THE feel good factor is back at Helensburgh Rugby Club after a major step forward for the club’s youth sections – and as the club’s first XV climbed to the top of the table.

The Lomond/Helensburgh under-18, under-16 and under-15 squads have all progressed to the play-off competitions of their respective age group conferences, and will now face off against St Leonards/Madras, Queen Victoria School and St Columba’s to determine the overall champions of the mid and west Scotland conferences.

Added into the mix is the excitement of the under-18s playing Balfron/Strathendrick, and the double header of St Columba’s games for a place in either the Shield, Plate or Bowl competition – and the U16s will play QVS in a double-header that will also decide whether they progress to the Bowl, Plate or Shield.

And there was an added reason to be cheerful for those involved in the club’s youth set-up this week when Will Harrison was selected for the Glasgow and West U17 squad to compete in an inter-Academy tournament at Murrayfield today (Thursday).

Grassroots rugby fans were left disappointed at the weekend after the wild weather put paid to the development fixture against Kelpies RFC’s U16/17 and U15/16 squads – but there was still reason to be cheerful for local supporters after the combined Lomond and Helensburgh adult first XV chalked up a battling 19-13 win away to Cumbernauld.

The win at Auchenkilns was the third victory in a row for the team – combining the player pools of the Helensburgh and Loch Lomond clubs after both teams faced a struggle to assemble squads of their own to fulfil regular fixtures.

Saturday’s win, added to the 57-0 thrashing of Hyndland on October 8 and a 31-5 victory away to Shawlands seven days before that, sent Lomond and Helensburgh four points clear at the top of West League Division Three, albeit with two more games under their belt than nearest rivals Bishopton.

Youth rugby convener Ian Smith said: “Rugby at Helensburgh RFC is in good place, with the first XV registering three straight wins, player numbers are increasing and the ‘feel good’ factor is back.

“Youth rugby has been quietly going under the radar, and this season has given us plenty to shout about – the 18s, 16s and 15s are all undefeated and have a good shot at bringing silverware to the club for the club since before the pandemic when we signed off as Conference champions.

“The 14s and 13s are developing into squads that will be sure to follow this pathway.

“New players are always welcome, from those that have never played to those who have left the game. Come and join us, you might find it addictive!”

This Saturday, October 22, sees the Lomond/Helensburgh adult team welcome Isle of Mull RFC to Ardencaple. Kick-off is at the earlier-than-usual time of 12.30pm, to fit in with the ferry timetables that govern the visitors’ travel plans.