HELENSBURGH Rugby Club’s young guns took a great leap forward, even in defeat, on a diabolical day for rugby in Paisley last Saturday.

With wintry conditions ruining the match as a spectacle, Burgh’s leaplings ran their fourth-placed hosts very close indeed and even led for a spell in the second half. As the weather further deteriorated, it was more hypothermia than anything else that concerned coach David Calderwood.

He said: “Into the last 20 minutes and the driving sleet made all the difference.

“We had a far younger pack which, though more mobile, was more susceptible to the conditions with the wind chill in particular leaving some of my lads, those with less padding shall we say, prone to feeling it.”

Calderwood, however, took great heart from the performance of his young side, a side where again the average age was just breaking into the 20s.

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“I can’t fault the attitude and effort the boys put in,” he continued.

“They took the game to Paisley for the first hour and were by far the better team, playing all the rugby – wanting to play all the rugby despite the terrible conditions.

“I feel, on a dry park, we would have won that match.”

Burgh went in at half-time level at 8-8 thanks to a Paul Howell penalty and a try from stand-in skipper Craig Calderwood, who went on to have his usual big game, this time at No.8.

A Mark Robertson try and Howell conversion saw Burgh lead in the second period 15-8, but that was as good as it got for Burgh’s bravehearts, with the Buddies kicking three penalties and adding a late try to take it 24-15.

Despite the loss, and some bafflement at the high penalty count against the Ardencaple side, their coach believes a renewed attitude since the turn of the year augers well for Helensburgh.

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“The boys know they’re heading in the right direction,” Calderwood continued.

“If they keep up attendance at training, with the nights getting lighter, and bring the same attitude as against Paisley and so far this year, they will eventually get the rewards their performances deserve.

“That might be too late to save this campaign, but it will bring us a lot more joy for next season.”

Burgh: Jamieson, C. King, Girvan, Allwood, Rettie, Hepworth, Campbell, Calderwood, Stevenson, Bowman, Howell, Fletcher, Robertson, S. King, Fish. Sub: St. King.

Helensburgh had no match on Saturday, March 7, but the Greens return to action away to Argyll rivals Oban Lorne on March 14.

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