Kirkcaldy 25 Livingston 34
Earlier this season, the Blues started their league campaign well and went to Livingston with high hopes of a win.
They played well, enjoyed a lot of possession but found themselves undone when the experienced and well drilled Livi side took full advantage of their youthful frailty.
Alas Saturday’s fixture was to follow a similar pattern.
The Blues preparation was messed up when Ian Gillies broke down during the warm up leaving coach Quintin Sanft no option but to start at centre.
The game started as most Blues games do – they went behind to an early score when a penalty was fired over and although they were making a good fist of things, they could not turn their positive play into points.
Soon an error was to be their undoing again as an unforced error saw the ball go straight to touch and from the resulting lineout, the visitors scored to lead 8-0.
The slow start over, Kirkcaldy began to apply some pressure on the visitors. Good forward play saw Craig Letham score a penalty and as Kirkcaldy gained in confidence their dominance of possession also rose.
The visitors defended resolutely and desperately at times and they were reduced to 14 men as continuous infringements at the break down made the referee lose patience.
They coped well with the setback, took the sting out of the game with regular breaks in play and defied all Kirkcaldy efforts to break their line, and even when it looked as if the Blues would force a score, a combination of handling errors and poor decision making let them down.
Back to full strength the visitors grew in confidence – a converted interception try from midway in their own half saw them extend the lead to 15-3.
As half-time approached, Connor Littlejohn showed the defence a clean pair of heels to score in the corner. Although the conversion failed, the home siode continued to batter away at the defence with the referee yellow-carding a second visitor for spoiling tactics.
Kirkcaldy found themselves 15-8 down at half-time but with the wind at their backs and against 14 men, the Blues started the second half like a whirlwind, scoring a converted try through Rhys Bonner and a penalty by Craig Letham – for the first time, the Blues were ahead.
The visiting supporters who had been noisy before the break were silenced for a short while but on regaining their full complement, the visitors’ experience and guile saw them regain their lead with a driven-over try.
As the Blues looked for inspiration, Livingston scored again, although it appeared to most onlookers that the referee had missed a clear knock on in contact.
Some of the young Blues appear not to know when they’re beaten and Bonner added to his try tally and the conversion saw the score narrow to 25-29 but the youthful exuberance was again found wanting as the visitors scored again to lead 25-34 with a little over five minutes left to play.
No further scores were added and the visitors took the spoils.
The boys now have to dust themselves down and get ready for the final games of the season - trips to Lasswade, who will be dropping down a division next season, and the all conquering Howe, who are desperate to keep the pressure on Jed-Forest at the top of the league.
Star Check: 3 Rhys Bonner, 2 Stuart Porter, 1 Steve Milne.