Kirkcaldy rage at referee after defeat to GHK

Rhys Bonner charges towards the GHK line for a second half Kirkcaldy try. Pic: Michael Booth
Rhys Bonner charges towards the GHK line for a second half Kirkcaldy try. Pic: Michael Booth

KIRKCALDY 22 GHK 26

Just before half time Kirkcaldy replacement prop Mark Henderson was issued with a red card in circumstances which were unclear to every one at Beveridge Park apart from referee MacKinnon.

So it was a 14 man Kirkcady team which took on dominant opponents in the second 40 minutes.

By this time GHK led 19-3 and looked well on the way to an easy win.

Depleted Kirkcaldy siezed the initiative after the break and at one time led 22-19 although they conceded a converted try with ten minutes remaining.

Incensed as they Kirkcaldy camp may have been at Henderson's dismissal this faded into near insignificance at the end of the game.

GHK's Callum Kerr had been binned in the 72nd minute levelling the numbers for the remaining time.

The GHK line was bombarded with the visitors conceding a shoal of penalties.

A Kirkcaldy winning try appeared to be inevitable.

Then with one minute and 50 seconds of regulation time plus added time for all the various stoppages, MacKinnon blew for no-side.

Although the players did not know at the time of this blunder by the official, there was fury in the home technical area.

All stop watches showed that 38 minutes and ten seconds had been played.

Ultimately there was little that could be done about it as the referee in amateur rugby is the sole judge of fact and that includes time keeping.

Former SRU secretary, the late Bill Hogg, when asked to comment about a refereeing gaffe, stated that a referee is never more correct than when he is wrong.

This is in the tradition of rugby football. In other words the referee's decision is final.

Although narrow losers to league leaders Cartha QP last week GHK arrived in Kirkcady in confident mood with six wins from eight games.

This confidence shone through their early play, dominating possession and territory.

Success came their way in the ninth minute when winger Rory Taylor crossed for the first try which remained unconverted.

A brief Kirkcaldy riposte produced a Craig Letham penalty, reducing the deficit to 3-5.

Before long the GHK attacking potential surfaced again. Back in their own 22 Kirkcaldy conceded a penalty and before any one could blink scrum half Michael Aird had tapped and was on his way to his side's second try converted by Danny Campbell.

The Blues just could not get a foothold in the game as the Glasgow side continued to make the running and it was no surprise when Campbell rounded off a spell of heavy GHK pressure with a try converted by himself.

Although short-handed after Henderson's red it was a transformed Kirkcaldy side which went into the second half.

Continuing forward pressure earned tries from Greg Wallace and Rhys Bonner, both converted by Letham, thereby reducing their deficit to 17-19 with over 20 minutes left.

Earlier GHK sparkle had gone and almost inevitably a third Kirkcaldy try arrived through the push over route with Bonner the scorer.

Unfortunately for the home side they did not exit the re-start kick well, giving back the ball.

GHK snapped up this chance with Campbell again the scorer. His conversion put GHK 26-22 ahead.

The Blues should have had enough time to recover from this set back especially when GHK's Kerr was binned.

However, MacKinnon's time keeping blunder did not give them this opportunity and they were left with one point instead of a possible five.

Kirkcaldy: K Littlejohn. A Brooks, C Littlejohn, F Smith, O Bonner, C Letham, G McKenzie, D Jennings, G Wallace, G Mangalo, James Pow, C Wood, Jack Pow, G Neilson, R Bonner. Replacements: M Henderson G Queen, S Mitchell, F Bruce.

GHK: D Campbell, M Taylor, J Kinane, C Hughes, R Taylor, M Martin, M Aird, A McCulloch, G Reid G Hollerin, J Hanks, L Brock, C Kerr, N Hurn, M Borthwick. Replacements:- A McGuire, C McPhee, R Coats, B Frame

Referee: J MacKinnon (Skye)

Fife Trophy Centre Star Check: 3 Rhys Bonner, 2 Connor Wood, 1 Greg Wallace.

Current standings: 16 Rhys Bonner; 7 James Pow, Connor Wood; 6 Liam Neilson; 4 Kurt Littlejohn, Greg Wallace; 3 Finlay Smith, Conor Littlejohn, Owen Bonner, Steve Mitchell; 2 Jack Pow; 1 Danny Jennings, Michael Harper, Craig Letham.