A MAKESHIFT Helensburgh side put on a battling performance to give Lenzie a tough test at Ardencaple on Saturday – though it wasn’t enough to prevent the league leaders heading home with full points from a 22-3 win.

In the face of some relentless attacking, the Grizzlies stood firm time after time – and though they were beaten, the Burgh players can hold their heads high in limiting a previously free-scoring Lenzie to so few points.

But there’s no point in sugar-coating those pills – the visitors left at least three, maybe more clear try opportunities out on the paddock, against a makeshift Burgh side that had flankers as wingers, winger as scrum-half, two 40-somethings gamely giving their all – and only two substitutes.

Yet for all the doom-mongers predicting a pasting, Helensburgh were actually on top for some parts of the match, and can build on this defensive display, assuming they get players back from injury.

Sean Alton and Connor Simmons left the pack to play wing, with former Burgh under-18 player Sam King guesting at open-side.

Reece Court moved to nine, and Mark Tyson turned back the years in some style, slotting in at stand-off admirably.

Just as against Paisley a fortnight ago, Burgh found themselves an unconverted try down after just two minutes.

But this time they responded well: from a five-metre lineout, a rumbling maul looked like it was going places, and when the ball was driven on by first Craig Calderwood, then Phil Ard, Lenzie transgressed, allowing Court an easy penalty for 3-5.

On 10 minutes, though, Burgh’s ruck guard defence was shoddy, allowing Lenzie’s scrum-half to nip through a gap and canter clear, feeding the right winger for a second unconverted try.

It was all Lenzie now, with Simmons, Tyson and Sam King each preventing what looked like promising backs’ moves from costing Burgh further on the scoreboard.

Burgh then lost skipper Cammy Kerr to a leg injury in the act of holding up a Lenzie player on the line, then Paul Howell and David Calderwood snuffed out try-scoring chances, as the visitors scented blood.

On 30 minutes, Lenzie were architects of their own downfall, some lovely interplay freeing the big full-back, but he dropped the scoring pass. The final 10 minutes were a midfield arm-wrestle and the half ended 10-3 to Lenzie.

There must be something about two minutes into a half for Burgh: for that’s when they conceded a third try; a lovely run by the burly inside centre saw him shrug off Josh Green’s tackle, throw two dummies and go over in the corner to open up a 15-3 advantage.

The remainder of the match saw a pattern develop: Burgh’s stuffy resistance saw them more than match Lenzie’s powerhouse drives, and what ball the Greens did win, they used well, preferring a series of pick-and-drives that at least ran the clock down.

But the pressure was bound to tell, and Lenzie earned their bonus-point try – after butchering two clear tries through knock-ons – in the final quarter as the Burgh bravehearts started to get leggy.

The conversion made it 22-3, but Burgh almost had the last laugh, the referee rightly calling ‘truck-and-trailer’ at a five-metre rolling maul just as the Burgh pack drove over the line – it would have been no more than they deserved.

Lenzie were magnanimous after the match, stating this had been their hardest – and yet cleanest – game of the season so far, and congratulating Burgh for not letting their heads go down. But plaudits don’t win a team places in this league, points do.

Best for Burgh on the day were Sam King, Tyson and Welch, with Raeside putting in a shift from the bench.

Burgh: Howell, Simmons, Stuart King, Welch, Tyson, Alton, Court, Feltham, Ashdown, Ard, D. Calderwood, C. Calderwood, Green, Kerr, Sam King. Subs: Raeside, Jamieson.

Results elsewhere in West Division 2 on Saturday: Uddingston 55-19 Millbrae; Loch Lomond 7-13 Paisley; Clydebank 45-5 Wigtownshire.

Remarkably, given the torrential rain which fell on large parts of Scotland on Friday night and Saturday morning, Oban Lorne’s home match against Bishopton was the only one on Saturday’s card which fell victim to a waterlogged pitch.

Saturday’s results, combined with the points deduction for Burgh’s conceded fixture against Strathaven two weeks ago, leave the Greens ninth in the 12-team table, with 16 points from nine games, well clear of the bottom trio of Cumbernauld, Loch Lomond and Millbrae.

All of those teams, however, have fixtures coming up over the next three Saturdays, while Helensburgh have a chance to let their injury worries ease as they take a break for Scotland’s autumn internationals against Fiji, South Africa and Argentina.

The Grizzlies’ next scheduled league fixture takes the form of a trip north-west to face Oban Lorne on Saturday, December 1.