BIGGAR 11 KIRKCALDY 22
Kirkcaldy’s director of rugby Colin George aptly summarised the outcome of this league game at Hartreemill.
“It was a really heroic display, coming from 11-3 down and absolutely out playing a side which had taken 42 points of us at Beveridge Park in October,” he said.
“The pack beat them in every phase of the game with not a weak link in the team.”
He continued: “We trained well during th holiday period and were ready for the physical challenge we knew Biggar would provide.”
Kirkcaldy were a bit unfortunate to behind at the interval but by the end the visitors dominated proceedings and could count themselves unfortunate not to have secured the four try bonus point.
However before kick-off coach Quintan Sanft had to reshuffle his side with mountainous prop George Mangalo and top scorer Dayle Turner both calling off.
Into the pack came navy man Matt Harvey who slipped in the back row while Mark Henderson was promoted from the bench to the front row.
Into the back line came former Colts player dual registered Jamie Ferguson instead of the unavailable Jamie Moffat.
Biggar always provide the stiffest of opposition in their own ground as Kirkcaldy can testify to, having not won there since 1998.
They showed in the 17th minute that they had the firepower to stretch their guests with a well run unconverted try from winger Aird Jardine to stretch their lead to 8-0 after stand off Francois Nel had kicked an earlier penalty.
The Blues might have been a little apprehensive after their mauling by Biggar earlier in the autumn but there was no sign of any nervousness as they went about their task.
Kirkcaldy, with centre Ferguson impressing on his Kirkcaldy league debut, had started brightly enough and pack competing for every ball.
Unusually in a season when the Kirkcaldy line-out has frequently misfired this game showed its full potential with shortened lines especially effective.
However it was at closer quarters that the Kirkcaldy forwards made their mark with solid scrummaging in which props Danny Jennings and Mark Henderson excelled and a series of driving mauls which regularly shattered a tiring Biggar pack in the second half.
The Blues ate into the Biggar lead with a Finlay Smith penalty but five minutes later Nel regained his side’s eight point advantage.
Rather than act as a set back this score ignited the Blues again and as half time approached they were beginning to assert themselves in the Biggar 22.
Proceedings became increasingly torrid and as the visitors pressurised the Biggar defence the referee produced a yellow card sending Henderson to the bin for some untidy footwork.
The score remained 11-3 until the break but significantly Biggar remained scoreless while they had the extra man advantage,
Once restored to full strength five minutes into the second half Kirkcaldy dominated both tactically and territorially. Although the heavy pitch and greasy ball could have made handling difficult, the backs made best use of hard earned ball and constantly forced Biggar deep into their 22.
It seemed just a matter of the time until Kirkcaldy reactivated the scoreboard and the try duly arrived following some lung bursting forward play with Harvey getting over and Smith converting.
Now just one point behind, Kirkcaldy sensed a possible victory and their second try came after Biggar had repelled torrents of driving mauls.
The ball briefly went left and then back right where Sasa Tofilau’s strength carried him over in the corner with half the Biggar side trying to stop him.
Although Smith missed the conversion, Sanft’s side was now in the ascendancy and led 15-10.
Biggar now feared defeat and became increasingly panicky with injudicious kicks out of defence which were returned with interest thanks to excellent kick and chase.
Their despair came to a peak eight minutes from the end when some wild passing in their own 22 saw the ball going straight into touch giving Kirkcaldy an attacking line-out about 10 metres out.
Well rehearsed practice paid off as they bustled the Biggar forwards back to their line with hooker Jack Pow getting the third try well converted by Smith to confirm a famous win.
This Kirkcaldy side is now light years ahead both in organisation and application from that which stuttered along in the autumn and now must fancy themselves to beat most of the teams in the division apart from possibly pace setters Hamilton and Falkirk.
The real test will come this Saturday when the former visit Beveridge Park having taken 98 points off a makeshift Blues team in mid October.
Biggar: C MacDonald, A Jardine, R Lavery, G Jamieson, A Sinclair, F Nel, D Reive, D Voas, E Stewart, C Bachurewski, A Lyon, A Peacock, A Warnock, E Sanderson, K Williams-Paul.
Replacements: C Henderson, D O’Connell, L Falefa, S Alder.
Kirkcaldy: K Littlejohn, F Bruce, S Tofilau, J Ferguson, F Smith, Q Sanft, G McKenzie, D Jennings, Jack Pow, S Mitchell, James Pow, R Bonner, M Harvey, L Neilson.
Replacements: S McLean, G Wallace, L George, C Parsons.
Referee: T French (WSRRS).
Star Check: 3 Mark Henderson, 2 Rhys Bonner, 1 Danny Jennings
Current standings: 23 Turner; 21 R Bonner; 11 Mitchell; 7 James Pow, Bruce; 4 Mangalo, McKenzie; 3 Wood, O Bonner, Littlejohn, Henderson; 2 Brown, Wallace, Neilson, Jennings; 1 Moffat, Jack Pow, Salt, Smith, Harper.