Ardencaple FC continued to provide the perfect combination of a stiff challenge on the pitch and wonderful post-match hospitality to various Olympic Development teams touring from the US over the Easter holiday break.

Despite freezing temperatures and windy conditions, Ardencaple and Maryland 2005s served up a game that was more like a good old-fashioned Scottish cup tie rather than a friendly.

The visitors opened the scoring just before half-time and extended their lead midway through the second half. The game continued to flow from end to end and Caple’s efforts were eventually rewarded as they fought back to equalise with goals brilliantly taken by Cameron and Grant. However, just as the match looked to be heading for a draw, Maryland broke forward in the dying minutes to score the winner.

Easter Sunday saw a large crowd for a double-header at Cardross Amateurs against West Pennsylvania 2003s and East Pennsylvania 2005s.

The first match was for the Gary Andrews Memorial Trophy and saw Caple, with Gary’s son Josh proudly wearing the captain’s armband, running out 9-0 winners, and Josh himself scoring the final goal.

And Caple’s 2005s then produced an impressive performance against their opponents, holding a strong East Penn side to a goalless draw.

Cardross Amateurs very kindly provided the venue on Easter Sunday for a double-header vs West Pennsylvania 2003’s followed by East Pennsylvania 2005’s.

The 1st match kicked off in glorious sunny conditions in front of a very large crowd that had gathered to support the Gary Andrews Remember a Life Charity Trust. Now an annual event in the football diary, Ardencaple FC works closely with the Andrews family to organise a special commemorative match involving its 2003 age group who compete for the Gary Andrews Memorial Trophy. Gary’s son Josh proudly wore the captain’s armband and was thrilled to score the final goal in what turned out to be a rather one-sided affair with Caple running out 9-0 winners. Club chairman Craig Holborn commented: “Despite the result, I was impressed by the sheer guts and determination of the team from West Pennsylvania, they kept their heads up right until the bitter end. I’m afraid that our boys were physically bigger and stronger, it must have something to do with all that porridge! Seriously,”Everyone was a winner today and none more so and more deserving than Josh, his mum Kelly and the Andrews family. We are proud to have them as part of our Ardencaple family.

“It is our privilege to support this Trust, which is designed to help families exposed to the tragic consequences when a loved one is suffering from cancer, to provide practical support and assistance to those who need it most and when they need it most.

“I must also say a massive thank-you to our American friends and the tour organisers Worldstrides for their very generous donation to such a worthy cause.”

Next up on a busy Caple itinerary was the Sunday lunchtime kick-off against the 2005 touring side from East Pennsylvania. And for the second time in the space of a few days this young Caple side produced a truly impressive performance against very strong US opposition. There were plenty of skills and thrills on display but sadly no goals as both teams bravely battled out a no-scoring draw before players and families from both sides enjoyed delicacies from the BBQ as well as the home-baking on offer. Various raffle prizes were drawn including a Rangers jersey signed by the 1st team squad, kindly facilitated by local resident Colin Stewart, Director of Operations at Rangers Youth Development Company.

The final fixture saw Caple’s 2002 age group squad edge out the Olympic development squad from West Virginia in a narrow 1-0 win featuring some very entertaining football.

Eric McAleer of Worldstrides, who organised the US sides’ tours, said: “Our recent fixtures vs Ardencaple FC have been brilliant; great soccer played in the right spirit, friendships made on and off the park, and magnificent feedback from our players and their parents about the warm hospitality on offer.”

The final fixture involving US touring sides kicked off at Hermitage Academy in front of yet another large crowd when Caple’s 2002 age group meet the Olympic Development squad from West Virginia. Both sides produced some very entertaining football in a match where respective defences seemed to be on top and Caple narrowly edging a 1-0 victory.

The final words from Eric McAleer, himself an ex-professional player in Scotland and now Senior Vice President of Worldstrides, the US company that organises these tours “Our recent fixtures vs Ardencaple FC have been brilliant; great soccer played in the right spirit, friendships made on and off the park, and magnificent feedback from our players and their parents about the warm hospitality on offer. We’ve all thoroughly enjoyed our visits to Helensburgh & Loch Lomond and we look forward to returning, hopefully with other teams this summer.”