A TELLING statistic emerged as the banter flowed in the clubhouse after an entertaining, useful but ultimately disappointing pre-season friendly for Helensburgh on Saturday, writes Calum McNicol.

For on the day the club blooded a further five players from last year’s under-18 side – to add to an already youthful-looking squad – one of the Forrester RFC travelling party revealed their youngest player that day was ‘about 25’.

That their oldest was definitely a splendid 59 probably put their team average somewhere in the mid-30s, while Burgh’s average at a rough guesstimate would be, what? Early 20s tops?

In a roundabout way, what this says about what was a narrow 29-19 defeat speaks volumes for the Grizzlies a few seasons down the track.

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If the majority of these young lads can learn their trade – against generally far bigger, more experienced teams – and bide their time, develop their physicality, work on their technique, gel as a team, there’s definitely jam tomorrow.

Because what you can’t coach, compel or cajole into a player is the desire, the heart to do your best, and that’s never something a Burgh player has had to dig deep to find.

Yes, these callow youths fell off some tackles, yes, they possibly lack aggression, yes, they’re frustratingly smaller than half the opposition players they face...but they come at you again, and again.

And this never-say-die attitude is what gives this correspondent hope that, despite modest numbers at training, despite a lack of experience in the challenges of the adult game, despite a relative lack of strength in depth – compared to the halcyon days of two, three teams at Ardencaple – there’s enough there to build on.

And if you build it...it will come!

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Burgh’s debutants on Saturday were Cammy King, Gus Byrne, Chris Allwood, Joe Bull and Luke Ashdown. All put in fine shifts and can be proud they’ve pulled on the first team jersey.

The home scorers on the day were Alex Macauley, Nick Fish and Mark Robertson, with two Paul Howell conversions.

Coach David Calderwood said after the match: “For a first hit out this season it went pretty well.

“The boys showed flashes of really good play at times and we know we are heading in the right direction.

“We blooded another five young players who will benefit from the experience.

“We know what need to do to be better at when competitive games arrive.”