KIRKCALDY 27 PEEBLES 34
In the season's concluding home game Kirkcaldy outscored their opponents by five tries to four but thanks to an impeccable kicking display by Peebles stand off Greg Raeburn the Tweedsiders took the honours.
In a game full of running and counter attacking Peebles stayed the course better and, unlike the earlier game between the teams at the Gytes last November, were in charge in the closing stages and deserved their win
Defensively, Peebles also had the edge, snuffing out many Kirkcaldy moves in their infancy. On the other hand Kirkcaldy's first line defence left a lot to be desired which gave the Peebles attack a freedom the home side rarely had.
Kirkcaldy stand off and principal goal kicker Craig Letham was an absentee because of a hand injury and player coach Quintan Sanft had to slot into his old position. Letham's tactical kicking was sadly missed and far too often Kirkcaldy possession was kicked away to set up a counter attack.
The game opened at a fast pace in perfect conditions with Kirkcaldy just having territorial advantage. There were opportunities at both ends before home prop Danny Jennings crashed over in the tenth minute after two earlier chances hadn't been taken. The fairly straight forward conversion was off target.
A Raeburn penalty narrowed Peebles's deficit but minutes later they had a blow when lock Callum Leckey went off with a serious looking leg injury. The pendulum was swinging Kirkcaldy's way with a series of serious attacks spear headed by Josh Laird. However they fell to a sucker punch when they lost control in the Peebles half. The ball was whipped away and a mini break by lock Ross Brown fed centre Callum Anderson who went all the way and with Raeburn converting Peebles were now ahead
lead for their side.
The attack minded Kirkcaldy team quickly responded to this set back and after some impressive running, centre Kurt Littlejohn touched down for another unconverted try tying the scores at 10-10 after 22 minutes of play.
Two minutes later Kirkcaldy produced their try of the season to regain the lead. Winger Finlay Bruce swept up the ball in his own half, nearly sixty metres out. With changes of pace and direction, shrugging off several tackles, he ran in for a spectacular score. Jamie Moffat added the conversion points.
Following another Raeburn penalty, Peebles produced their own gem. The Blues lost control in the visitors' 22 and full back Steven Hamilton snapped up the ball and deceiving several Kirkcaldy defenders found himself on his own and raced away for a try near the posts.
With the referee playing added time before half time the Blues won the bonus point try with lock Michael Harper getting the touch after a driving maul had taken the ball over the line. Again the try remained unconverted but the Blues led 22-20 at the break.
Seven minutes into the second half a searing break from Laird paved the way for a second Littlejohn try which extended the Kirkcaldy lead to 27-20.
The final quarter belonged to Peebles as the earlier Kirkcaldy intensity fell away. Blue penalties were squandered and tackles came short as the chances of a home win receded. Peeble replacement Euan Jackson touched down at the posts following a lost Kirkcaldy line-out and another Raeburn conversion tied the scores.
Kirkcaldy were by no means out of things in the closing quarter but the game was there for Peebles to lose and after a long build up Brown scored the decisive try. The Blues huffed their way through the closing stages but Peebles had taken charge and were in no mood to let the game slip.
Kirkcaldy:- J Moffat, O Bonner, K Littlejohn, J Laird, F Bruce,Q Sanft, G McKenzie, D Jennings, Jack Pow, R Girdler, C Wood, M Harper, R Bonner, R Brown, James Pow
Replacements:- M Salt, S McLean, C McConnell, C Littlejohn
Peebles:- S Hamilton, C Blyth, M Brown, C Anderson, S Stoddart, G Raeburn, M Johnstone, C Togia, R McConnell, J Menzies, R Brown, C Lecke, R Guiney, D Hall, K Brown.
Replacements:-R Stewart, W Brown, E Jackson
REFEREE M Todd (BRRS)
3 Finlay Bruce
2 Josh Laird
1 Michael Harper
16 Rhys Bonner, Michael Harper
15 Connor Wood
14 Greg Wallace
10 James Pow
9 Kurt Littlejohn
8 Finlay Bruce
6 Liam Neilson, Craig Letham
5 Owen Bonner, Josh Laird
4 Gavin McKenzie, Finlay Smith
3 Conar Littlejohn, Steve Mitchell, Stuart McLean
2 Jack Pow
1 George Mangalo, Danny Jennings, Rory Brown