Kirkcaldy's improved performance not enough to halt losing run

Kirkcaldy 15 Peebles 27
Action from Kirkcaldy's defeat to Peebles at Beveridge Park on Saturday. Pic: Michael BoothAction from Kirkcaldy's defeat to Peebles at Beveridge Park on Saturday. Pic: Michael Booth
Action from Kirkcaldy's defeat to Peebles at Beveridge Park on Saturday. Pic: Michael Booth

Melancholia deepened over Beveridge Park last Saturday with the Blues fourth consecutive loss in their National 2 schedule to promotion chasing Pebbles.

In some ways this was an improved performance over that at New Anniesland seven days earlier, but in most departments Kirkcaldy were found lacking, especially in sharpness about the field.

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In the opening stages, for about ten minutes, there was little between the sides in terms of territory and possession as play failed to breech either 22 metre line.

Just as neither side threatened Peebles scrum half David Collins burst into action with his speed carrying him clear of the defence to touch down for a fine solo try.

Greg Auburn's conversion gave the Tweedsiders a 7-0 lead in the 12th minute.

Kirkcaldy had quite a few injury disruptions in the first half. In the first of the enforced changes the experienced Dayle Turner took over in the back row from Chris Mann.

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Undeterred the Blues continued to compete reasonably well and had some reward in the 22nd minute.

An extended presence in the Peebles 22 produced a penalty after the referee had allowed a lengthy advantage before Craig Letham's penalty reduced the Kirkcaldy deficit to 7-3.

Five minutes after that penalty Kirkcaldy suffered a blow when winger Alex Brooks was adjudged to have tackled an opponent in a dangerous way.

Leaving his side understrength he had to spend ten minutes in the bin, and this loss signalled a period of clear Peebles supremacy.

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Winning the ball at half way, Peebles handled their way into a scoring position giving centre Murray Brown an easy score.

Towards half-time the pendulum swung Kirkcaldy's way again but a lengthy spell in and around the Peebles 22 produced nothing.

A more incisive approach with smarter handling would almost certainly have produced a try.

However, they were up against a determined defence anxious it give little away so the score remained 12-3 until the interval.

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The Blues resumed in a positive fashion but certain basic mistakes could not be wished away and it took 19 minutes into the second period for that elusive try to arrive.

Following a series of close in scrummages No 8 Chris Mann picked up and raced through one of the few cracks to appear in the Peebles defence.

Few in the crowd expected Kirkcaldy to win the game but at least there might be the consolation of a losing bonus point.

Their hopes, however, were quickly dented when Raeburn slotted a penalty followed by a try from flanker Stuart Hunter.

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This try came from a well tested manoeuvre from a five metre line-out with the ball being mauled to the line before Hunter squeezed the ball down.

Every so often in this game the Blues spluttered into action and with ball for once being accurately passed found Turner found space to go for the line and a second Kirkcaldy try, converted by Letham.

Again any thought of a losing bonus point quickly disappeared as in the last play of the game lock Murdo Anderson forced his way over the line for his side's bonus point try.

Although this was an improvement on the performances in the last two games Kirkcaldy were still short of the mark.

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There are four games left in the season and if the Blues are to end this losing streak, greater attention must be paid to the quality of passing and the delivery of the ball from contact.

Better application will certainly bring better results

Kirkcaldy: F Smith, A Brooks, T Kennedy, J Laird, J Devine, C Letham, G McKenzie, G Queen, C Hamilton, M Salt, S Evans, G Shields, M Love, D Guthrie, C Mann. Replacements: D Jennings, D Turner, M Collins, C Young.

Peebles: C Anderson, J Dow, M Brown, D Anderson, D Edwards, G Raeburn, D Collins, W Aitken, R Stewart, J Menzies, R McIver, M Anderson, R Harrison, S Hunter, R Harrison. Replacements: N Hogarth, W Brown, F Collins, R Clinch.

Referee: Sean Niven.

Fife Trophy Centre Star Check: 3 Seb Evans, 2 Finlay Smith, 1 Josh Laird

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Cumulative: 17 Josh Laird; 13 Thomas Glendinning, Connor Wood; 11 Jacob Ramsay; 10 Marcus Salt; 8 Steve Milne; 7 Rhys Bonner; 6 Stuart Porter; 5 Danny Jennings; 4 Chris Mann, Craig Letham, Finlay Smith; 3 Timmy Kennedy, Owen Bonner, Scott Barclay, Seb Evans; 1 Sean McKervall, Jack Denton, Craig Hamilton.