Kirkcaldy drop down table after home defeat to Stewart's Melville
Kirkcaldy 8 Stewart's Melville 26
Kirkcaldy plumbed the depths at Beveridge Park last Saturday with a performance as dismal as the weather on a dreich winter's day when chilling rain fell throughout the game.
Fellow promotion chasers Stewart's Melville dominated every aspect of the contest which dislodged the Blues from second place in the National 2 table dropping them down to fourth.
When the sides met at Inveleith back in September the Blues could have considered themselves unfortunate to leave with a solitary losing bonus point after they had dominated proceedings for significant portions of the game.
Then they coughed up possession far too often. In Saturday's game they found it almost impossible to claim any worthwhile possession after being outplayed at the set pieces and in the collisions apart from a brief spell in the first half.
The home side had a glimpse of what was to follow in the first minutes as Stew Mel launched a series of blistering attacks, handling the greasy ball confidently and finding space for their attackers to outflaank some sluggish Kirkcaldy defence.
It was no surprise in the fourth minute when centre James Ferguson went in near the posts for a try converted by stand off David Bowen and a 7-0 lead.
Kirkcaldy possibly had their best spell of the game in the period which followed and their pressure forced the Edinburgh team to concede a host of penalties in the red zone.
Eventually the referee produced a yellow card for Stew Melville flanker Joe Bailey quickly followed by his scrum half colleague Fraser Strachan It was perhaps a portent of what was to follow that it took almost five minutes to impose themselves on a 13-man opposition.
Winger Conar Littlejohn's unconverted try reduced the Kirkcaldy deficit to 7-5 but no sooner was Bailey back in play that he increased his side's lead.
Bowen's conversion extended the Stew Mel lead to 14-5.
A penalty from Kirkcaldy's Craig Letham seemed almost incidental as Stew Mel dominance returned.
Almost everything that could go wrong with the Kirkcaldy line-out went wrong as Stew Mel continued their plundering at the touch line.
The suspended Connor Wood's imposing presence was sadly missed.
As the interval neared Kirkcaldy replacement Greg Wallace was binned for continuing team infringement.
Yet another home misdemeanour saw the referee run to the posts to award a penalty try, the aftermath of which was Kirkcaldy captain Josh Laird join Wallace in the bin, presumably for some ill-chosen words.
This left the score 21-5 at the turnaround.
Kirkcaldy resumed with 13 men and they did enough to ward off a series of Stew Mel attacks as well as having a go themselves.
However, force of numbers told in the 46th minute as winger Sean Murchie escaped the clutches of several defenders to score his side's unconverted bonus point try.
26-8 is not an insurmountable deficit but to achieve that a side has to be firing on all cylinders but this Kirkcaldy team's tank had already been emptied.
Whether there was much in it from the start is open to question.
Kirkcaldy: F Smith, C Littlejohn, S McKervail, J Laird, O Bonner, C Letham, G McKenzie, D Jennings, C Hamilton, M Salt, S Porter, G Shields, T Muir, K Mitchell, S Milne. Replacements: G Wallace, G Queen, K Enoke, A Brooks.
Stewarts Melville: C Simmonds, S Murchie, J Ferguson, G Angco, J McGurk, D Bowen, F Strachan, C Baikie, D Randall, C McKay, J Sword, C Morrison, W Malcolm, J Bailey, S Aldritt. Replacements: S Mitchell, T Petieu, M Sanderson, A Greig.
Referee: Aonghus Ryan.
Fife Trophy Centre Star Check: 3 Stuart Porter, 2 Finlay Smith, 1 Owen Bonner.
Current standings: 16 Josh Laird; 11 Jacob Ramsay; 10 Thomas Glendinning; 8 Connor Wood; 7 Rhys Bonner; 6 Stuart Porter; 5 Danny Jennings, Marcus Salt, Steve Milne; 3 Timmy Kennedy, Owen Bonner; 2 Chris Mann Finlay Smith; 1 Seb Evans, Sean McKervall, Craig Letham.