Kirkcaldy hold nerve to earn Christmas bonus

Kirkcaldy celebrate the full-time whistle against Ardrossan on Saturday. (Photo by Michael Booth)
Kirkcaldy celebrate the full-time whistle against Ardrossan on Saturday. (Photo by Michael Booth)

KIRKCALDY 29 ARDROSSAN ACADEMICALS 25

Deep into stoppage time at Beveridge Park last Saturday with the Blues holding onto a vulnerable four point lead the Ayrshire side mounted a last gasp effort to snatch an unlikely win.

Centre Jack Anderson was within a few metres of the line and with men to spare on the left then a thunderous tackle came from home winger Finlay Bruce flattenening him and tied up the ball.

This allowed the Blues to ride out time in calm waters and register a bonus point win.

Fortunes constantly switched during this compelling game and Kirkcaldy had thrice to come from behind to take this bonus point win so securing their seventh place in the league table at the mid winter break.

At the heart of this Kirkcaldy victory was an all powerful back row with flanker Dayle Turner again scoring three tries and blind sider Rhys Bonner constantly hitting up through the middle in another impressive display.

Against the early run of play the visitors took a surprise 3-0 lead through an Anderson penalty. The Blues quickly regained control and following a well rehearsed penalty move Turner crashed through for an unconverted try and a 5-3 home lead.

This lead increased in the 21st minute after a trade mark burst upfield by Bonner to set up the pack for a try from prop Danny Jennings.

Three minutes later a lack of Kirkcaldy concentration spilled a ball in their own half and the visitors took immediate advantage with the speedy Grant Lewis outpacing the retreating Kirkcaldy defenders.

Anderson’s conversion tied the score at 10-10.

Although the same player briefly regained the Ardrossan lead the remainder of the second quarter belonged to Kirkcaldy.

A decisive break from centre Sasa Tofilau opened up the Ardrossan defence and with support from Turner, Quintan Sanft was in position to score his side’s third try, again unconverted.

The Blues remained in the driving seat until half time and two minutes into added time Turner went over from a five metre score.

This time Finlay Smith added the extra points for a half time lead of 22-13 and a bonus point in the bag.

Everything continued to go Kirkcaldy’s way in the third quarter. Then came a bad line-out loss and from smartly taken ball Ardrossan swiftly moved the ball to the left and Lewis had acres of space in hand in scoring allowing Anderson to convert from close range.

The Kirkcaldy lead had now been reduced to two points and they were further shocked when centre Andy Duncan showed real pace in scoring his side’s third try converted by Anderson.

Now behind Kirkcaldy regained their composure, playing intelligently and respecting the ball. They had a chance to equalise but Smith fluffed a close range penalty.

Then with five minutes of regular time left amidst growing excitement Sanft’s side produced the clinching score and again it was Turner who was at the end of a short penalty move.

Smith’s conversion meant that Ardrossan needed a try to go ahead again.

They fought for every ball, eventually setting up their final attacks. This brought forth the best of Kirkcaldy defending to keep full points at Beveridge Park.

The Blues are certainly not clear of any relegation threat but they are far better off with these five points than they would have been without them.

Kirkcaldy: K Littlejohn, F Bruce, S Tofilau, J Moffat, F Smith, Q Sanft, G McKenzie, D Jennings, Jack Pow, G Mangalo, S Mitchell, James Pow, R Bonner, D Turner, L Neilson. Replacements: M Salt, G Wallace, M Henderson R Brown.

Ardrossan Acads: S Lewis, M Pursley, A Duncan, J Anderson, G Lewis, A Wilson, I Gagledenis, B Hamilton, I Tosic, I Frazer, G Telfer, M MacFarlane, E Thomson, M Marinkovic, S Lamont. Replacements: N Dagar, J Thomson, S Campbell, C Wilson

Referee: Ms Alex Pratt (Watsonians)

Star Check: 3 Dayle Turner, 2 Rhys Bonner, 1 Finlay Bruce

Current standings: 23 Turner; 17 R Bonner; 11 Mitchell; 7 James Pow; 6 Bruce; 5 McKenzie; 3 Wood, O Bonner, Littlejohn; 2 Brown, Wallace, Neilson; 1 Moffat, Jack Pow, Salt, Smith, Harper, Jennings.