A last gasp try from Crieff ensured a strong Glenrothes’ second team suffered a controversial 31-29 defeat.
The game got off to a good start for the Reds when Gavin Emerson barged his way over the line for the opening try which Kain Duguid then converted. Things got even better for the visitors with Kenny Harrow touching down from a driving maul to give Glenrothes a 12-point lead.
Crieff were upset by referee Lee Forrest when Glens full back Ross Anderson slipped and missed a bouncing ball with two of the home players poised to score. Play was pulled back for a Crieff penalty on the other side of the park. This was not the first baffling decision to be made by the official and it certainly wasn’t the last.
Crieff’s frustration with Forrest increased when he yellow carded one of their players for a dangerous tackle and threatened to send their coach from pitchside for expressing his unhappiness with the decision.
Glenrothes took advantage of their numerical superiority and forced their way deep into opposition territory where a ruck formed and Scott Cairns attempts to free the ball were met with claims of stamping from the touchline. The official banished a spectator from the side of the pitch before Glenrothes forced their way over the line eventually through Emerson. Duguid converted.
Late in the half, Crieff scored moving the ball right and rounding the Glens’ defence with no7 touching down in the corner after a high Duguid tackle. Things got worse for Glenrothes in Crieff’s next assault when Bryce ripped the ball free in a tackle only to be adjudged to have been on his knees and was given a ten-minute rest. From the penalty the ball was moved infield and the chunky home stand off strolled in under the posts. The conversion gave a half time score of 12-19.
The second half started as the first had ended with the home team on the front foot and it wasn’t long before they had levelled the score with missed tackles enabling a try behind the posts which was converted to give parity.
Glenrothes regained the lead when a speculative kick from Duguid took a wicked bounce, wrong footing the home fullback and landing in Anderson’s hands for an easy run in and the bonus point try. Duguid conversion from wide limped over the crossbar.
The lead was extended to ten points when the Reds were awarded a penalty on Crieff’s 22m line with Duguid popping the ball over the bar to take his personal tally to nine points.
Crieff roared back and pressurised the Reds defence. Finally the inevitable happened and Crieff’s long striding number 12 broke a couple of tackles to score under the posts. The conversion brought Crieff to within three points of their guests.
There was still time for Mr Forrest to make another contentious decision, adjudging Duguid to deliberately knock-on and as such merited a spell in the sin bin. Crieff launched a final assault and the shortfall in the Glens defence enabled them to snatch victory at the death with a try in the left corner. The missed conversion was irrelevant as it was immediately followed by the final whistle.
Next weekend sees the start of the Six Nations Championship, so the next games for Glenrothes will be in a fortnight with the firsts at Grangemouth.