Blues to face Livingston

Jed captain Michael Weekly (left) and Kirkcaldy's Dayle Turner are both sent-off. Pic: Michael Booth
Jed captain Michael Weekly (left) and Kirkcaldy's Dayle Turner are both sent-off. Pic: Michael Booth

This Saturday Kirkcaldy travel across the Forth to face Livingston who currently sit one place below the Blues in the Championship B table.

The West Lothian side returned to this tier last spring after three years of regional rugby as East League champions.

They had a difficult return suffering two 60-odd point defeats by highly-rated Howe of Fife and Musselburgh but have turned the corner in recent weeks with wins against Murrayfield Wanderers and Hawick YM.

Although they took nothing from their home game against leaders Jed-Forest, Kirkcaldy must have been encouraged that they fully stretched the Border side who were glad to hear the final whistle.

In five of their games to date the Blues have finished strongly and will not be short of fitness as they look for another bonus point win.

Quintan Sanft’s side will be short of flanker Dayle Turner following his red card and he will stay on the sidelines until his case has been disposed of by the SRU.

Jed came to Kirkcaldy as unbeaten league leaders last Saturday and obviously provided the home side with their toughest test of the season.

Not much separated the teams at the end but the visitors gave the Blues a lesson in taking try scoring chances, dotting down three times with probably only four or five chances.

Although Kirkcaldy had the bulk of the possession and led for the first half hour through two Jamie Moffat penalties the Borderers edged in front with a forward inspired try from prop Connor Hogg, converted by Chris Laidlaw which gave them a 7-6 half-time lead.

With former captain Willie Gray returning to the ranks and youngster Rhys Bonner making his debut on the right wing, the Blues competed well in the set pieces and had enough of the ball to test the visitors’ defence.

A strong break in the centre by Iain Gillies almost succeeded but had done enough to win the first penalty kicked by Moffat in the sixth minute. Ten minutes later Moffat repeated this for a confident looking home team.

Hogg’s try was against the run of play and the Kirkcaldy forwards, with Stuart Porter and Shaun Orr in rumbustious form, continued to take the play to their opponents. Just after the re-start Moffat missed a penalty but a blazing run by Chris Mann almost produced a try.

Out of this Kirkcaldy pressure, defensive dithering gave Jed-Forest the slimmest of chances which allowed replacement back Declan Wallace to take a return pass and dash down the wing for his side’s second try, again converted by Laidlaw.

What had been a keenly contested game blew up on the hour mark with Jed captain Michael Weekly and Kirkcaldy’s Dayle Turner, amidst accusations of stamping and retaliation both red carded. Interestingly, the game re-started with a penalty to Kirkcaldy.

Five minutes later the Kirkcaldy numbers were reduced to 13 with replacement Roddy Low yellow carded for a technical offence.

This led to some defensive disorganisation and Jed made the most of the extra man and Laidlaw exploited the gap for a fine solo effort which he converted himself.

With less than ten minutes left this score effectively ended the contest, however the Blues refused to lie down and in a storming finish their aggression paid off with a try for the hard working prop Ross Girdler converted by Moffat from the touchline.

This pressure was maintained but time ran out as they fought to take a single point from the game.

Kirkcaldy: K Littlejohn, R Bonner, I Gillies, M Wallace, C Mann, J Moffat, G McKenzie, R Girdler, G Wallace, W Gray, S Porter, C Wood, S Orr, D Turner, L Neilson. Replacements: G Queen, M Graham, C Harvey, R Low.

Jed-Forest: L Lawrence, M Chisholm, I Chisholm, C Laidlaw, M Burke, R Miller, S Goodfellow, C Hogg, S Raeburn, G Slorance, J Szudro, K Coulter, G Law, D Grieve, M Weekley. Replacements: A Frame, R Lovett, G Robson, D Wallace.

Referee: M Hose (CRRS)

Star Check: 3 Stuart Porter, 2 Shaun Orr, 1 Willie Gray.

Current standings: 6 Porter; 4 Mann; 3 M Harvey, Gillies, McKenzie, G Wallace, K Littlejohn, Orr; 2 M Wallace, Turner, Wood; 1 Girdler, Gray.