HELENSBURGH Rugby Club’s youth convener has hailed a season of progress for the club’s young squads as they look ahead to the second half of the campaign – but the hunt for new players goes on.

In his review of 2022-23 so far, Ian Smith picked out plenty of highlights for the combined Lomond and Helensburgh squads – not least the under-18s reaching the age group final of the Scottish Schools Bowl at Murrayfield at the beginning of December – but also plenty of challenges, with the under-16s and under-14s in particular keen to recruit new talent after having a tough time getting enough players together to fulfil their fixtures.

Here, we, along with Ian and his youth coaching colleagues, look in a little more detail at what the season so far has featured for Lomond and Helensburgh’s youth squads...


Helensburgh Advertiser:

The U18s have had an excellent start to the 22/23 session. More than 30 players have pulled on the shirt so far this season and the squad as a good mix of 17 and 16-year-olds which bodes well for the future.

So far, the U18s have played nine, won six and lost three and the squad is motivated for the second half of the season.

Reaching the Scottish Schools U18 Bowl Final and playing at Murrayfield was an obvious highlight. On the day the result did not go Lomond and Helensburgh’s way, but that is rugby!

In the new year the U18s will compete in the West U18 Cup, playing against some of the best U18 club sides in the west of Scotland.

In summary U18 rugby is in rude health and the squad has plenty to play for moving forward.


Helensburgh Advertiser:

The Lomond and Helensburgh U16s have had a mixed first half of the season after winning four of their eight matches and losing the other four – but lying joint top of their conference split.

They started with a win away to Kelpies in a development fixture in late August, but the flip side of the coin included a one-sided cup defeat against St Columba’s School.

The U16s have been playing the season so far with bare numbers and hoping for no injuries. There are 16 players in the squad who give everything they have every Thursday night in training and then again, every Saturday morning.

With some players in new positions, players in unfamiliar positions, we muddle through! More importantly there is a belief amongst the team, and there is passion and pride to wear the badge.

The U16s’ new year begins with a development game at home to Renfrew Raiders on January 8, followed by a national cup tie away to Dalziel on January 22 and the boys would love to see plenty of support on the sidelines.


Helensburgh Advertiser:

The Lomond and Helensburgh U15 squad grew last season, attracting new players to the game to join a well-established team, most of whom have been playing together since P1.

The coaches saw the post-Covid 2021-22 season as one of development, and the first half of 2022-23 has allowed the squad to see the benefits of all their hard work, topping their group in the Schools Competition and remaining unbeaten to the end of 2022.

With more than 30 players in the squad it allows players to try out new positions as well as develop core skills and have a lot of fun in the process, including a trip to Scotstoun to see Glasgow Warriors play!


The U14s are desperately short of players, they have fulfilled their fixtures to date, but this is an appeal to grow the squad. After Christmas they will have a highly experienced coach in John Cashmore, who will be building a coaching squad and team to continue the strong and proud heritage of playing rugby for Lomond and Helensburgh.


The S1 season started well with many new players. The first game was a strong team effort resulting in a home win against Cumnock, followed by another fine home win against Jordanhill.

Defeat away to Lenzie followed, although Lenzie’s coach said afterwards that the Lomond-Helensburgh squad had been their most difficult opponents so far.,

The squad’s final game before the Christmas break was away against Queen Victoria School and saw the Lomond and Helensburgh boys narrowly beaten by seven points.

The S1s’ coach added: “We have a fantastic bunch of boys with great teamwork and we would love to have some new players and would welcome anyone who wants to give rugby a try.”

Helensburgh Advertiser:

Reflecting on the season so far for all of the Lomond and Helensburgh youth squads, Ian said: “I would like to personally thank every player in every squad for continual support in playing and training.

“This is our first full post pandemic season; it has been difficult and at times frustrating. The weather has played a factor in some fixtures being cancelled or postponed.

“We welcome new players at all ages, and we welcome new parents to the club and ask you to involve yourself in your son’s team or within the club.

“We are looking for trainee child protection officers, and volunteers for coaching, first aid and refereeing.

“No experience is needed – we will train you, we will support you and give you all the support and mentoring you need.

“Have a fabulous festive break – and see you all in the new year for a fitness session...”