Having played eight and won six in the build-up, hopes were high that Lomond and Helensburgh’s under-18 squad of nearly 30 boys could cap the first half of the season with some silverware in the National Schools Bowl Final – but it wasn’t to be as the local side lost out to Morrison’s Academy.

The match, on December 7, saw the squad travel to Murrayfield and, against the backdrop of the home of Scottish rugby, it was still a very special occasion for all concerned.

Match reports often dwell on the game and individual performances. Perhaps on this occasion it should be noted the extent to which the boys involved have influenced their club for the better – and the statement of intent they have laid down for the future.

The under-18s are made up of a mix of S5, S6, young graduates and school leavers. They are a group of lads with a mixture of talents, aspirations and abilities, but to see how they have worked with each other and for each other is really encouraging.

Competition rules dictate that only 22 can be selected on the day, an unenviable decision for any coach, but it was heartening to see all working hard in the training sessions, to find 29 making themselves available for selection and to see wholehearted support from the whole squad pitch side.

Morrison’s got the first points on the board when a strong line break broke through the Lomond and Helensburgh defence to dot down an unconverted try.

The under-18s responded well and, finding themselves deep in the opposition 22, were awarded a penalty. Unfortunately, a tricky angle saw the attempt unsuccessful.

At that stage, Morrison’s did well to push their way back into the opposition half before the ball was spilled into the touch line for a lineout.

Lomond and Helensburgh retained the ball at the lineout, but Morrison’s read the play well to intercept the ball and dash to the try line. A third try was added and converted before half time, with the score 17-0.

The opening 10 minutes of the second half were about applying pressure, and a charge down resulted in Morrison’s being penalised for holding on.

A quick tap and go 10 metres out allowed Lomond and Helensburgh to edge closer to the try line before hooker William Harrison sailed between the sticks. Captain Robbie Devenny added the extras. So now, a 10-point difference; game on.

Sadly it was not to be, as Morrison’s came back into the game in the final 15 to score three more tries and win by 41-7.

Yes, it was a green and gold defeat, but in so many ways a performance that anyone who supports Helensburgh can be proud of.

A spokesperson for Lomond and Helensburgh said: “The young boys – young men – who went out on this field of combat played fair, played strong and played for each other. They learned the importance of ruck intensity, the significance of ball retention, and the need to get basic rugby right.

“Overall, they gained the experience of enjoying a day out of school, work or university with the applause of supporters.

“In a Gareth Southgate moment, Paul Reaney, supported by Alan DeVenny, Tamara Chamberlain, Stewart Tacchi and John Penniston, would like to express pride in the players, the squad and the support.

“The boys on the field are not the finished article and, in any sport, there must be a winning side and the other. The future of Helensburgh RFC is in their hands, and with your support, in yours as well.”