Although Kirkcaldy led for long stretches of this Caledonia Cup match Perthshire had the finishing power to see off the home side which lost No 8 Liam Neilson to a red card in the fifty sixth minute. The Blues looked a weary side by the end, reflecting lack of training in recent weeks, and had few answers against a rampant North Inch side.
Dominic O'Connor had given 'Shire a second minute lead after the visitors had won the ball from a centre line scrummage after Kirkcaldy had failed to reach the 10 metre line with the kick-off ball. Generally in the opening stages Kirkcaldy looked the more purposeful side and it was no surprise when stand off Craig Letham levelled the scores five minutes later.
Shortly after Kirkcaldy introduced Stuart Porter at lock for his first appearance of the season and for some minutes the home side looked as if they were on the road to a big score. Porter went ion to make his presence felt with an excellent all round display However concentration slipped, not for the last time in the game, conceding a penalty placed well inside their 22. A clean line-out take and some thin tackling made it easy for Reuben Elley to race to the line for a try converted by O’Connor, which tied up the scores at 10-10.
Greg Wallace slides in for the second try
‘Shire scrum half Gavin Bloice went to the bin for preventing release with twenty four minutes played. Quintan Sanft’s men took quick advantage with a try from Greg Wallace. again converted by Letham.
Once restored to full strength ’Shire hit back after Kirkcaldy No 8 Liam Neilson had been yellow carded with Bloice scoring an unconverted try.
The Blues added to their tally five minutes into the second half. After scrum half Gavin McKenzie had placed a tidy ball into the Perth 22 the home team forced a series of penalties leading to a try from flanker Grant Brooksbank and a 22-15 Kirkcaldy lead.
A two try burst from ’Shire in the space of two minutes turned the game on its head. Prop James Forrester forced his way over following concerted pressure. Then directly from the re-start the visitors ran straight through absent defence for a second try feom full back Ally Whittaker.
Midway through the half Kirkcaldy received another blow. Kurt Littlejohn had been taken out with an illegal tackle which led to a major flare up involving most of the players. After the referee had yellow carded Whittaker for the tackle he showed red to Liam Neilson, presumably for retaliation.
Perthshire made their extra man count after Liam Neilson's red card
With both teams reduced top fourteen men the Blues edged ahead again with a fourth try from Letham but once ‘Shire were restored to full strength the writing was on the wall. The visitors proceeded to make their extra man count and eventually Forrester dotted down for the winning try converted try.
K Littlejohn, C Mann, J Moffat, M Wallace, G Welsh, C Letham, G McKenzie, M Thomson, G Wallace, W Gray, S Orr, S Oliver, G Brooksbank, D Turner, L Neilson
Replacements: - C Wilson, S Porter, R Hancock, C Littlejohn
A Whitelaw, K Doe, D O’Connor, P Saunders, T Pople, S Imo, G Bloice, R Kelso, R Haggard, J Forrester, S Forsyth, A Pattinson, R Elley, J Wade, F McKinnon
Replacements: - R Dougan, D Lewis, D Scott, E Leitch
T McNicol (Lanark)
3 Stuart Porter
2 Grant Brooksbank
1 Craig Letham
11 M Wallace
3 Mann, K Littlejohn, G Wallace, Gray, Letham, Porter
2 Fisher, Girdler, Orr, Thomson, Brooksbank
1 Oliver, Harper, Wilson, McKenzie,. Mangalo