took charge; powerful running from Callan saw a ruck set five metres from the Hills line from where Solomon Blake, sensing his chance to break his scoring duck, picked up superbly, drove low and crossed the line, the try again converted by Hall.

The visitors’ tails were up now, and from the restart Blake powered down the blindside wing; though stopped metres short, that set up a new phase of play, and from the resulting ruck Ewan McCartney added the visitors’ third try.

A third conversion from Hall made it 21-7, and Lomond-Helensburgh went on to turn the screw before the break, Gonzaga crossing for his second before Shaun Callan scored the visitors’ fifth, with a clean sweep of Hall conversions putting Lomond-Helensburgh 35-7 ahead at th e break.

Coaches Pete Kemp and Ian Smith rang the changes at half time, giving U15 squad members Ollie Smith, Fergus McEwan, William MacKay, Adam Reaney, Joshua McMaster and Cameron Boswell their chance – and the new impetur provided the fresh legs for Alex Brown to weave his way through and score under the posts.

Hall somehow missed the easiest conversion attempt he’d have all day, but the visitors were unperturbed, and from the restart Brown remained steady under the high ball before launching a counter-attack.

He made the hard yards, with Harry Kemp and Ben Grayson providing the support to enable Harris MacLean to stretch his legs and cross the line for Lomond-Helensburgh’s seventh try.

Hills hit back with two well worked scores of their own to finish the game on something of a high, though there was no taking the shine off the visitors’ performance; special mentions to Ethan, Mace and Lee for ensuring the scrums were solid, and Gethin again giving his opposite 9 a torrid day from the start.

With two wins from two away games, and more than a hundred points scored, there’s plenty for the U16 squad to celebrate.

Meanwhile, the Lomond-Helensburgh U18s also wasted no time against their Hills counterpart, with loose-head prop (and wannabe winger) Farrar barging his way over the line for the first try in the opening couple of minutes.

The visitors’ second score came from a sweeping attack finished off by Lambert, with the only blemish on their resolute defending being the concession of far too many penalties, forcing the referee to warn that any further infraction would result in a yellow card.

The coaches’ half-time team-talk focussed on executing the basics well and cutting down the ruck indiscipline that had featured in the first half – and the players clearly heeded the warning, with barely a penalty conceded after the break.

Rae scored next with a breenging number 8 pick-up, and Lambert got on the end of two more attacks to bring his try tally for the day to three.

Talbot chased down a kick ahead from Devenny to dot down, beating the Hills defence in a foot race, and Harrison grabbed the last try of the match, diving over the line from short range.

Devenny was good for three conversions and was unlucky not to make it four as he hit the post with one attempt.

Dunlop made an abrasive debut in the back row and Morrison also made his debut in the second row; Crombie made the tackle of the day, downing a fast-moving Hills player at least twice his size, and Walker, MacEachern and Humphreys all put in a creditable shift guesting for Hills.

This was a proverbial game of two halves and it was pleasing to see that the U18s learned and adapted from their mistakes to deliver some well worked scores and a tenacious defensive display.

U18s from Farrar, Reaney, Clark, Giarchi, Tacchi, Ray, Harrison, Dunlop. Gibson, Devenny, Lambert, Gow, Shaw, Talbot, Martin, Walker, Neilson, Chamberlain, Crombie, Deighton, MacEachern, Humphreys and Morrison.