MUSSELBURGH 37 KIRKCALDY 7
Musselburgh, going strong amongst the promotion contenders from Championship B, would have posed a real challenge for a full strength Kirkcaldy. Coach Quintan Sanft faced another problem with a host of players unavailable for a variety of call off reasons, including work, suspension, injury and social arrangements, In these circumstances he had to dig deep to patch together a squad for this final game of 2012.
There was also some doubt as to whether the game would go ahead with torrential rain forecast. In the event it was played on a reasonable surface although a bit muddy in places. Altogether this was far from the ideal preparation for a tough league game against a well prepared Musselburgh side.
Contrary to expectation Kirkcaldy made the livelier start and a penalty award sailed just past the Musselburgh upright. The Blues gave little away in the early stages and even managed to steal a couple of line-outs. Musselburgh for their part whenever they had the ball over elaborated and made little of their possession. They had to wait until the 19th minute before the first crack appeared in the Kirkcaldy defence and produced a scoring pass foe No 8 Steven Ketchin.
As the game progressed the Kirkcaldy scrummage showed increasing signs of weakness, especially on their own ball with two novices in the second row struggling to make an impression. As the half hour mark approached Musselburgh were really exerting authority as Kirkcaldy tackling standards slipped. When a searching Musselburgh kick produced a Kirkcaldy knock on, first phase possession from the scrummage almost produced a try but the score was only delayed. In trying to stop the try the visitors conceded a penalty kicked by full back Lance Gahan.
The re-start found Kirkcaldy in dream land and dreadful first up tackling gifted Musselburgh another try scored from flanker Michael Lamb converted by Gahan to make the score 15-0. Almost at half time Kirkcaldy had another chance to open their account from a penalty in front of the Musselburgh posts. They chose to tap only to lose control and present another Christmas gift to Musselburgh who ran away for another try from skipper William Fleming. Leaving the interval score 20-0.
In the forty five minutes another piece of shoddy Kirkcaldy play gave Musselburgh a line-out on the visitors’ 22 from which the ball was mauled on to the line with centre Andrew Cook getting in for the another unconverted try. Adding to gathering Kirkcaldy gloom the early darkening skies meant that the floodlights had to be switched on
Kirkcaldy despair lifted a few minutes later when tyro lock Robbie McNab appeared in space with the ball and sprinted in for an excellent try. This was as good as it got for the Blues who for the next twenty minutes had to endure a pummelling as Musselburgh dominated all round. However in this time the Stoneyhill side only managed to add two more tries from Michael Roy and Ryan Hook taking their tally to 37. Kirkcaldy made some spirited efforts to redeem themselves in the closing stages as they established themselves in the home 22 and just failed to score another try.
This strong finish should not mask a sorry Kirkcaldy display of weak scrummaging, missed tackles and tactical ineptitude which did nothing to further the reputation of Kirkcaldy rugby. All the players, both those who played and those who called off, should now consider the standards expected of them, not just on the field but also at training and in match preparation.
L Gahan, R Hook, M Cook, W Todd, P Davis, D O’Hagan, D Ritchie, F Sutherland, M Brierley, C McLean, W Fleming, M Roy, G Bowman, A Lamb, S Ketchin
Replacements: - N McNairn, N Hogg, R Lovett, G Leitch
K Littlejohn, G Welsh, M Wallace, J Moffat, C Mann, C Letham, G McKenzie, M Thomson, G Brooksbank, G Wallace, R McNab, M Brooks, D Guthrie, D Turner, M Harvey
Replacements: - R Lithgow, A Raeside, C Littlejohn
G Whitecross (RAF Lossiemouth)
3 Mark Wallace
2 David Guthrie
1 Craig Letham
14 M Wallace
3 Mann, Littlejohn, G Wallace, Gray, Porter
2 Fisher, Girdler, Orr, Thomson, Brooksbank, Guthrie
1 Oliver, Harper, Wilson, McKenzie,. Mangalo