Howe of Fife 26

Peebles 20

Allan Beveridge at Duffus Park

A LOSING bonus point was all Peebles earned despite once again playing well enough to deserve much more.

Forced positional changes due to unavailability didn't help the Peebles cause on a sunny afternoon in Fife.

But the makeshift team still showed plenty to keep the travelling faithful encouraged throughout the 80 minutes.

There were a few surprised looks from the Peebles followers when the home team took to the field - three of their pack were head and shoulders taller than their Peebles' opposite numbers.

They were not just taller but the entire Howe pack looked much heavier.

However, it was the home team's backs who did the early damage with full back Shaun Gray taking advantage of some slack tackling to side step up the left wing and cut inside to score.

Gray's own conversion made it 7-0 after just seven minutes.

The Fifers could have gone further ahead just five minutes later but good tackling from Callum Anderson - one of four Anderson brothers in the Peebles ranks - averted the danger.

Peebles thought they were about to score a few minutes later as Greg Raeburn intercepted on his own 22 and looked as though he was about to run the length of the pitch when the referee pulled it back for an infringement.

Howe were awarded a penalty and the kick to the corner led to a well-practised move for Chris Mann to run in unopposed for the second try.

Gray made it 14-0 with the boot.

Peebles were far from out of it with the backs running the ball well.

Scott Stoddart made a good break from outside centre before being stopped inside the home 22.

Another good passing move, through the hands of Andy Muir, Roddy Guiney, Raeburn and Calum Anderson took play to the Howe line before the ball was scrambled clear.

From the resultant line out Guiney took a good catch and the drive forward was finished with Muir crashing over the line. Raeburn converted for a score of 14-7.

But another good break by Howe fullback Gray sent Duncan McIntyre in for a try in the far corner.

Peebles tried to respond before the break but David Anderson was stopped just five metres short of the line.

And a scrum saw Peebles forwards overrun their opponents, so much so that injuries to the home from row resulted in uncontested scrums after the interval.

In the first minute of the second half Raeburn reduced the margin with a penalty.

But the revival didn't last long as the home full back yet again outpaced the Peebles defence to score behind the posts. Gray again added his own conversion for a 26-10 scoreline.

A quick tap from Donald Anderson saw him race through the defence only for the referee to bring back play.

But a kick to the corner did result in the ball being spun along the line for Callum Anderson to chip to the wing for his brother David to collect and touch down.

Raeburn's conversion from the touchline made it 26-17.

And he added a further penalty with 10 minutes remaining to reduce the gap to six points.

James King twice went close to scoring in the closing stages but Howe held on for the victory.

This weekend Peebles are at home against West of Scotland.