HELENSBURGH Rugby Club’s new first-team coach says he wants to instil a new sense of belief at Ardencaple – not just in the members of his squad, but at the club as a whole.

Cammy Kerr was speaking as the lows of lockdown lifted just enough to enable a return to action stations at the club.

It’s a busy time for both of the club’s sporting codes, with the cricket section playing its first matches this week after lockdown limits were eased sufficiently to allow the resumption of matches.

And the rugby section – both juniors and adults – are about to ramp up training in preparation for the season ahead.

A formal re-opening of the Ardencaple institution takes place this Saturday, August 15, after an extensive refurbishment of the clubhouse was completed over the summer.

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Kerr told the Advertiser: “We’ve had our issues these last few seasons on getting 15 guys on the pitch, never mind being able to win consistently, but the youth coaches have been, and are, doing a great job of bringing through loads of talented players.

“That’s the future of the club. We’re going to harness the vibrancy of youth and supplement it with a few old heads – but new players are always welcome at Ardencaple!

“We want to get the place bouncing again, with a fit young team playing high-intensity, fun rugby where the boys enjoy it, but appreciate they have to work hard too.

“There’s a line in the film Gladiator I like: ‘Is Rome worth one good man’s life? We believed it once. Make us believe it again!’.

“My aim is to make the club believe again – if you don’t believe me, come and have a look for yourself.”

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Members, guests and anyone else wishing to take in the refurbished facilities on offer at Ardencaple are welcome to pop down over the next three Saturdays (starting August 15) between 1pm and 4pm, where refreshments will be available as will the chance to chat informally – socially distanced, of course – about joining the club.

Also this Saturday there will be a friendly six-a-side cricket tournament being played between 12 noon and 5pm.

Club president Lee Fish said: “I’m delighted to see a huge amount of hard work throughout lockdown by club volunteers being brought together with the re-opening of our club.

“We put a new roof on the building last year and have now finished a comprehensive refurbishment of the interior.

“All the efforts of the members have resulted in a new clubhouse which we can be proud of. It’s a base for more than 200 young rugby and cricket players and for hundreds of adult players and members.

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“We also hire out the club for functions during the day and evening.

“As Helensburgh is once again punching above its weight, not just on the pitches but with our facilities, there’s never been a better time to become a member.”

The club’s volunteers also worked hard with their relevant sporting bodies during the Covid-19 crisis, and followed all the guidelines and protocols in place, so both sections are excited about the return to training and playing and would invite anyone interested in playing to come down and get involved.

The cricket section runs two senior teams, a midweek 20/20 side and a junior XI, with training taking place each Tuesday and Thursday from 6.30pm.

Following the green light from Cricket Scotland for the resumption of local club games from Monday onwards, Helensburgh played Milngavie away from home on Tuesday and GHK at Ardencaple on Thursday.

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This Saturday the cricket club’s first XI are away to Hillhead, and on Sunday the second XI play their Hillhead counterparts at Ardencaple.

Meanwhile, there is age-group rugby at Helensburgh all the way from five to 18 years old, organised and managed by a superb team of coaches, all appropriately qualified.

The rugby section currently fields a regular first XV who play in division two of the SRU’s West District League.

On occasion, a social team called the Grousebeaters partake in friendly matches and a great deal of banter, so whatever your level and ambition, Helensburgh has got it covered for you.

Senior training is also on a Tuesday and Thursday from 7pm (floodlit during winter).

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