Kirkcaldy hold heads high after exiting cup to holders

Action from Kirkcaldy's defeat to Heriots at a muddy Beveridge Park on Saturday. Pic: Michael Booth
Action from Kirkcaldy's defeat to Heriots at a muddy Beveridge Park on Saturday. Pic: Michael Booth

KIRKCALDY 14 HERIOTS 36

Battling all the way the way and contesting every ball against holders Heriots in this third round tie of the BT Cup at a dismal Beveridge Park last Saturday the Blues exited the national competition with their heads held high.

Although there was no denying that Heriots thoroughly deserved their six try to two win before the biggest crowd at the ground in almost 20 years, Quintan Sanft's side will take immense credit from their exploits against one of the top sides in the country and winners of their previous four Premiership games.

Lining up on a heavy pitch for kick-off with rain falling steadily Kirkcaldy were without front row duo Greg Wallace and George Mangalo and faced a side which dominated territory and possession in the early stages.

There was no surprise in the fifth minute as the Edinburgh team handled crisply, first creating a frustrated overlap on the right before switching to the left for flanker Michael Maltman to touch down.

While mainly pinned down in their own half Kirkcaldy tackled and covered assiduously forcing Heriots to wait a further eleven minutes before full back Charlie Simpson latched on to a diagonal kick to score and John Semple converting.

Before Kirkcaldy opened their account Heriots had recorded a third try. Their pack put on the pressure at a five metre scrummage to give scrum half Tom Wilson space to nip in. Semple's conversion extended the Heriots's led to 19-0.

Both sides appeared intent on handling the ball but on the greasy surface mistakes were inevitable. A Heriots passage of play broke down in mid field and the Blues took immediate advantage with a hefty down field kick

Left winger Owen Bonner outran retreating defenders to win a heroic chase. Craig Letham kicked the extra points Just before the break the fourth Heriot try duly arrived through hooker Ali Johnston. The Semple conversion took the score to 26-7 at half time.

Kirkcaldy reappeared after the break clad in red and showed such determination that Heriots had to wait a further 24 minutes before adding to their tally, By that time the Blues had a second try to their credit through lock Connor Wood who piled over to the right of the posts.

In this third quarter Kirkcaldy were at their best against such quality opposition matching them in most forward exchanges. As well as Wood, Michael Harper and James Pow in the pack stood out as the home side gave the crowd some thing to shout about as the pondered a possible Kirkcaldy come back.

Kirkcaldy hopes finally died by a quick Heriots one-two in the space of 90 seconds.

Three penalties to touch had been repelled before Heriots forced their way over with prop Struan Cessford getting the score. Then very quickly afterwards replacement Martin Scade got himself on the score sheet with another converted try.

Much of the remaining time belonged to Kirkcaldy, forcing themselves regularly into the Heriots 22. Twice they were denied in the corner and the game ended with the Blues vainly searching for a third try.

Kirkcaldy: F Smith, F Bruce, K Littlejohn, M Wallace, O Bonner, C Letham, G McKenzie, D Jennings, Jack Pow, M Henderson, C Wood, M Harper, R Bonner, R Brown, James Pow.

Replacements: S McLean, G Queen, S Mitchell, J Moffat, Q Sanft.

Heriots: C Simpson, G Parker, R Mulveena, J Semple, R Kay, R Carmichael, T Wilson, A Johnston, S Cessford, ;R Nimmo, C Smith, M Maltman, M Hughes, S Dewar.

Replacements: S Mustard, G Blair, C Marshall, A Hagart, M Scade.

Referee: J Shaw (WSRRS)