Helensburgh Lomond’s under-16s took to the pitch against Kilmarnock short of numbers at the weekend – but did the business as they enjoyed a home win, coming out on top 28-21.

It was a day for forwards rugby and the Helensburgh Lomond pack didn’t disappoint, trading heavy tackles and rucks with their much bigger opposition. Despite being much smaller in size and numbers than much of the opposition they have faced this season, the home pack domninated.

Mace, Ethan and Mackenzie tipped the scrums in the home side’s favour; Kilmarnock knew they were in a game. 

Some fine forwards domination saw a flurry of phases, eventually releasing the ball to the back line where Ewan was able to scythe through the Kilmarnock back line and draw first blood. 

Alex used his speed to merrily dance through the whitewash; 14-0 and in the ascendancy Helensburgh Lomond turned the screw and took the game to Kilmarnock.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Both the 13/14s and under-16s sides were in action last weekendBoth the 13/14s and under-16s sides were in action last weekend (Image: Helensburgh Rugby Club)

More hunting and stalking from Solomon, Ben and Harry saw Kilmarnock errors as their nine-ten link failed and allowed turnover ball for Tacchi to romp away and score – 21-0. Kilmarnock were not top of the pool without merit and hit back from well-worked phase play and the conversion made it 21-7 at the break.

Early in the second half Helensburgh Lomond lost Mace to a head knock. Re-jigging the team saw them lose some of the dominance and Kilmarnock sensed it, quickly scoring and closing the gap, 21-14. 

The under-16s are at their most dangerous when under pressure and immense defensive tackling from Harris, Kyle and Gethin saw the line safe. This is a team that doesn’t play in the conventional style, deep behind their own posts and under pressure, they mounted an attack and rumbled and phased their way up the field. 

Reaching the halfway line and recycling the ball fast Alex was released for his second score of the game. Fatigue set in towards the end of the game and the penalties conceded mounted. Kilmarnock took the final score of the day to finish 28-21. 

The under-16s are waiting to find out their opposition for March 26, with Ayr/Wellington, Cartha Queens Park or Newton Stewart/Wigtownshire on offer. 

A club spokesperson said: “This was a physical, hard game and the once again the squad pulled together and ground out a result, finishing joint top of the league with Kilmarnock and Cumnock, all playing five, winning four, and losing one.

“We wish Mace well and a speedy return to rugby. We have no fear of who we face, and welcome the opportunity to play in our first final.”

Meanwhile, the 13-14s romped to a mammoth win 82-0 in their latest tie. The cohesion, accuracy and inventiveness showed by the combined u13-14 team shows how far the boys have come this season under coach Paul. 

Four debuts were on for Helensburgh, Ross, Noah, Alex and another Noah. All boys were immediately into the action and continued the tempo though the match with good tackling, rucking and more than a few yards of ball carry. 

Struan claimed four tries, with two for Kai, while Archie, Ben, Ruaridh C, Lewis, Cooper and Kai all added to the total. There was outstanding kicking from Archie who slotted all bar one between the uprights.

The difference this week for Helensburgh was the speed to which the boys closed on the ball. They rucked quickly and pushed hard, aiding countless turnovers. More than that the boys were ruthless, they never gave an inch. 

It left Lenzie in all sorts of trouble and they couldn’t get a phase of play together; even when they got the ball Helensburgh continued pressure forced Lenzie into handling mistakes. 

Helensburgh Advertiser: The 13/14s cruised to a huge 82-0 winThe 13/14s cruised to a huge 82-0 win (Image: Helensburgh Rugby Club)

Helensburgh played with great composure delivering the ball left, right, long and short. Come the third quarter, Lenzie did have some passages of good play, but they couldn’t make any inroads to a bunch of utterly committed boys. 

Another key difference came with the Helensburgh forwards. They stayed as a pack and followed the ball with considerable agility. Lenzie were too easy to draw in and have their forwards split and out of position so not able to support any ball carrier. 

Youth convenor Ian Smith added: “This season we wanted to push on from last year’s cup run. We have done this is style this season, 18s reaching BT Murrayfield in the schools competition, and then finish second in the pool to reach a second final in the same season. 

“The 16s made the quarter finals of the schools cup and were the joint winners of the pool, where they’re making their first ever final.

"Meanwhile, the 15s won the school’s conference and finished second in their pool where they will make their first final. The 14s, who have had a mixed season, have gone from almost not existing to being a dominant feared team and the 13s comfortably transitioned from mini rugby and adapting to the physicality.

“This is an exciting time to be a part of Helensburgh Lomond, coaching staff are already planning 2023/24 season. If you’ve ever thought of playing or training or evening supporting the teams please come along and find out more.”