HELENSBURGH turned on the second half style to chalk up a first victory of the season against Paisley at Ardencaple on Saturday.

In front of a decent-sized crowd buoyed by the previous week’s performance, it was the kind of fine, sunny day that puts a smile on your face – and, when the final whistle blew, there were lots of smiles on lots of faces...just not the Paisley ones.

Paisley did start brightly, pressurising the home team back into their 22 from the kick-off; a loose pass was intercepted by burly Paisley centre Mike Murrell, the conversion made by Euan Stuart, and the Buddies were 7-0 up after only five minutes.

This young Helensburgh team likes to run ball but they also perhaps need reminded that putting boot to leather is, at times, the more effective method of clearing danger – and that the new 50/22 rule that says, if you kick the ball whilst in your own half and it bounces in the far 22 and goes into touch, the kicking team will have the throw-in, can also instantly turn defence into attack when executed properly.

Paisley were soon awarded a kickable penalty and Stuart’s kicking boot put the visitors 10 points to the good.

But the Green and Golds dug in and, from inside their own half, stand-off Warren Smith popped and looped then sent the ball wide, from where continued through several pairs of hands to reach winger David Rowney, who outpaced the covering defence to score, Smith converting to take Helensburgh within three points of the visitors.

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A successful penalty made it 10-10 at half-time – and coach Cammy Kerr must have given a desk-thumping team talk during the interval as Helensburgh started the second half at pace and never relented.

Paisley seemed shell-shocked as the home team scored 35 unanswered points, including tries by Ben Farrer, Sean Alton, Ian Fulton and Craig Calderwood.

Paisley stuck in until the end but never really threatened, while the game was halted for an extended period as Reece Court was stretchered off after having been clothes-lined by the Paisley number 10, Kerr Stevenson, himself an ex-Helensburgh player.

Stevenson’s reckless and dangerous neck-high tackle rightly earned him a red card, which definitely seemed to galvanise the Helensburgh boys further.

President John Cashmore said: “Five points in the bag and another positive performance by all the players.

“We can expect this team to improve progressively with every outing as new players gel and young players continue to learn and develop.”

This Saturday, September 25, sees Helensburgh travel to Uddingston in the first of four trips to Lanarkshire in this season’s league campaign, with a 3pm kick-off.

Cashomre added: “Another victory would be nice but it won’t be easy. Uddingston suffered a heavy defeat to Cumnock last time out and they will be looking to get themselves back on track with a strong performance of their own.”