Dismay at Beveridge Park as Kirkcaldy heavily beaten in relegation crunch match

Craig Wilson is tackled to the ground during Kirkcaldy's sobering defeat to Dundee High on Saturday. Pic: Michael Booth
Craig Wilson is tackled to the ground during Kirkcaldy's sobering defeat to Dundee High on Saturday. Pic: Michael Booth

Kirkcaldy 26 Dundee High 70

The Blues, who started this re-arranged game with the highest hopes, slumped to an embarrassing 44 point defeat to their relegation rivals from Dundee.

With Hamilton now relegated Kirkcaldy's hopes of staying in National 1 now lie in the hands of others.

Not only will Quintan Sanft's men have to beat Musselburgh with a bonus point this Saturday but hope that Cartha QP take nothing from their game at Kelso on April 20 at Poynder Park.

The mood music for Kirkcaldy did not look good from the beginnings after they went 8-0 behind in the eighth minute through an Andrew Hamilton try and a Fraser McKay penalty.

Uncertain in defence and ponderous in possession Kirkcaldy hardly looked like a side fighting for their status.

Dundee on the other hand bristled with energy and pace and carried a threat every time they had the ball, which they regularly secured on easy terms.

The Blues went further behind after losing the ball in their own half and stand off Harry Mercer broke untouched to set up Kieran Scoular for an easy try on the left wing

Into the second quarter there were signs the earlier Kirkcaldy passivity was wearing of as they set up several promising forward drives with Jacob Ramsay prominent.

Extended recycling then produced a ball for Ramsay to go over for his side's first try converted by Finlay Smith.

The buzz in the ground grew as Kirkcaldy intensity built up and led to a another try from Dayle Turner. With Smith's conversion missing the Blues were now 13-12 behind.

This impetus juddered to a halt in the ten minutes up to half time. After blocking release Turner was binned and in the following ten minutes the game simply flew away from Kirkcaldy.

By half time they were 39-12 behind with runaway tries from Stewart Lathangie (2), Stuart Barlow and Fraser McKay, who also kicked three penalties.

Although the Blues had two late tries from Turner and Marcus Salt, which earned them a bonus point that, in the end, may determine their future status in National 1, they were rarely in contention.

For most of the second half they appeared rudderless, devoid of energy and ambition.

Restart balls often went barely contested with Dundee regaining a possession and then shredding paper thin defence.

The third quarter of the game witnessed further miserable capitulation as Dundee seemed to be playing unopposed rugby.

Tries simply flew in every few minutes starting with another from Lathangie. A well controlled chip ahead gave Kieran D'Aeth his score.

Then in another few minutes' flurry Meadows, twice, and Barlow again, along with a Mackay conversion, advanced the Dundee lead to 70-12 with ten minutes left.

Then came the mini Kirkcaldy revival which secured the try bonus - only the next few weeks will reveal if they have any significance.

Seldom can a Kirkcaldy side have conceded so many points in quick succession and this sad performance will lie deep amongst its most ignominious in its long history.

Certainly there were a few mitigating factors such as the injuries suffered during the game, first to young winger Cameron Pilmer and then to his replacement Iain Gillies.

More seriously later on, schoolboy lock Struan Robertson had to be stretchered off with severe concussion and a neck injury just after prop Danny Jennings had a recurrence of his old arm injury.

These injury handicaps are no more than excuses for this embarrassing loss as Dundee left Beveridge Park in high spirits knowing they had secured their league status had been secured.

Kirkcaldy: C Letham, C Pilmer, J Laird, A Black, T Kennedy, F Smith, G McKenzie, D Jennings, J Pow, M Salt, J Ramsay, S Robertson, S Evans, D Turner, M Harvey. Replacements: G Queen, C Wilson, G Clunas, C Hamilton, R Brown.

Dundee High: F McKay, K Scoular, D McIntyre, A Hamilton, K D'Aeth. H Mercer, S Lathangie, J Newth, C Mackenzie, H Meadows, L Macnamara, A Thomson, S Barlow, A Farquhar, D Levison. Replacements: T Smith, L Quarm, K Franco, D McGinn, R Hood.

Referee: F Smith (SRU)

Fife Trophy Centre Star Check: 3 Jacob Ramsay, 2 Dayle Turner, 1 Marcus Salt.

Current standings: 21 Josh Laird; 17 Struan Robertson; 14 Connor Wood; 10 Rhys Bonner; 9 Dayle Turner; 8 Alex Black; 7 Michael Harper, Jack Pow, Jacob Ramsay; 6 Matthew Harvey, Finlay Smith; 3 Greg Wallace, Conar Littlejohn, Iain Gillies, Timmy Kennedy, Marcus Salt; 2 Owen Bonner, Craig Letham, Jack Pow; 1 Jack Denton, Craig Hamilton.