1st XV v Howe of Fife 9/04/2019

Saints final Tennents National League Division 2 match of the season versus Howe of Fife took place on Tues 9th. April in the unlikely location of Braidholm, Giffnock, home of GHA RFC.
 Both clubs agreed to the neutral venue in order to finish their season earlier than the scheduled date of 20th. April.
 The new 3G artificial at Braidholm made for a fast, open match with mistakes and turnovers aplenty combined with some fluid attractive play.
 Saints, playing with a stiff breeze, opened well, and were 14pts to the good inside 10mins with tries from Craig Goldie and Tom Martin, both benefitting from strong lineout drives. Goldie scored his second try on 23mins barrelling over from short range. Again the try was converted by Alan Birdsall leaving Saints 21nil ahead.
As half-time approached the lead was increased to 26pts when Jack Currie scored wide on the left courtesy of good lead up play from ex-Howe player Rob Douglas.
 This try left Saints in a seemingly comfortable position, and the travelling support, of 19 spectators, expecting more of the same in the second half.
 Howe, whose relegation had been confirmed on Sat, had other ideas however, with their right winger scoring twice in the corner to reduce the arrears with 52mins played. Saints then scored the try of the match when a back play was executed perfectly to see Douglas slice thro’ the Howe defence. Howe then capitalised on two Saints errors to score ties reducing their arrears to 33 : 24.
Martin then scored his second try for Saints following crisp handling from forwards and backs. Howe refused to concede defeat and their outside centre, who was the pick of the Howe backline, profited from turnover ball to score under the posts.
He then promptly repeated the feat to leave the score at 38:31with 7 mins remaining. Replacement Saints centre Michael Yates then settled Saints nerves by bumping and burling from 20m to score between the sticks. Howe played to the end, and their hard working scrum half was rewarded with a try on the last play to bring an end to an entertaining encounter for the spectators, if not the defence coaches!
 Saints can reflect on another successful season. They are guaranteed a 4th place finish and may yet be placed 3rd, behind champions Biggar and runners-up Highland, depending on the result of Stew/Mell v Highland on 27/4.