HELENSBURGH captain Cammy Kerr says his young team will learn from the pain of an agonising last-minute loss to Paisley in the Greens’ first home game of the season on Saturday.

Topsy-turvy doesn’t even come close to describing a match in which the lead changed hands no fewer than six times – but just as Burgh thought they’d snatched the victory when Mark Kinsman darted over in the corner late on, Paisley went straight back up the park to score a converted try in the dying moments for a 26-22 win.

It was a match Burgh should have won, and they were kicking themselves afterwards for not closing out the game after Kinsman’s try gave them a slender one-point lead with three minutes to go.

READ MORE: Helensburgh captain positive despite defeat away to Strathaven

Kerr, who was missing from the Burgh line-up due to a heel injury, said: “We went into the game off the back of two heavy defeats but were buoyed by the fight shown last week.

“That gave us some confidence. When we play with confidence can beat any team in the league, and we saw that in some of the rugby we played.

“We should have won when Kinsman scored late on, but showed some naivety during those last frantic final minutes.

“The best way to learn is from our mistakes and we’ll learn from giving away too many penalties, and ultimately the lack of concentration in the final period.

“That hurt, that loss, and we all felt it, so we will feed off that pain and sort it out for the next match.”

Kerr wasn’t the only notable absentee from the Greens’ line-up, with David Calderwood and Dan Bowles also ruled out – and things got even worse for the hosts when they lost Ben Wain to a ruptured Achilles heel in the warm up.

It was pretty even in the opening exchanges, the blond whirlwind Sam King making one eye-catching break but failing to spot his support before being wrapped up in the tackle.

READ MORE: Helensburgh's young guns urged to make their mark

Paisley took the lead after eight minutes through a Euan Stuart penalty when Burgh were penalised for side entry – something the referee seemed keen to ping only the Grizzlies on all day.

And the visitors stretched their advantage after 20 minutes when, from a series of breenges by the Paisley pack inside the home 22, scrum-half Ben Van Eyssen took advantage of a horrendous hole in Burgh’s ruck defence to scamper over for an unconverted try.

Burgh responded well, a searing break from stand-off by Craig Bowman taken on by centres Calum O’Brien and Mark Robertson, with excellent support by Phil Ard.

Burgh won a penalty inside the Paisley 22, which they kicked to touch, and a lovely basketball-style pass from big prop Reece Girvan put lock Craig Calderwood away for a fine try. Unfortunately, Reece Court missed the conversion.

Just into the second quarter, Burgh stole ahead: O’Brien found a lovely penalty touch, Sean Alton’s deft flick off the top of the lineout went straight to flanker King, and he ram-rodded over the line for a try, converted by Court for 12-8.

The visitors forced another penalty inside the Burgh 22 following initial excellent defence by Cammy King and Ard, the successful kick by Stuart making it 12-11 after 33 minutes.

Burgh missed a final opportunity to stretch their lead in the first half, when O’Brien burst through and found Alton, who in turn fed Court – but his pass back inside was snaffled by a Paisley player, leaving Helensburgh a single point to the good at half-time.

READ MORE: Peter and June pair up to win Helensburgh mixed open golf

Paisley missed a penalty opportunity early in the second half, but a high tackle by Craig Wight soon offered an easier kick, which was duly slotted by Stuart - who, that earlier miss apart, was a model of consistency from the tee all day.

Back bounced Burgh and a number of forays into Paisley’s 22 finished with a short-penalty move being taken up by Alton, whose sheer strength saw him plunge over the line for 17-14.

But the visitors – in particular their playmaker, burly centre Cameron Cobb – were starting to dominate, and only a superb covering tackle by Kinsman prevented a try.

In the final 15 minutes the pressure told, and a series of tight pick-and-go moves from the Paisley pack saw their hooker, James Halpin, burrow under the posts for a converted try and Burgh trailed 21-17.

To make matters worse, Calderwood was harshly sin-binned for an infringement leading up to the score.

But the Grizzlies’ never-say-die attitude shone through again, and Kinsman, Bowman and Josh Green made inroads, only for Burgh to be turned over at the next breakdown.

But they pinned Paisley inside their own 22 before a stonking double-hit from Sam King and Arras Mathieson forced an error. Burgh took play right then left, with Robertson threatening on a strong run before Bowman and O’Brien combined to put Kinsman over to raucous jubilation from the crowd.

READ MORE: Hockey: Loch Lomond ladies battle to draw with Dumfries

Though O’Brien’s conversion sailed wide, the Grizzlies led 22-21 with three minutes left.

Despite having only to maintain possession to see the game out, Burgh were turned over, and Paisley worked their way up the field, a determined run setting up Cobb to score in the left corner at the death.

It was a harsh lesson for the young Greens and a heavy price to pay for letting in an easily preventable try – but the Grizzlies will take their medicine and hopefully bounce back stronger for it.

Burgh: Mathieson, Kinsman, Robertson, O’Brien, Court, Bowman, Stevenson, Ard, C.King, Jamieson, Calderwood, Rettie, Alton, Green, Sam King. Subs: Stuart King, Reece Girvan, Craig Wight.

On Saturday, Helensburgh welcome Cumnock to Ardencaple in another tough league fixture. Kick-off again at 3pm.

Read all the latest sport headlines from across Helensburgh and Lomond here