Kirkcaldy 3 Howe of Fife 17
While Howe may have had thoughts of another bonus point win at Beveridge Park, the Blues offered stuffy resistance and kept in touch until the closing stages.
Some recent derbies have been fairly one sided with Howe surging to easy wins, but this fixture confirmed the gradual improvement in this Kirkcaldy team.
As at Musselburgh the week before they showed they can compete with any one in this division and will test the sides they will meet in the weeks to come.
This game was more like many bygone fixtures between the clubs with little between them and total commitment of the players.
Some times this competitive element boiled over and in total four yellow cards were issued, two to each side.
At the end of an engrossing 80 minutes the Cupar side did enough to take the four point win. Their superiority lay in their finishing which produced three tries against none for Kirkcaldy.
The Blues did their share of attacking and certainly had points gathering opportunities but fluffed their lines too often to get over the white wash against well organised defending.
The early stages did not look too promising for Quintan Sanft‘s side with Howe having much quicker ball and carrying menace in every movement.
The Blues survived this test before advancing their own cause with some well placed tactical kicks. However, they did not help themselves with the loss of Steve Mitchell and Greg Wallace in quick succession to the sin bin.
Numerical disadvantage took its toll and after a blank half hour Howe slipped into the lead with a Robert Douglas try converted by DomMartin.
Kirkcaldy quickly reduced this deficit with quickly delivered ball trapping the Howe backs off side and Jamie Moffat kicking the penalty points.
After getting back into contention the Blues suffered a set back with the loss of a second try in first half stoppage time with a Fraser Clark unconverted try, leaving the half time score 12-3.
With an early kick off this game should have been completed in daylight. Weather conditions however rapidly deteriorated in the second half to an extent that the floodlights had to be switched on at the break to illuminate proceedings.
The Blues battled away for much of this half but failed to pierce a secure defence.
Howe had two players binned and then after front row injuries they had to have uncontested scrums.
Disappointingly, the home side just could not add to their score when even a penalty goal would have given them a losing bonus point.
Almost inevitably, instead of improving their tally a third Howe try in the closing minutes gave them the win they deserved but by a margin which did little justice to a big Kirkcaldy effort.
Kirkcaldy: K Littlejohn, C Mann, J Moffat, M Wallace, C Littlejohn, Q Sanft, K Enuka, M Thomson, J Pow, G Wallace, C Wood, S Mitchell, S Milne, R Bonner, L Neilson. Replacements: M Salt, S Porter, G Neilson, C Letham.
Howe of Fife: G Thomson,C Ellison, A Guthrie, F Clark, R Douglas, D Martin, M Black, K Curry, C Dow, S Rattray, T Turpie, B Runciman, J Lawrie, A Steven, I Wilson. Replacements: G Steedman, D Wallace, C Mason, S Busby.
Referee: A Peterson (Hillfoots).
Star Check: 3 Liam Neilson, 2 Mark Wallace, 1 C Wood.
Current standings: 12 Turner; 10 L Neilson; 9 M Wallace; 8 Milne; 7 Mann; 5 Pow, Wood; 4 Thomson; 3 Bonner; 1 Smith, G Wallace, McKenzie, C Littlejohn.