HELENSBURGH Hockey Club are appealing for local supporters to head along to Hermitage Academy to back the team this Saturday in their promotion crunch against East Kilbride.

Following a 5-0 win over Kelburne last weekend, the Burgh know that whoever wins this Saturday’s crucial clash will take a giant step towards securing the West District division one title.

Helensburgh went into the Kelburne match knowing that they couldn’t afford any more slip-ups in their quest to secure the club’s first league title in 35 years, after losing 6-5 to Strathclyde University the previous midweek.

Without the father-and-son Cox combo up front, Dayle Hartopp was given the job of leading the line against Kelburne – and it was his shot which led to the game’s opening goal, with Gavin MacKenzie netting the rebound after the keeper saved Hartopp’s effort.

Alan Stuart was feeling the brunt of some hard tackles in the middle of the park, but the midfielder didn’t let it bother him, slotting home goal number two after a great exchange of passes with Gordon Black.

Helensburgh hockey clubs 1st XI took a step closer to the title this week with a 5-0 win vs. Kelburne on Saturday. Last week’s game vs. Strathclyde University had finished 6-5 to the Uni. side. This defeat added a lot of pressure onto Helensburgh who couldn’t afford another slip up.

The game started well for ‘burgh as they maintained good pressure on Kelburne from the first whistle. Without father and son combo of the Cox’s up front this week, young striker Dayle Hartopp was given the job of leading the line and he did not disappoint. Some early forays into the Kelburne D saw some good shots from Hartopp, but the Kelburne keeper was on form. The first goal came after a Hartopp shot was well saved. G.MacKenzie was in for the rebound however and beat the oncoming defender to take ‘burgh 1-0 up. Kelburne were making it difficult for Helensburgh in the middle of the park, and A.Stuart was feeling the brunt of this, with a number of hard tackles coming in throughout the game. The midfielder didn’t let it bother him as he got Helensburgh’s 2nd goal. They had struggled so far to get the passing game going; however that changed for goal number 2. G.Black picked the ball up in his own half, before dribbling forward, he found Stuart who played an exquisite one touch pass back to Black who had continued his run. Black was just in the D by this point, and Stuart had followed his own pass with a good run – which Black found. Stuart made no mistake in hitting the target and ‘burgh celebrated a well-deserved second goal. ‘burgh were sure for a third goal after

A great run by MacKenzie found Bowman at the back post as Burgh went in search of a third, but the experienced striker couldn’t find the touch needed to net his first goal for the first team.

A third goal did come however just before half time, with MacKenzie setting up Hartopp who found the bottom corner with pinpoint accuracy to give the hosts a 3-0 interval lead.

this time. The winger found Hartopp at the top of the D, and the striker found the bottom corner of the goal with pinpoint accuracy. It was 3-0 at half time.

Helensburgh continued to dominate in the second half, and as Kelburne grew ever more tired of chasing the game, one visiting player received a green card for his transgressions.

MacKenzie beat two defenders before placing home his ninth of the season, and Burgh’s fourth, and it was Hartopp who rounded off the scoring with his second after a late goalmouth scramble for his 15th of the campaign.

the game in the 2nd half, and Kelburne grew ever more tired of chasing the game, with the hard challenges flying in. One Kelburne player received a green card for his transgressions. Helensburgh got a fourth goal through MacKenzie, who was having an excellent season. The young winger beat two defenders before placing the ball in the bottom corner to get his 9th of the season. Helensburgh continued to pepper the Kelburne goal and great flowing move between Stuart, Hartopp and McMenemin was almost finished off by MacKenzie however the Kelburne keeper pulled off a fantastic diving save. The final goal of the game was a bit of a goalmouth scramble – with Hartopp celebrating it. The shot was initially saved after a Stuart shot, with the keeper, defenders and strikers going for the rebound. Hartopp looked to have got the final touch, which takes him to 15 goals for the season. The game finished 5-0 to Helensburgh.

Helensburgh Team: C. Keith; G. McWilliam (Capt.); D. McGregor; G. Caulfield; H. Johnson; B. Kennedy; A. Stuart (MoM); C. McMenemin; G. MacKenzie; G. Black; D. Hartopp; A. Kelly; A. Bowman. Thanks to David O’Donnell for umpiring.

This Saturday’s crunch game with East Kilbride starts at 12.15pm at Hermitage Academy - and while, with both teams having games outstanding, the fate of the championship won’t be confirmed until later in the month, the result will have a huge bearing on the outcome of the title chase. Please come along and support the team.

Next week (14th April) the 1st XI take on 2nd placed East Kilbride with the winner surely taking the West District Division 2 title. However with games outstanding for both sides, this won’t be confirmed till later in the month. Come and support the ‘burgh 1st XI, 12:15 at Hermitage Academy!

Helensburgh’s second XI won their first game of 2018 on Saturday, beating Uddingston 3-1 to secure their place in division three next season.

A brace from Sean Murphy gave the Burgh a 2-0 interval lead with vice-captain Morris Kelly sealing the points with the third. Thanks to Andy Richardson for umpiring.