Defeat leaves Kirkcaldy in relegation battle

Kirkcaldy RFC lost to Hamilton on Saturday (Photo by Michael Booth)
Kirkcaldy RFC lost to Hamilton on Saturday (Photo by Michael Booth)

A comfortable bonus point win at Laigh Bent by 35-17 for Hamilton dropped Kirkcaldy deep into relegation trouble and at the same time saw their hosts on Saturday overtake them.

Although they narrowed an early 10-0 deficit with a converted try of their own Kirkcaldy rarely, if at all, looked capable of taking and retaining the lead.

This was a vapid Kirkcaldy side devoid of character and apparently of ability. They are capable of far better than this.

Hamilton were no more than average but what they did was done at pace and had an accuracy they Kirkcaldy could not match.

The Kirkcaldy players could not have been more aware of the importance of this game to league survival yet contrived to drop the kick-off ball to allow the Lanarkshire side to gain a foothold deep in the Blues territory.

This was just one of the catalogue of errors which punctuated a miserable showing.

The Hamilton team had a mental toughness sadly missing in much of the Kirkcaldy line-up and this allowed them to have much the better of the break downs to give some quality possession.

When Kirkcaldy did have the ball, frequently it was kicked away aimlessly or passed away without thought.

From the initial Kirkcaldy blunder the home side regained possession, eventually forcing the Blues to concede a penalty kicked by Owen McLeish before three minutes had been played.

The visitors replied with some vigour but lacked patience in the home 22 and surrendered the ball too easily.

This sparked a strong counter-attack rounded off by flanker Gregor Brodie. This try was converted by McLeish to open up a 10-0 lead.

Far from this being an insurmountable lead Kirkcaldy came back again in the 21st minute and a Josh Laird try under the posts converted by Finlay Smith narrowed the deficit to a manageable 10-7.

Shortly after winger Finlay Bruce had to be assisted off with a bad looking knee injury.

Kirkcaldy lost their way in the second quarter with the scrummage creaking and their work rate at the breakdowns not up to standard.

It was hardy surprising that by the interval they had conceded another score although there was a touch of controversy to it.

Hamilton had broken down their right wing and winger Ben Plant seemed to be forced into touch close to the line and the assistant referee’s flag was raised only to be taken down before the referee awarded the try to Plant.

McLeish added the extra points and the 17-7 scoreline remained until half time.

The Kirkcaldy error rate continued to grow in the second half and were punished with McLeish penalties.

The Blues woes increased with a yellow card issued to Michael Harper who had been their most effective player up to that point.

While short-handed Kirkcaldy conceded another score when they failed to defend a rolling maul from which home hooker Ross McQueen touched down.

Again McLeish was accurate from the tee.

With ten minutes left the Blues realised they were facing a substantial defeat and in an effort to salvage some pride added two tries of their own both scored by Harper, but remained unconverted.

Hamilton took these reverses in their stride and with Kirkcaldy looking the other way, scored the bonus point try with the last play.

This was a significant game for both teams in terms of league placings but for much of the time only one seemed concerned and that was not Kirkcaldy.

A repetition of this shambolic showing means only one thing and that is National 2 rugby is beckoning for Beveridge Park.

Hamilton: C Skilling, B Plant, D Milne, M Wallace, M Prestly, O McLeish, A Sinclair. S Leggate, R McQueen, D Carr, C McLaughlin, G Jones, G Brodie, J Bruce, Alexander. Replacements:- D McGrath, G Richardson, R Brown, S White, E Aitken.

Kirkcaldy: F Smith, F Bruce, C Littlejohn, J Laird, T Kennedy, A Black, G McKenzie, W Beattie, C Hamilton, M Salt, C Wood, S Robertson, S Evans, R Bonner, M Harper. Replacements:- J Ramsay, M Graham, J Denton, J Moffatt, A Smith.

Referee: R Campbell (SRU)