Aberdeenshire 24 Kirkcaldy 26
The Blues made the long journey to Aberdeen on Saturday to complete the round of Caledonia Region Cup fixtures.
Ironically, the 2s game had to be called off with Quintin Sanft forced to plunder their squad to fill front row and bench positions in order to avoid a repeat of the recent fixture cancellation against Aberdeen Grammar.
SRU bosses are still to decide the club’s punishment for that misdemeanour – when the game was likely to fall foul of the weather anyway.
The home side retreated to the changing rooms before kick-off, the Blues opting to stay out and continue warming up in the constant downpour.
The apparent statement of intent was short-lived as the now almost obligatory shambling start was made, the ball easily surrendered from kick-off and a score inside the first minute. The conversion failed and this was to be a telling indicator of how the match would pan out.
The Blues girded their loins and began to dominate both in terms of possession and territory and were soon level through a score from Kurt Littlejohn.
The game was tied at 5-5 and the visitors dominant, Chris Mann – usually so deadly on the run with ball in hand – saw a combination of cold and rain cause him to juggle and lose the ball when a score seemed certain and despite a strong 20 minutes of pressure, no further points were added.
The home side scored a try before half-time, the conversion again failing and continued to batter the Blues defence which held out strongly against the odds with some epic last gasp tackles.
The second half started with the Blues apparently seeking to regain the upper hand and the boot of Craig Letham gave them excellent field position. The home side, desperate to break the dominance, made a substitution and his first involvement was to blatantly foul Gavin McKenzie and see yellow.
From the resulting penalty and lineout, the scores were tied when Connor Wood was driven over to score, Letham converted.
The Blues lineout was functioning better than it had for weeks. Jack Pow supported a good backs move to add another converted try as the Blues twisted the knife and the home side’s frustrations got the better of them.
The Blues could smell blood and a wonderful move saw Pow, Kenny Natrass and Jamie Watson bear down on the home team’s last line of defence and Watson finished brilliantly, the conversion was good and the visitors well in charge.
To their credit, the home team never gave up; an interception try saw a man run 85 yards to score under the posts. Stevie Mitchell was then yellow carded for persistent infringements at the ruck when the home side were camped in the Blues five yard line.
Aberdeenshire scored and converted but as time ran out for them, the young Kirkcaldy side tackled like demons, thwarting every attack and holding up their opponents when they looked as if they would score.
As the home side ran out of ideas, Kirkcaldy drew a penalty near halfway which fell short of the posts but time had run out and when the panicked defence kicked the ball away under pressure, the game was won.
It’s back to league business next Saturday with a visit to table toppers Jed-Forest – nobody will expect anything much else than a home win so maybe the youngsters will pull off a surprise.
Star Check: 3 Liam Neilson, 2 Craig Letham, 1 Jack Pow.
Current standings: 13 McKenzie; 12 Porter, Orr; 10 Mann; 9 Turner, Wood; 6 Letham; 5 Neilson, Mitchell; 4 Bonner, K Littlejohn; 3 M.Harvey, Gillies, G.Wallace, Girdler; 2 Milne, M. Wallace; 1 Gray, van Rensberg, Pow.