Yellow cards costly in Blues defeat to Marr

Kirkcaldy RFC v Marr RFC - Match 4, Tennent's National League Division 1, 22nd September 2018. Photo by Michael Booth
Kirkcaldy RFC v Marr RFC - Match 4, Tennent's National League Division 1, 22nd September 2018. Photo by Michael Booth

KIRKCALDY 17 MARR 41

On their first visit to Kirkcaldy in 40 years Marr certainly made up for lost time by overwhelming their hosts by a seven try to three margin.

The Ayrshire side, in the Premiership last season, were relegated after just one term there.

They more than held their own in many games in that campaign and appeared to have retained many of the qualities needed in the top tier for this Round 4 National 1 fixture.

They had pace aplenty and superb ball retention which Kirkcaldy could not match.

Once more Kirkcaldy errors were severely punished by field long moves ending in tries while they failed to capitalise on scoring opportunities of their own.

They didn’t help themselves with two yellow cards brandished to Greg Wallace and Alex Black just before half time.

While down to 13 men the Blues conceded 14 points.

Kirkcaldy started impressively enough taking a 11th minute lead through a James Barclay try following some crisp handling set up by a barging run by Michael Harper.

Marr were taking time to find their feet and in the opening quarter certainly didn’t look the scorers of seven tries.

With 26 minutes gone, their No 8 Ben Johnston brushed aside some slack tackling to roar in for his side’s opening try converted by full back Liam McLoughlin, tying the scores at 7-7.

A series of Kirkcaldy blunders following the re-start kick presented Marr with easy ball down their left wing allowing lock Graeme Dick to go in for his side’s second try.

By the half hour mark the Ayrshire team appeared to be almost in complete control.

Now defending desperately Kirkcaldy were conceding too many penalties leading Greg Wallace receiving the first yellow card.

Minutes later stand off Alex Black joined him in the bin.

Right away Marr used their scrummage advantage to score a push over credited to Johnston.

The half time score of 17-7 barely reflected the Marr superiority in that second quarter.

Rhys Bonner at the heart of most of Kirkcaldy’s best plays had to go off with a recurrence of an old leg injury.

His replacement, teenager Jack Denton, quickly made an impression and looks to be valuable addition to the squad.

Marr’s two man advantage paid off again in the 46th minute with a Gregor Paxton try.

McLoughlin’s conversion almost took their side out of sight. Once restored to full strength the Blues picked up their game and restored the spirit of the home crowd.

Matt Harvey twice came close before replacement Struan Robertson scored his first senior try.

Kirkcaldy maintained this agression for several further minutes before Marr regained the initiative.

From first phase possession they skilfully retained the ball aoross he field until further slack tackling let winger Jack Scott in for his side’s fifth try and a 29-12 lead.

The Blues showed real skill of their own five minutes later as a well flighted ball from Black gave Conar Littlejohn the space he needed to run in for the third Kirkcaldy try.

Lost possession plagued the Blues periodically in this game and in the final quarter.

Marr capitalised on Kirkcaldy misfortune with two more tries from Bickerstaffe and Scott, along with another McLoughlin conversion confirmed the Ayrshire’s side ultimate superiority.

In the final play of the game the Blues perhaps had their best chance of the game.

A well constructed back movement gave Littlejohn the opportunity to run in for a bonus point try.

Unfortunately the centre lost his footing at pace, knocking on the ball and the opportunity disappeared.

The final score shows quite a gulf between the sides. Marr were much faster about the field, confident in their handing, and looked a well conditioned side.

Kirkcaldy for their part, need not be too despondent.

Two important forwards were absent through injury and another having to leave the field through injury.

Of course, two yellows cards in quick succession hardly helped their cause.

Kirkcaldy: F Smith, J Barclay., C Littlejohn, J Laird, R Brown. A Black, G McKenzie, G Queen, G Wallace, D Jennings, C Wood, M Harper, R Bonner, M Harvey, J Pow. Replacements: M Thomson, S Robertson, C Hamilton, J Denton, J Moffitt.

Marr: L McLoughlin, J Scott, J Dalgleish, G Paxton, T Steven, C Bickerstaff, A Hazel, W Farquharson, S Adair, C Henderson, E Hamilton-Bulger, G Dick, A Grant, C Steel, B Johnston. Replacements: O Rossi, F Miller, J Evans, F Hazel, A Mill.

Referee: C Clark.

Fife Trophy Centre Star Check: 3 Matt Harvey, 2 Alex Black, 1 Jack Denton.

Current standings: 8 Connor Wood; 3 Josh Laird, Rhys Bonner, Matt Harvey, Alex Black; 2 Jack Pow, Dayle Turner, Conar Littlejohn; 1 Finlay Smith, Struan Robertson, Jack Denton, Michael Harper.