Murrayfield 10-31 Howe of Fife
Their opponents Murrayfield Wanderers provided a stern test in the home fixture, which Howe won.
The deluge of rain over the week meant a change of venue, as the council pitches at Murrayfield were deemed unplayable.
The new venue was a 4G pitch at South Queensferry Community and Sports Hub.
Prior to match starting, a minute of silence was held in respect of the loss from a tragic accident of Perthshire RFC past captain and club stalwart Adam Pattinson, aged 36.
The Howe lined up with Iain Aitken at 10, Sean Murray on the wing, Dave Thomas starting in lock position and making his 300th appearance for the club Steven Player.
Murrayfield started well so it was much against the run of play Howe scored from within their own half.
Cammy Walker accelerated behind the Murrayfield defence to score under the posts, making it an easy conversion for Aitken.
Howe’s defence continued their belligerent approach, Howley, Thomas and Lawrie very prominent in sticking to their task.
Murrayfield opted for a high kick nut Dawson caught the ball through the swirling wind, beat one player, offloading to the supporting Walker.
The full back completed another long run, sprinting to score in the corner. Aitken was unable to master the wind for the conversion.
The only other score of the half came from the boot of Murrayfield’s Calum Gauld.
Playing slightly into the wind, the Howe came out the blocks after the restart, showing greater control and dynamic forward play.
Rory Johnstone, Fraser Allan, and Jamie Thomson all charging through the opposition.
If it is one area for improvement, they need to work in units and not become isolated, giving away needless penalties.
Howe’s third try came from an accurate pop pass to Allan, taking the ball on an angle, he blasted pass two defenders to outpace another two Murrayfield players, scoring beside the posts. Aitken added the conversion.
Howe moved Thomas back to his customary position at prop, brining on David Wallace into the second row.
As much as Murrayfield worked hard with their heavy brigade and their attempts to play wide, Howe worked hard as a defensive unit. Every player making their tackles, giving their opponents an uncomfortable afternoon. Howe’s fourth try and bonus point came from a huge offensive tackle, resulting in a penalty when the player did not release.
Before Murrayfield could reorganise, the initiative of Jack Todd saw him take a quick tap penalty, before racing away to score under the posts. Aitken added another two points with his kick.
For Howe Walker left the play with an ankle injury, replaced by Callum Willison and Sam Rowlands replaced Manson at scrum half. Howe continued to have the upper hand, but Murrayfield began to come more into the game. Only for all their efforts to be undone. Creating a period of pressure on the Howe’s line and with a seemingly easy two to one overlap to score, up popped Sean Murray. Murray intercepted the pass, with the whole length of the pitch to cover. He put on the after burners and took off up the side-line, grimacing with the lung busting effort. Murray scored wide out, the wind preventing Aitken converting the score.
Murrayfield did not cave in, continuing to work hard with the ball in hand. As the clock moved closer to full time they scored through a break from Alex Godsmark (brother of Scotland 7s player Nyle), converted by Barry Turnbull.
This win for Howe was a much-needed boost as the latter stages of the league season are played out. A far more aggressive and combative performance, especially in the defence and ball carries. When Howe have the personnel available there is always a chance of a score. With a dry week forecast, the main pitch at Duffus will hopefully dry out and the chance of reversing the recent result against Strathmore on Saturday.