WHITECRAIGS 38 KIRKCALDY 5
Glasgow south side team Whitecraigs belied their second bottom league place, comprehensively beating a sorry Kirkcaldy team which lost all sense of purpose midway through the first half.
Mistake followed mistake as tacklers fell short and ill judged kicks returned the ball to determined opponents.
Kirkcaldy discipline also fell well short of top standards in a mouthy display which saw penalties advanced and generally incurring the referee’s displeasure culminating in a last minute yellow card for Steve Mitchell.
Whitecraigs may have fallen into the relegation zone but they have had a spate of postponed games, falling four behind the teams immediately above them.
Their talented back line oozed pace and power to exploit some dismal Kirkcaldy defensive work.
There was no hint of what was to follow as Kirkcaldy sprinted into a 5-0 lead with less than two minutes played.
Flanker Rhys Bonner took play well upfield winning a penalty kicked to touch. Clean ball saw stand off Finlay Smith break inside to feed the supporting Kurt Littlejohn for the opener.
It was probably a sign of things to come ten minutes later as home full back Stewart Gillies pocketed a loose kick deep in his own half and then sweep past some shadow tackling and chip ahead into the Kirkcaldy 22 before re-gathering the ball to score a fine try which he converted himself for a 7-5 lead.
In spite of this set back Kirkcaldy still looked to have the greater momentum and a powerful driving maul took them to within the shadow of the Whitecraigs posts.
Then a blast on the whistle indicated a penalty for the Blues only to have it reversed. Then the referee marched them back 10 metres for a comment on his decision.
Gillies’ massive kick took the ball to within ten metres of the Kirkcaldy line for a line-out where the visitors conceded a penalty kicked by Gillies.
Eight minutes later another Gillies penalty gave his side an eight point advantage.
By half time Kirkcaldy had fallen further behind through a third Gillies penalty, punishing growing Kirkcaldy blunders and at the interval Whitecraigs led 19-5.
As the second half unfolded, Kirkcaldy’s performance continued to decline and by the end they were sorry losers, very much outclassed against a team from which they had taken 41 points last November.
After a fourth Gillies penalty had taken the home side’s tally to 19 their second try was a forward dominated effort completed by prop Iain Laidlaw.
A mauled line-out saw Whitecraigs take the game well beyond Kirkcaldy’s reach with a third try scored by Greg Haswell and converted by Gillies.
Midway through this second half Kirkcaldy’s already depleted squad suffered another blow when forwards Michael Harper and Rhys Bonner were involved in a clash of heads with both having to retire from the game.
Throughout this half the Blues were seldom seen as an attacking force and the few chances which came their way were just thrown away with some thoughtless kicking.
In spite of continuing Whitecraigs superiority they had to wait until the 78th minute before securing the bonus point try through winger Lewis Senter.
Maybe the Kirkcaldy players, safe in mid-table, believed they had little to play for but pride was noticeably absent in this shoddy performance.
They still have two home games left to redeem themselves and regain the form which adorned the middle part of the season.
Whitecraigs: S Gillies, G Emans, M Johnston, G Stevenson, G Berry, A Stevenson, S Henderson, I Laidlaw, J Christine, S Atwal, S Berry, M Christine, L Ramage,G Haswell, S Pollock. Replacements: L Senter, C Percival, A Paterson, N Alexander.
Kirkcaldy: K Littlejohn O Bonner, Q Sanft, J Moffat, R Low. F Smith, G McKenzie, D Jennings, Jack Pow, G Wallace, S Mitcehll, James Pow, R Brown, R Bonner, L Neilson. Replacements: G Queen M Harper, D Turner,
Referee: I Morrison (ERRS).
Star Check: 3 Liam Neilson, 2 Steve Mitchell, 1 Kurt Littlejohn.
Current standings: 22 R Bonner; 20 Turner; 13 Mitchell; 9 James Pow; 7 Bruce; 5 McKenzie; 4 Mangalo, Salt, Jennings; 3 Wood, Henderson, Jack Pow, Brown; 2 Wallace; 1 Moffat, Smith, Harper.