CARTHA QP 35 KIRKCALDY 31
Kirkcaldy’s relegation problems worsened at Dumbreck last Saturday as they slid to a disappointing defeat in miserable conditions.
While scoring first and last and taking two points for their efforts no one would begrudge the Glasgow team their five point win which took them clear of the Blues at the foot of the National 1 table.
Half an hour before kick off the game was in doubt with the ground staff busily trying to remove standing water from the pitch before referee John Shaw and his assistants gave the go ahead after a further lengthy inspection.
After last week’s debacle at Troon the Blues had a much stronger line-up with only flanker Dayle Turner an absentee. This quickly paid off with a driven five-metre line out producing an unconverted try for Struan Robertson.
There were penalties galore in the opening stages as the sides struggled to come to terms with the dreadful overhead and underfoot conditions, particularly the freezing cross field wind.
Just as the Blues made the most of a penalty to touch, the home side responded in similar fashion with their tight head Juan Phyfer braking through.
Before the Blues could catch their breath, Cartha went ahead with an easily converted penalty from consistent kicker Wayne Burrows.
Kirkcaldy suffered a major blow shortly afterwards with line-out talisman and captain for the day Connor Wood being carried off with a suspected broken fibula.
Nevertheless with replacement Jack Denton on Kirkcaldy persistence paid off in the 29th minute allowing scrum half Scott Anderson to scamper over from short range for a try converted by Finlay Smith and giving their side a 12-8 lead.
By the interval the game had been turned on its head with two quick fire Cartha tries. The first came from a speculative kick from winger Jacob Adamson over the advancing Kirkcaldy defence into the in-goal area which handily bounced up into Adamson’s hands for an easy score which remained unconverted.
With seconds remaining in the half Cartha extended their lead to 23-12 which left the Blues floundering. This fourth try gained a valuable bonus point for the home team.
The diagonal wind favoured the Blues in the second half but although they narrowed their deficit with a Marcus Salt try they failed to maximise their advantage by not playing into the right hand corner.
Too often aimless cross field passing ended in the home side regaining possession. Any prospect of a Kirkcaldy win seemed to have been swept away by the buffeting wind.
Further CQP tries from Shabaz Khan and Jonny Campion and another Burrows conversion around the hour mark confirmed their superiority.
Kirkcaldy had introduced the experienced Alex Black into the game at half time and he certainly pepped up the back line and one darting run almost produced a third try.
This however was not long delayed. Heavy forward pressure dragged in the CQP cover to open up a gap allowing full Craig Letham to nip through.
With ten minutes left Kirkcaldy at last saw a glimmer of hope and were camped in the home 22 until the final play another Letham try converted by Finlay Smith earned them a second bonus point.
There was little doubt that the better team won. CQP created and took their scoring chances while Kirkcaldy failed to adapt to the testing playing conditions.
Any satisfaction from gaining two points away from home quickly disappeared within a minute or two of no-side when news arrived that fellow strugglers Dundee had scored in the last minute to beat Musselburgh 7-6.
Cartha QP: G Davidson, J Adamson, E Campbell, S McInnes, J Graham, W Burrows, J Campion, S Khan, Totis, J Phyfer, G Williamson, M Robertson, R Howie, C Dickson, P Hollier. Replacements: M Goodwin, M Marinkovic, M Dellaney, A Boyle, D Goldie.
Kirkcaldy: C Letham, C Littlejohn I Gillies, J Laird,T Kennedy, F Smith, S Anderson D Jennings, J Pow M Salt, C Wood, S Robertson, R Brown, R Bonner, J Ramsay. Replacements:- S Cant, J Denton, D Guthrie, J Moffatt, A Black.
Referee: J Shaw (SRU)
Fife Trophy Centre Star Check: 3 Struan Robertson, 2 Craig Letham, 1 Jacob Ramsay
Current standings: 16 Josh Laird, Struan Robertson; 14 Connor Wood; 9 Rhys Bonner; 8 Alex Black; 7 Michael Harper, Dayle Turner; 6 Matthew Harvey, Finlay Smith; 5 Jack Pow; 4 Jacob Ramsay; 3 Greg Wallace, Conar Littlejohn; 2 Owen Bonner, Craig Letham; 1 Jack Denton, Craig Hamilton, Timmy Kennedy, Marcus Salt.