HELENSBURGH coach David Calderwood says he was delighted at the attitude shown by his players in their latest league fixture – despite the agony of having victory snatched from their grasp with the final move of the match.

A last-gasp try gave Wigtownshire an 11-8 win at Ardencaple – but for such a low-scoring match there was incident aplenty, giving the large home crowd plenty to talk about for a long time to come.

Calderwood said afterwards: “I had a long session with the boys in the warm-up, asking them for a little more attitude.

“Too many heads went down too quickly last week against Clydebank [when Burgh lost 68-5], and I wanted to rag them a wee bit about their pride, their fight.

“All of that stems from the right attitude going into a game.

“I was delighted with the response I got from the boys, who all dug deep to push a big team all the way.

READ MORE: Pictures from Helensburgh RFC's defeat away to Clydebank

“The infuriating thing about these lads is that, when they click, they are a good side with bags of potential and with some really exciting prospects.

“But it’s too inconsistent. Hopefully, by continuing to work hard at training, the consistency will come – and then, so will the results.”

An early penalty miss from the Shire was a let-off for the Burgh, who lost both Alex McAuley and Calum O’Brien to early injuries, but the visitors were building up a head of steam, and only fine defence by Jack Dunn prevented a try into the second quarter.

Shire then lost two huge forwards to injury – in fact the first half lasted 55 minutes, with stoppage time, and often resembled the set of the film 1917, with bodies lying everywhere.

On 30 minutes, Sam King was harshly pinged for persistent infringements and walked for 10 minutes and Shire benefitted, slotting a penalty for the opening points of the game.

Burgh had a couple of opportunities to get good field positions in their bid to get on the board, but twice kicked the penalties dead instead.

READ MORE: Helensburgh second-row legends hang up their boots due to injury

However, they took the lead with the last action of the half, after breenges from Craig Calderwood and Cammy Kerr were held up on the line; the ball came open, Joe Bull had a pop and did well not to be held up, and finally it went wide for a gleeful run-in from Sam King.

Paul Howell missed the conversion but Burgh’s noses were in front 5-3 at the break.

The second half was evenly matched, with both sides playing enterprising – if rather error-strewn – rugby.

Mark Robertson had a couple of fine, scything runs for the home side, while Mark Ashdown, Kerr, Sam King and Brian Jamieson were also making hard yards.

But it was the Burgh defence that caught the eye, with some outstanding hits in the trenches from a fired-up forward pack, and lovely timing in the tackle from Dunn, Kyle Stevenson and Josh Watkins, as Shire pinned the home side in their own half for a spell.

Calderwood was then yellow-carded for deliberate knock-on and Shire took full advantage, kicking the penalty for a one-point lead with 15 minutes to go.

READ MORE: It's a 'bad dog' day for Helensburgh as Uddingston win at Ardencaple

But sterling work in the pack earned Paul Howell a shot at goal, and he calmly steered his kick through the posts for 8-6 and the promise of a ding-dong last 10 minutes.

Dunn, then Bull, then Sam King created openings but Burgh just failed to execute properly, and Shire survived.

With seconds left, Burgh earned a penalty, but an old failing, finding touch, came back to haunt Helensburgh as Wigtownshire raced back up the park; a midfield break was heroically stopped by Sam King under Burgh’s posts, but the ball was spun left, and Shire’s winger crashed over despairing tackles for the game-winning try.

It was a cruel ending, and a harsh lesson for the Greens’ young guns – but in comparison to the reverse fixture down in Stranraer, when only 12 Helensburgh players made the trip and suffered a club record defeat, this may well prove the moment that this squad takes shape.

Burgh squad (1 to 21): Brian Jamieson, Mark Ashdown, Phil Ard, Colin Rettie, Chris Allwood, Craig Calderwood, Sam King, Cammy Kerr, Paul Howell, Craig Bowman, Josh Watkins, Calum O’Brien, Mark Robertson, Jack Dunn, Alex McAuley, Cammy King, Chris Clements, Euan Ramsay, Thomas Berry, Joe Bull, Kyle Stevenson.

This Saturday, February 1, Burgh travel to high-flying Cumnock, who earlier this season beat the Ardencaple boys 42-34 in a high-scoring encounter. Kick-off is at 2pm.

READ MORE: Check out all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond sporting headlines here