Lomond and Helensburgh’s second XV showed no ill-effects from going more than two months without a game as they ran in seven tries in their opening game of 2024 on Saturday.

T-Jay Lambert and Andy McKay each scored two tries, while debutants Toby Clark and Scott Gates also crossed the line along with George Grigg as L&H outgunned Kilmarnock’s third XV 41-5 at Ardencaple.

A squad of 22 players gave team manager Ian MacQuire plenty of options – and his choice of starting XV didn’t take long to pay off, with some fine Burgh defence winning back possession on halfway, from where Lambert outstripped the Killie defence to score before converting his own try.

Kilmarnock had a good mixture of old heads and big players and were putting in some big tackles, making it a much harder game than the score suggests - so much so that it took until the 20th minute for the home team to score their second try, Lambert crossing the line again after the home forwards won possession in the 22 and the ball was passed quickly through the backs’ hands for the winger to touch down.

The hosts were now full of confidence and after several incursions by their pack, prop Clark broke through for a debut score, with Charles Takel converting to take the lead to 19-0.

Kilmarnock kept knocking on the home team’s try line, and within minutes had taken advantage of some sloppy tackling to score their own first try, but captain McKay came on with half an hour on the clock and duly scored to take L&H’s half-time lead to 24-5.

Manager MacQuire made another five substitutions at half-time, and it was one of the new arrivals – another debutant, Scott Gates – who added the hosts’ fifth try five minutes after the restart, with Lambert converting.

Kilmarnock refused to throw in the towel, and Lomond-Helensburgh had to defend resolutely for a 10-minute spell before finally winning the ball back and making their way upfield, with several great runs setting up centre Grigg for the home side’s sixth.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Lomond-Helensburgh's second XV ran in seven tries against Kilmarnock 3rd on SaturdayLomond-Helensburgh's second XV ran in seven tries against Kilmarnock 3rd on Saturday (Image: Guy Phillips)

Once again, though, Kilmarnock showed what a gutsy team they are, and the visitors held out until the 79th minute before McKay put the icing on the Lomond-Helensburgh cake with his second and the hosts’ seventh.

Man of the match was prop Toby Clark, closely followed by T-Jay Lambert – while the L&H squad also boasted a rare father and son combination, with Stuart King and Douglas King playing in the same team for the first time.

Lomond-Helensburgh’s next game is away to Greenock Wanderers’ third XV.  

Squad: Martin Jamieson, Tony Burnside-Shonk, Toby Clark, Harry Wallis, Lewis Clark, Charles Takel, Ross Duff, Stuart Carruthers, Douglas King, Stuart King (capt), George Grigg, Thomas Shaw, Cameron Picken, Ben Wain, Andy McKay, Blair Crossan, Craig Wight, Darcey Burton, Scott Gates, Aidan Harvie, Aidan Short.

Meanwhile, the L&H first XV had to settle for a share of the spoils in their first fixture of the new year after being held to a 13-13 draw away to Waysiders/Drumpellier on Saturday.

The result keeps L&H in fifth place in West Division 2, just one point ahead of their opponents on Saturday.

This Saturday, January 20, L&H’s first team travel to South Lanarkshire to take on league leaders Cambuslang. Kick-off at Coats Park is at 2pm.