Kirkcaldy triumph at inaugural Fife Festival of Rugby

Kirkcaldy head coach Quintan Sanft (middle) featured for Kirkcaldy 2nds. Pic: Michael Booth
Kirkcaldy head coach Quintan Sanft (middle) featured for Kirkcaldy 2nds. Pic: Michael Booth

The first Fife senior rugby festival held at Beveridge Park last Saturday proved to be an outstanding success both both players and the large number of spectators.

The initiative was the brainchild of Scottish Rugby’s Development manager for Fife, Mark Dobson, to give the seven senior clubs in Fife an early pre-season outing and at the same having a competitve element to

interest the crowd.

The top four sides in the county ranked in the SRU league system – Kirkcaldy, Howe of Fife, Dunfermline and Glenrothes – formed Tier 1 in a mini-league while Madras, Rosyth and Waid FP, along with the second strings of Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and Howe of Fife formed Tier 2, divided into two pools of three sides with play downs determing the eventual placings.

Another innovatory feature of the afternoon was that all games would be played in a single 30-minute period with no change of ends.

Where games ended n a draw the outcome was decided by a drop kick shoot-out from the 22 metre line.

Tier 2 was completed in the early afternoon, using two pitches.

Kirkcaldy’s second string, which included head coach Quintan Sanft operating in his old position of stand off, glided through their pool games, beating Rosyth 48-0 and Howe Crusaders 36-0 to move into the Shield

final.

Meanwhile, Howe just squeezed past Rosyth.

In the other pool Madras were clearly the top side overcoming Dunfermline 2nd and Waid.

Kirkcaldy 2nd and Madras contested an entertaining Shield final. After the St Andrews side took an early lead, Sanft, piloting a side in which most of the players were half his age, soon took control and by the end had five unanswered tries in the bag.

The four senior teams, comprising Tier 1 opened up with a 26-7 win for Kirkcaldy against old rivals Howe of Fife by a 26-7 margin.

The Kirkcaldy line-up only included one of their summer signings in the shape of Calum Kennedy and had an easier win in their second tie against Glenrothes.

Meanwhile, Dunfermline slid past Howe ond Glenrothes in tight games before meeting Kirkcaldyin the last game to determine the cup winners.

The McKane Park outfit started strongly and the Blues had to withstand heavy pressure in the early stages but only conceded an unconverted try.

As the game progressed Kirkcaldy forward superiority took its toll. They failed to convert their first try leaving the score at 5-5 with five minutes left.

Then old warhorse Steve Mitchell, back in the ranks after a year off, burst into the game and touched down at the posts for a try converted by Craig Letham.

After play finished the organisers announced their selections of All Star teams for each of the tiers and it was another measure of a successful Kirkcaldy afternoon that seven players from the club were included in each of the tier picks.

In Tier 1 the Blues players selected were Josh Laird, Callum Kennedy, Craig Letham Seb Evans, Connor Wood, Danny Jennings and Gerard Queen.

The Tier 2 goup included Owen Bonner, Alex Brooks, Conar Littlejohn Quintan Sanft, Kiaa Enoku. Kieran Mitchell and Jacob Ramsay.

Kirkcaldy continue their pre-season programme on Friday evening (kick-off 7pm) with a home game against Premiership side Edinburgh Accies.