Three games lost to the weather in August and a defeat away at Weirs put paid to Helensburgh’s chances of avoiding the drop to Division Two of the Western District Cricket Union.

With relegation rivals St Michaels having a good run at the end of the season, avoiding demotion was a long shot by the time Helensburgh played Weirs, but another poor batting display – with a couple of dubious decisions – meant the Ardencaple side were relegated before the final weekend.

Skipper Gregor Chambers said: “We are all gutted at going down, but in reality, even though we’ve accumulated more wins and points than last season, we’ve not been good enough to stay up.

“Our bowling has been good, fielding OK, but the batting has been our Achilles heel all season. Five scores of 80 or less is not good enough for this league.

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“Having said that, I can’t fault the effort of everyone who has played for us and hopefully the club will regroup now ready for next season.

“We have an excellent crop of juniors coming through and I anticipate good days ahead over the next couple of seasons as they push their way into the first team.”

It’s better news for the Helensburgh second team, though, as they retained Division Three status – and captain Scott McLachlan was upbeat.

“It’s been a reasonable season for us,” he said.

“With a good mix of the older players and the youngsters, we’ve comfortably managed to field a side each week and to fulfil all our fixtures.

“Next season looks really exciting as the juniors gain more experience and start to lead this side.”

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A rebuild around youth looks to be the way ahead, and on the last Sunday of the season a Helensburgh XI containing nine players under 16 took on the Forty Club.

An excellent afternoon of cricket saw the visiting team take home the spoils, but there was plenty to be encouraged by as Helensburgh used nine bowlers during the course of the match and batted their full allocation of overs.

The final act of the season was the club dinner and awards night, when some 40 players, sponsors and guests enjoyed a great night at the Ardencaple clubhouse.

The first and second team captains’ ‘player of the season’ awards went to Rajitha and Alex Todd respectively, while the players’ players of the year were Gregor Chambers and Alex Todd.

The chairman’s award for the greatest contribution to the club during the year went to Conor, Helen and Emma Niblock, and there were special acknowledgements for Sally McCartney and Aileen Overend for their support for the junior cricket side this season.

As the wicket gets put to bed for another winter, thoughts are already turning towards next season. Watch out for news of an indoor winter league, juniors and senior training – details will be on the club’s website and Facebook page.

Chambers added: “Finally the club is indebted as always to our sponsors this season, Shearwater Marine Services, RL Engineering, Hart Insurance and IC Transformations.”

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