By a strange quirk of fate, Helensburgh were on the wrong side of a 28-0 defeat for the second week in a row, writes Calum McNicol.

But where last week’s no-show against Cumnock meant a bonus-point win by that score for the hosts without kicking a ball, this week league leaders Strathaven were made to work very hard indeed for their victory.

Yet it wouldn’t be Burgh if further calamity hadn’t played such a part in their downfall.

And it is so, so Burgh for that same woe to galvanise a fantastic defensive effort to restrict the powerful-running visitors to 28 points, having shipped 48 in the season opener.

READ MORE: The only way is up for Helensburgh RFC as Cumnock tie is forfeited

Read the team sheet below carefully, because it only tells half the story in terms of who started the match for the Greens.

With 30 minutes played, Burgh had lost Alex Macauley, Ali Rogers, Cammy King and Sean Alton to injury, with Craig Calderwood and Reece Court second half victims.

In Court's case, victim is the appropriate word, a late hit to the head ending his involvement.

The players know this, and won’t like being reminded that – while injuries can happen for a variety of reasons – by going to training and conditioning the body to take the blows, to hit the ground awkwardly, to absorb physical contact, all goes some way towards being properly match-fit.

READ MORE: Dalziel dash Burgh's bid to banish the blues with 46-24 win

As ever, poor numbers at training is the self-inflicted architect behind so much of the Burgh’s shaky foundations come game day, and there’s only one group of builders that can shore things up: the players!

With only minutes left of the first half, and with the game scoreless, Burgh’s determination to hold the Lanarkshire men out was finally undermined by just one missed tackle too many.

That Strathaven only led 7-0 at the interval had their coach nearly bursting blood vessels on the sidelines.

On the resumption, and from 1 to 15, Burgh battled bravely, repelling frequent forays into their 22 and trying hard to work their way back up the pitch, with some short pick-and-drives gaining rewards round the fringes.

READ MORE: Captain Kerr makes case for the defence as Helensburgh beat Clydebank

But possession is nine-tenths of all laws, it seems, and rugby is no exception; with so much ball, and with a tiring home side disrupted by so many substitutions, it was only a matter of time before Strathaven ran in three tries in a punishing mid-half period, leaving Burgh’s pride as the only stalwart upon which Strathaven ambitions floundered.

Burgh: Macauley, Dunn, Rogers, Alton, Kenny, Bowman, Howell, Ard, Ashdown, Clements, Hepworth, Calderwood, Cammy King, Kerr, Sam King. Subs: Rettie, Bellis, Nelson, Harvey, Court.

This Saturday, November 30, Helensburgh’s bid for league survival sees them travel to face Paisley with a 2pm kick-off.

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