Kirkcaldy look to step up for season in new division

Kirkcaldy's head coach Quintan Sanft (Pic by Michael Booth)
Kirkcaldy's head coach Quintan Sanft (Pic by Michael Booth)

The forty-sixth season of club competitive rugby begins this Saturday with Kirkcaldy returning to National Division 1 after a seven year absence.

For their opener of the new 2018/19 season, they will be making the first of four trips to the Borders when they meet Selkirk at Philiphaugh, kick-off 3pm.

Selkirk have been in this division for most of the last decade and usually obtain a final position in the top half of the table, finishing fifth last term.

Blues head coach Quintan Sanft acknowledges there will be no easy games in the National Division with every league point having to be fought for.

“This is a very competitive division with no obvious weak side as there may have been in the past,” he said.

“Getting off to a good start is vital with this Selkirk game and then facing Kelso at home the next week.

“They boys showed up well in the cup match in Aberdeen last Saturday and this has given me grounds for some limited optimism.”

The Blues’ coaching team must have been pleased with the performance in Aberdeen last Saturday with a fair number of inexperienced layers in the squad which travelled north for the League Cup match.

Although Gordonians are a couple of divisions below Kirkcaldy they competed well, especially in the first half with wind advantage until the difference in fitness levels took its toll.

Sanft’s side will not find Selkirk suffering from this deficiency and are likely to offer a much sterner forward challenge.

Nevertheless the Beveridge Park side will not be found wanting in this department.

Behind the scrum newcomer Alex Black, formerly of Leeds Carnegie, is likely to make his Kirkcaldy debut at stand off with regular number 10 Craig Letham out with injury.

This shuffle will allow Finlay Smith to return to full back.

Another injury victim Rhys Bonner, who missed the pre-season matches, will also be an absentee but likely to be fit for the Kelso game on 8 September.

Kirkcaldy’s second team are also on the road this weekend, travelling to meet Stirling County third XV with a 3pm kick off.