Going into the final match of a campaign which promised much but didn’t quite manage to deliver, Howe of Fife knew that a win against GHA at Braidholm would take them to seventh spot in the BT National 1 table.
It was not to be as the home side ran in three tries from Charlie Lonergan, Alan Auld and Murray Houston before Ben Addison took a hand and the former Stirling County favourite grabbed a hat-trick with three tries on the bounce.
Peter Jericevich converted five out of six of GHA’s tries but Howe did enough to came away with two bonus points from tries by Fraser Clark, who notched two, Cameron Ellison, Ben Mitchell and Conor Crawford with Ellison slotting three conversions and a penalty for a final scoreline of 40-34 in GHA’s favour.
The National League Division 1 aspirations of Dundee High left them a hugely frustrating one point short of Marr, who in turn lost in their attempt to break into the Premiership when they went down 22-10 to Gala in the BT Premiership/National 1 play-off.
Howe will be left to reflect on the fact that, although they finished 10th in the table, only two points separated them from seventh spot and they survived a difficult season to fight another day
Kirkcaldy finished sixth in BT National Division 2 while Perthshire ended up fifth in BT National 3, denied fourth spot by a surprise final-day win by Haddington over league winners GHK.
There were celebrations at the Braidhaugh on Saturday when Crieff and Strathearn returned from the winner-takes-all showdown away to Falkirk seconds with the BT Division Three (Midlands) title in the bag.
The visitors made the trip knowing that a win was essential to wrest the title from a host side that had been the long- time pacesetters and who started the day as favourites.
However, skipper Stuart Guntley and his men spoiled the party in some style, emerging as 43-31 victors to snatch the silverware by a single point.
Meanwhile, although third-placed Dundee University Medics still have two games to play, the students cannot catch Falkirk who will accompany Crieff into the higher division next season.
A 57-20 win for Arbroath at home to Waid Academy, combined with a 36-15 defeat for Perthshire seconds away to the Glenrothes Development XV, means Arbroath take fourth spot in the table.
Fife Southern took the honours in the day’s other game, returning from the trip to face Glenrothes Stags seconds with a 20-17 success under their belts.
Carnoustie were unfortunate bystanders as Highland clinched the BT Caledonia Division One title with a 91-5 win over the Links Parade men.
Glenrothes, in their penultimate match of the campaign, went down 52-48 away to Mackie Academy, who nevertheless are relegated.
The Fifers raced from the blocks and established a 24-20 lead at half-time.
Michael Delorey and Shaun Gray completed their hat-tricks with scores in the second period, and Ross Hutchison also crossed the whitewash.
Glenrothes complete their league programme on Saturday when they host Strathmore, who chalked up a 54-9 win at home to RAF Lossiemouth.
With Alloa having secured the title the previous week, third-placed Howe of Fife seconds travelled to meet Grangemouth Stags in the final match of the Division Two season. The hosts rounded off a mixed campaign with 11 tries to post a resounding 75-7 success.
Stuart Allan dotted down three times and there were doubles for Gavin Scott and Adam Hind.