KELSO 40 KIRKCALDY 5
A battered and severely bruised Kirkcaldy side made an ungainly exit from the National League Cup at Poynder Park last Saturday.
While the home side had the luxury of being able to make a whole series of errors and showed an alarming inaccuracy at times, the Blues reacted passively and were perhaps fortunate to escape with only a six try loss.
While it hardly impacted on the result of the game, Kirkcaldy lost the services of captain and regular scrum half Gavin McKenzie, operating at stand off for the day, and his deputy Scott Anderson, who wore the No 9 jersey. McKenzie suffered a broken lower broken sternum, likely to mean his season is over, while Anderson dislocated a shoulder.
The first quarter of the game gave no indication of the eventual outcome. The Blues handled competently from kick-off and some impressive recycling took play to within scoring distance. Home right winger Kevin Wilson was yellow carded after his side conceded a series of penalties in quick succession but the Blues failed to find a way over the line. This shortcoming was indicative of a basic Kirkcaldy weakness of failing to take chances.
After soaking up heavy pressure for over twenty minutes, Kelso emerged as an attacking force. There was a pace about their play which Kirkcaldy simply could not match, when left winger Angus Roberts took a neat pass at half way, he flew past some ill-timed Kirkcaldy tackles to touch down at the posts to give Craig Dods an easy conversion and his side a 7-0 lead.
Although Kirkcaldy competed well up front with Jacob Ramsay, who was making his 1st XV debut, driving impressively, their ball delivery was desperately slow and with the backs far too static, their possession usually came to nothing.
The Tweedsiders might have had a second try shortly after but the pass to Roberts was adjudged to have been forward.
The Blues replied in positive fashion but again could not convert this pressure into points. As half time neared, Kirkcaldy began to have a dispirited look and were perhaps fortunate that Kelso continued to make basic mistakes. However, despite these errors, confidence was growing in the Poynder Park team. It was no surprise when they added to their tally two minutes before the interval as Alex Thompson touched down at the posts with Dods again adding the conversion points.
The Kirkcaldy re-start kick did not travel the required 10 metres. From the resulting scrummage, Kelso centre Phil Hume took advantage of further Kirkcaldy shadow tackling to go in for another score at the posts. The conversion made the half time score 21-0.
Although Josh Laird managed to get over for an unconverted Kirkcaldy try, the visitors had few further scoring chances as Kelso dominated and injuries further disrupted the Blues. The home side’s pace and rhythm grew as the game went on and Kirkcaldy were struggling to touch the ball. A second half trio of tries, along with two conversions, emphasised Kelso’s superiority.
On a dismal day for Kirkcaldy, the only bright spark was this cup elimination will now allow the team to concentrate fully on their top priority of retaining their place in National 1.
Kelso: M Hastie, K Wilson, P Hume, G Mein, A Roberts, C Dods, A Tait, M Downer, C Marshall, B Robertson, C Brown, A Common, T Wichary, K Dryden, K Mein
Replacements:- C Sweenie, G Clark, A Thompson, R Hastie, A Jackson
Kirkcaldy: C Letham, T Kennedy, J Laird, J Moffatt, A Brooks, G McKenzie, S Anderson, D Jennings, C Hamilton, M Salt, C Wood, S Robertson, R Brown, R Bonner, J Ramsay
Replacements:- S Geddes, J Denton, M Graham, J Devine, S Cant
Fife Trophy Centre Star Check: 3 Jacob Ramsay, 2 Josh Laird, 1 Rhys Bonner
Cumulative: 18 Josh Laird; 14 Connor Wood; 13 Struan Robertson; 10 Rhys Bonner; 8 Alex Black; 7 Michael Harper, Dayle Turner; 6 Matthew Harvey, Finlay Smith; 5 Jack Pow; 3 Greg Wallace, Conar Littlejohn, Jacob Ramsay; 2 Owen Bonner; 1 Jack Denton, Craig Hamilton, Timmy Kennedy, Marcus Salt.