Kirkcaldy U15/U16 43 vs Hilfoots & Bannockburn 17
The start of spring may have been greeted with sub-zero temperatures, strong winds and snow flurries but the sun finally shone on the Kirkcaldy U15/ U16 squad. After strong performances since Christmas the players were rewarded with the win that their efforts have deserved. The league fixture against Hillfoots and Bannockburn in November had remained in the balance until after half time, and today’s friendly gave the strengthened Kirkcaldy squad a chance to see how they had developed in the interim.
The opening exchanges were even, with both sides coping well with the difficult conditions. The pattern that became established was Kirkcaldy supremacy in the set scrum and lineout balanced by the visitors’ superiority in the loose. The Blues had a tendency to develop strong attacking positions and then lose the ball to more determined rucking from their opponents.
Most of the play, however, was taking place in the visitors half of the pitch, helped by the strong wind in Kirkcaldy’s favour. A rare Hillfoots attack was stopped well by Stuart with a fine tackle on the wing, causing the ball to be knocked forward.
The Kirkcaldy pressure eventually led to the opening score as Ross secured the ball from a lineout and drove through 3 tackles to touch down between the posts. This gave Ryan a straightforward conversion that he slotted despite the difficult conditions.
The score was increased soon afterwards with Ross again showing great strength and determination to drive through and reach out over the line. This time the conversion was more difficult and flew just wide.
A weaker side may have folded after going behind but Hillfoots attacked strongly from the restart and forced the home side back into their own 22. A couple of wayward passes increased the pressure and Hillfoots were awarded a scrum. Two phases later, they recycled well to score to the left of the posts, although the conversion was missed.
Shortly after a good move saw the visitors move the ball quickly wide and their left wing showed great strength to power over on the left for an unconverted score.
As Jacob and Callum entered the fray the Kirkcaldy resistance strengthened, with Callum stopped just short of the line on his first touch of the ball and Angus only just bundled into touch as he looked set to score.
With the score poised at 12-10, there was all to play for in the second half and Kirkcaldy had the wind against them. A great solo try from Callum, bursting through tackles in centre field to touch down, eased nerves and the Blues pulled clear with a third try from Ross followed by two successive scores from Jacob, using his strength to power first through the centre and then down the left wing. Ryan adapted to the conditions well to convert two of these 4 scores and the Blues had a first victory of the season in their sights.
Once again, however, Hillfoots showed their mettle, winning the ball on the left and driving to the try line. A try saving tackle from Josh held them up but the ball was recycled well and they scored beneath the posts, leaving the kicker a straight-forward shot to add the extras.
Fittingly, the last word went to Kirkcaldy in the shape of a fourth try for Ross who, once again, seemed to take half the opposing pack with him as he drove through and touched down. Ryan added an excellent conversion and the final whistle blew (to the great relief of the numbed spectators).
A deserved first win against good opposition was marked by the strength in depth the squad has now developed. It was a shame that not all the players got as much game time as they deserved but there will be plenty of opportunity for all to get more match time in the next few weeks.
Tries: Ross Sinclair (4); Jacob (2); Callum (1). Conversions: Ryan (4)
Squad: Ross Aitken, Josh Barclay, Jo Collins, Matt Collins, Iain Duff, Joe Finnie, Dave Fleming, Austin Glass, Stuart Greens, Callum Greig, Max Hadoke, Richard Jones, Angus Moyes, James Pow, Ben Ramsay, Jacob Ramsay, Mitch Rigby, Harry Scott, Benjamin Simpson, Ross Sinclair, Greg Stewart, Connor Wallace, Ryan Wallace, Aidan Wiseman.