There were high fives all round Ardencaple on Saturday night after a five-star show from Helensburgh in a ding-dong derby battle against Clydebank.

In fact, the number five proved auspicious indeed; for on the fifth day of the New Year it was Burgh’s fifth start at scrum-half this season that proved the game-changer, as Paul Howell – moved into that position due to the late unavailability of Kyle Stevenson – ran riot, aided and abetted by some superb performances throughout a Greens’ squad that ran in a five-try haul.

And we’re not finished yet…for it was the Bankies’ fifth match at home this season and they were unbeaten, playing as they are now on a spanking new artificial pitch.

Normally a full-back, Howell played with purpose and pace and scored two scintillating tries of his own either side of the interval, the second a quite astonishing burst of speed off the back of a scrum on the Bankies’ 22, to scorch between several defenders and under the posts.

And Helensburgh's display unsurprisingly earned high praise from captain Cammy Kerr, who was delighted to see his troops bounce back after a 32-27 loss when the sides last met at Ardencaple in October.

“Clydebank were unbeaten at home all season, but the boys were determined to right a wrong from earlier in the home fixture," Kerr said.

"We took it too Clydebank literally from the kick off. I thought the forwards retained the ball brilliantly and broke the gain line constantly and we also caused them massive problems at their breakdowns, giving the backs a perfect platform to show what they can produce.

“We used the full bench and everyone that came on did a fantastic job too in a tremendous all-round team effort and it’s not often you come off the park thinking everyone from 1 to 22 had a good game. It’s the type of performance where you can’t single anyone out, but you want to single everyone out.

“Every game from here on in is massive with the league restructuring affecting teams in the bottom half of the table, so we need that attitude every week and if we show it then I think we can beat anyone on our day.”

The surface suited Helensburgh...simple as that. With a fit, speedy young team, sure footing on a flat, springy paddock aided their game plan, which seemed to be a series of forwards’ pick-and-drives before throwing it wide once the hard yards were bagged.

Burgh spent the first 15 minutes camped in the Bankies’ 22 but were then sucker-punched, a fine sweeping run by a home three-quarter ending with a 60 metre score, through some pretty ineffectual tackling. The conversion made it 7-0.

The visitors refused to buckle and after 25 minutes, Craig Calderwood burst out of a rolling maul to ground the ball out wide, and Burgh were back in business, 7-5. Shortly after, a series of driving rucks took Burgh into the Bankies’ 22, and skipper Cammy Kerr barrelled over, Ben Wain converting for 7-12.

On 33 minutes, Howell sashayed through a couple of defenders for his first try, which Wain failed to convert but Burgh were good for their 7-17 interval lead, having controlled the first 40 in style.

The one-way traffic continued with Wain narrowly missing a kickable penalty then Burgh butchering two clear try-scoring opportunities in failing to deliver the final pass when it counted. Undeterred, however, the visitors kept plugging away and were rewarded with Howell’s second, and the bonus-point fourth try. Wain’s conversion made it 7-24.

Midway through the second half, winger Reece Court almost capitalised on his own kick ahead after a fine, flowing move but he was involved minutes later in a contender for try of the season: Corrie Fletcher, Sam King and Wain scythed through static home tacklers before Court got the ball and made 40 metres. Though stopped short, he beautifully played in the supporting Ali Rogers, who swan-dived under the posts. Wain converted and it was 7-31.

The Greens took their foot off the gas a little and Clydebank took full advantage, narrowing the score to 19-31 with two close-range tries. But still Burgh came back, Wain missing a further two penalty attempts, and a knock-on depriving Burgh of what would have been a deserved sixth try. But this wasn’t a day for sixes… Burgh had five points in the bag!

Every Burgh player deserves credit for a superb performance, but locks Sean Alton and Calderwood put in fine shifts while flankers King and Connor Simmons played out of their skins. Howell, Rogers and Wain excelled among a back division that looks eager now to score points at every opportunity.

Helensburgh: Wain, Bowman, Welch, Rogers, Linzee-Gordon, Court, Howell, Reece, Ashdown, Ard, Calderwood, Alton, Simmons, Kerr, King. Subs: Flanagan, MacDonald, Fletcher, Rettie, Higgins, Kinsman.

This Saturday, Helensburgh entertain Wigtownshire at Ardencaple, kick-off 2pm.