An action-packed afternoon of end-to-end rugby saw Helensburgh claim their second five-point haul of the new year on Saturday, this time thanks to a 44-21 win at home to a sturdy Wigtownshire side.

The victory brings Burgh closer to the middle of the pack in league terms as the Ardencaple men chase their ambition this season of avoiding the bottom four placings and likely relegation amid yet another planned league re-organisation.

In a rip-roaring start, last week’s star man Paul Howell, cemented now in the scrum-half position, opened the scoring after just five minutes, with a trademark scamper over from quick 10m lineout ball provided by Oli McKee. Reece Court converted for 7-0.

The visitors muscled their way back into the match and controlled the next 15 minutes, working hard for a converted try to level the scores.

Debutant Nick Fish combined well with Mike Linzee-Gordon and Court, carving an opening from which Wigtownshire were penalised, but Court failed with his penalty attempt.

However, on the half hour he made amends, slotting over after a rambunctious breenge by Cammy Kerr scattered the defence and earned a penalty.

Five minutes later, Linzee-Gordon, Fish and Phil Ard carried well, before simple hands found Sean Alton in space wide left and he careened over for an unconverted score.

Burgh piled on the pressure, and Fish and full-back Alex Macauley nearly contrived a try after chasing a kick. From the resultant scrum, however, hooker Mark Ashdown struck against the head and Burgh capitalised perfectly on the turnover, Howell then Alton carrying close to the line from where Macauley jinked over. Court’s conversion made it 20-7 at half-time.

Burgh took first blood again on the re-start, McKee driving close to the line allowing Alton a simple pick and drive for his second try, which Court converted, and at 27-7 the Greens looked home and hosed for another try bonus point win.

But then came Burgh’s customary second-half lapse, and two identikit tries, fashioned nicely by the Wigtownshire pack inside 10 poor minutes for the home team, had the Stranraer side back in the game just six points adrift at 27-21.

Then a turning point in Burgh’s favour just short of 70 minutes: a mild stramash over nothing among the forwards resulted in a Wigtownshire prop being sin-binned for 10 minutes and Burgh took full advantage.

First, a nicely delayed pass from Linzee-Gordon put Alton over for his hat-trick, which Court converted, and Burgh stretched their lead further when player-coach Davie Calderwood broke clear on half-way, galloped into the visitors’ 22 and fed Ben Wain.

Though tackled, Wain popped the ball up to Howell, who went over unopposed. Court missed the conversion but Burgh now led 39-21.

In the closing minutes, a lung-searing 50-metre break from that man Alton allowed quick ruck ball, and Fish put Craig Calderwood through a gap for the icing on the cake at 44-21.

Burgh: Macauley, Bowman, Fish, Fletcher, Linzee-Gordon, Court, Howell, Feltham, Ashdown, Ard, D.Calderwood, McKee, C.Calderwood, Kerr, Alton. Subs: Flanagan, Ramsey, Raeside, Jamieson, Kinsman, Wain.

This Saturday, Burgh travel to Paisley hoping to do the double against the Buddies, having won convincingly in the earlier fixture. The match kicks off at 2pm.