Kirkcaldy fail to adapt to conditions in defeat to Newton Stewart

Kirkcaldy 5 Newton Stewart 17
Action from Kirkcaldy's defeat to Newton Stewart on Saturday. Pic: Michael BoothAction from Kirkcaldy's defeat to Newton Stewart on Saturday. Pic: Michael Booth
Action from Kirkcaldy's defeat to Newton Stewart on Saturday. Pic: Michael Booth

Kirkcaldy contrived to make every error in the book as they were decidedly second best to a side they had beaten by a 61 point margin earlier in the season.

Vile overhead and underfoot conditions were no more than an excuse for this shoddy show as Newton Stewart adapted well to them.

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Any lingering chance of promotion disappeared in the mud as the Galloway team celebrated their first win at Beveridge Park.

What made this Kirkcaldy loss all the more galling was that they had a marked scrummage superiority, forcing Newton Stewart to concede as many as six penalties at the set piece.

Handling mistakes were inevitable on such a miserable day but Kirkcaldy attempted to play an inappropriate open game, more suitable to a sunny August day than foul February.

Newton Stewart eagerly pounced on these self induced Kirkcaldy wounds and laid the foundations for this win.

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Newton Stewart made their tackling count from the start whereas Kirkcaldy had a slovenly approach, often needing as many as three attempts to bring down an opponent.

Even with their scrummage advantage the Blues were decisively beaten on the territorial count.

Only twice in the game did they have any real presence in the visitors' 22, in the closing minutes of the first half and again near the end of the game.

In the opening minutes there was little indication of the misfortunes which were to befall the Blues.

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At the first scrummage the referee lifted his arm to indicate a penalty to Kirkcaldy which took play well into the Newton Stewart half.

Nothing came from that but the home side looked in control of proceedings.

Then in the 10th minute a defensive mix up with two Kirkcaldy players unable to control a rolling ball nearly brought a score for Newton Stewart after the ball had been hacked on.

As the half developed Newton Stewart intent became obvious, keeping the ball tight and mauling vigorously.

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The Blues just held out against two offensive line-outs before they fell at a third. The ball had been clearly taken before flanker Mark McCormick touched down with stand off Jack Gaw converting for a 7-0 lead.

The visitors restarted on the front foot as Kirkcaldy continued to blunder along.

It was no surprise when Newton Stewart extended their lead five minutes into the second half with Gaw kicking a penalty.

There was no Blue response to this latest set back. To make matters worse prop Marcus Salt received a yellow card.

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The Blues failed to capitalise on this numerical advantage as handling errors increased and their kick and chase became more ineffective.

In the 71st minute any lingering doubt about the outcome ended with a second Newton Stewart try from No.8 Jason McKie who outpaced tiring defenders. Gaw again added the extra points.

As Kirkcaldy faced the ignominy of being nilled on their own ground a late flurry eventually provided a late consolation try from winger Alex Brooks after an extended movement.

This was a sad defeat for Kirkcaldy, finally ending their chance of a quick return to National 1.

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Kirkcaldy: C Kennedy, A Brooks, O Bonner, J Laird, J Devine, C Letham, G McKenzie, D Jennings, C Hamilton, M Salt, G Shields, S Barclay, J Ramsay, S Milne, C Mann. Replacements: G Wallace, G Queen, D Turner, Q Sanft.

Newton Stewart: D Adams, J Muir, C Gaw, F Morton, R Morton, J Gaw, R McCormick, R Campbell, T MacDonald, R MacDonald, M Craig, A Ferrie, J McMiken, M McCormick, J McKie. Replacements: M Wallace, J Smith, F Paterson, B Radley.

Referee: G Stephen.

Fife Trophy Centre Star Check: 3 Scott Barclay, 2 Chris Mann, 1 Craig Letham.

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