HELENSBURGH Rugby Club started the new year in the best possible fashion with a 31-19 derby win away to Clydebank on Saturday.

Paul Howell, moved in to scrum-half to cover for the late unavailability of Kyle Stevenson, was the start of the show for the Greens, aided and abetted by some superb performances in a five-try haul for the Ardencaple side.

Burgh spent the first 15 minutes camped in the Bankies' 22, but were caught by a sucker-punch as one of the hosts' threequarters ran in the game's opening try.

But Craig Calderwood burst out of a rolling maul for Burgh's first score before skipper Cammy Kerr barrelled over, Ben Wain converting to give the visitors a 12-7 lead.

Howell himself sashayed through a couple of defenders for Helensburgh's third, giving the Greens a 17-7 interval lead – and the scrum-half then added his own second for the bonus-point fourth try.

A superb team score, and a real contender for try of the season, saw Ali Rogers swan-dive under the posts, opening up a 31-7 advantage for the Grizzlies.

And though Burgh took their foot off the gas a little, allowing Clydebank to narrow the gap with two close-range tries, the Greens finished strongly to ensure there was no way back for the hosts.

* This Saturday, January 12, Helensburgh play their first home match of 2019 against Wigtownshire at Ardencaple. Kick-off is at 2pm.

* More detail, and reaction, in the next print edition of the Advertiser, on sale from Thursday, January 10.