2019 had its troubles for the Howe of Fife, but as the year nears its end, things are looking bright for the Duffus Park club
Having to endure a difficult Tennent’s National League Division Two last season, which culminated in relegation, the Howe were living in a “very uncomfortable place”.
A young side couldn’t be accused of lack of effort or application in the 2018/19 season, but several factors worked against them.
However, with that turbulent year and the experience of it under the players’ belts, it’s provided a solid foundation for this campaign.
Ahead of this weekend’s fixture away from home to West of Scotland, club president Chris Reekie looked at the Howe’s efforts so far, and reckons there’s plenty of cause for optimism at Duffus.
“With the half-way point of the season reached, Howe of Fife can review the past months with a sense of real satisfaction,” said Mr Reekie.
“Not only from the perspective of the first XV, but throughout the whole club.
“Last season the senior men were in a very uncomfortable place.
“A run of losses, some with very high negative points against.
“A lack of numbers available for the seconds.
“The loss of a few senior players to other clubs, culminating in relegation to National League 3.”
Previous head coach Chris Martin left for pastures new during the pre-season with the club looking near-by for his replacement.
Gavin Emerson joined from Glenrothes and Mr Reekie reckons the new man at the helm has proved the decision to bring him in was the correct one.
“This season new coach Gavin Emerson and his coaching team have created an environment where sessions not only test the players, they are varied, stimulating, aimed at getting the best out of them,” said the club president.
“And they are doing so with smiles all round.
“It’s what a community rugby club is all about.
“It has been assisted by the phoenix like rise of the second fifteen in the guise of the Howe Crusaders and a welcome return of a few senior players, providing stability, and consistency of selection.”
League efforts this campaign have been strong and after 10 games the Howe sit on 39 points, 10 behind leaders Greenock Wanderers RFC but with a couple of games in hand.
It’s all set up to be an exciting couple of weeks as 2019 ends with the club aiming to build on the momentum in the new year.
Mr Reekie added: “There is and edge to this side, the combination of youth and experience, distilling itself into a force to be reckoned with.
“With two games falling to the weather the Howe are fifth in the league with two games in hand.
“This Saturday’s encounter with West of Scotland will be one they will hope is not a banana slip up.
“Then one further game, a home match against second bottom club Caithness, before a break for Christmas and New Year.”
Kick off this weekend at West of Scotland is scheduled for 2pm.
We will have more on the Howe of Fife’s efforts to grow as a club, both on the park and off it, in next week’s Fife Herald/St Andrews Citizen and also online.