HELENSBURGH’S young rugby players will line up at Murrayfield next week in the final of the National Schools Plate.

The Lomond and Helensburgh U16 team made it through to the final with a gritty win over Lathallan in front of a large crowd at Ardencaple on Saturday.

The squad – made up of players from Lomond School and Helensburgh RFC – lifted the under-15 National Schools Quaich last season and made the ideal start to their Plate campaign earlier this month with a narrow 22-19 win at home to St Leonard’s Madras Blues, from St Andrews.

That set up a tasty semi-final clash against a Lathallan team who edged through to the last four after beating Cumnock 29-27.

With both teams having made it through close quarter-final ties, a similarly tight encounter was expected in Saturday’s last four clash – but, at least in the early stages, it looked as if Helensburgh and Lomond might run away with the match after the hosts opened up an impressive 19-0 lead following a dominant first 20 minutes.

But Lathallan proved they were no mugs, and took advantage after the home side conceded a string of penalties – with the visitors not just cancelling out the hosts’ advantage but opening up a 21-19 lead.

However, Helensburgh and Lomond were not to be denied and ran in a match-winning try in the closing stages to clinch their place in the Murrayfield final.

They will play Dunbar Grammar School at the national stadium on Wednesday, December 6, with a 4pm kick-off.

The club will be running a supporters’ bus to next Wednesday’s match, leaving Ardencaple at 12.30pm sharp.

Places are limited but can be booked online at tickettailor.com/events/helensburghrugbyclub.

Saturday, though, proved to be a tougher day for the Lomond and Helensburgh first XV, with their West 2 trip to Bishopton ending in a disappointing 52-12 defeat.

Nick Fish and Jack Chapman scored L&H’s only tries, with Warren Smith adding a conversion – but it wasn’t enough against a Bishopton side who went into the match having suffered just one defeat all season and who tightened their grip on second place in the table courtesy of the bonus point win.

This Saturday, December 2, L&H’s first XV welcome third placed Carrick to Ardencaple, while the second XV travel to Ayrshire to face Kilmarnock 3rd.

Both matches kick off at 2pm.