Having come down a league following last season's difficult introduction of a young side, the expectation for Howe in National 3 was going to be no less difficult with some very strong sides and a couple of local derbies.

New coach Gavin Emerson has worked hard over the pre-season to prepare the squad for the up-coming games.

In the early exchanges it was evident the larger Berwick pack would be a strong outfit, the Howe scrums coped well with the early clashes.

What let Howe down in the opening minutes and frustratingly throughout the match was accuracy in the lineout, crucial first-time tackles, lack of composure in critical areas close to the home try line and not supporting players who created space behind the defence.

Berwick scored three tries with two converted before Howe replied with a barnstorming run from Fraser Allan to score before half time with Finlay Laird converting.

Despite cutting the deficit, Howe could not manage to get a foothold on the match.

Berwick continued to dominate the breakdown and were winning consistent ball with Howe having the defend at length.

It was no surprise the home side continued to attack with their big runners, the outcome a further three tries with one conversion.

Howe came back strongly in the final quarter but could not find the space or the drive to finish off with a try.

Howe must now work on their patterns and shape for the first home match of the season against WoS.

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on fifetoday.co.uk

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