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KIRKCALDY FAIL TO START
Written by John Methven   
Monday, 03 April 2017
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Photos by Ken Dunn
KELSO 36 KIRKCALDY 12

While Kelso's championship aspirations may have gone in recent weeks they were still strong favourite to claim the second promotion place when Kirkcaldy arrived at Poynder Park.

Kirkcaldy coach Quintan Sanft was forced to make several late changes with prop Ross Girdler injured in the warm up and centre Josh Laird not having recovered from a dead leg sustained the previous Saturday. With four other experienced props unavailable the Blues began with Gerard Queen and Marcus Salt, with only a handful of starts between them, in the front row.

Although the Blues came within a score of claiming a losing bonus point in the final quarter two late converted tries gave Kelso the margin of victory their overall superiority deserved. Kirkcaldy had to struggle all through to win a reasonable share of the ball but its slow delivery regularly blunted the attack.

As was the case against Peebles the previous week, aimless kicking from hand constantly gave away hard earned possession and presented Kelso with opportunities to counter-attack Unforced errors also did not help the Blues with several penalties conceded when they were within striking distance of the Kelso line.

While the Tweedsiders were worthy winners and should now retain second place in the table their performance was far from flawless and on this showing may well struggle in a higher division. Their error count may not have been as high as Kirkcaldy's but they exposed themselves to counter-attack which a stronger side would have punished.

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Photos by Ken Dunn
The home side made the most of their kick-off ball pinning the Blues into their 22 for several minutes before stand off Andrew Skeen placed a neat cross kick in the path of winger Gregg Minto who easily out jumped his opposite number in the corner to claim the first try in the fourth minute.

Kirkcaldy had their chances to score in these early stages but coughed up the ball when within striking distance on two occasions. Kelso looked dangerous whenever in possession and Kirkcaldy had to defend strongly for lengthy periods. When a relieving penalty failed to make touch the ball came back at pace for a second Minto try converted by Phil Hume.
 
The Blues made amends for earlier fluffed chances on the half hour mark with lock Connor Wood emerging from a driven line-out to claim a try converted by Craig Letham. Any chance of the visitors further decreasing their deficit disappeared when Kelso winger Arran Jackson won a hotly contested kick and chase to win the touch for his side's third try converted by Hume making the score 19-7 which stood until half time.

Although Kelso had the better of things in the third quarter while increasing their lead with a fourth try from lock Donald Seed, the game was punctuated with all sorts of errors, particularly from Kirkcaldy, and presented a fairly unconvincing spectacle.

The visitors had centre Kurt Littlejohn binned after a series of infringements in their own 22 but managed to claw back a try in the 65th minute from in form winger Finlay Bruce.

For a brief period it seemed that a third Kirkcaldy try would take them within losing bonus point territory. A fine scoring chance occurred in the 70th minute after some good ball retention only for a Blue forward to be penalised a a ruck inches from the home line.

Kirkcaldy received a second yellow card with Michael Harper binned in the closing minutes and while his side were short handed Kelso ran in two more tries taking their tally to thirty six points and a well deserved win against a Kirkcaldy team which hardly left the starting block
 

TEAMS

Kelso: G Ponton, A Jackson, A Roberts, P Hume, G Minto, A Skeen, A Tait, B Roberton, J Chambers, R Morgan, A Wallace, D Seed, K Mein, A Johnston, I Wallace
Replacements:- A Ford, T Wichary, B Waddell, A Haig
 
Kirkcaldy:- J Moffat, F Bruce, K Littlejohn, C Littlejohn, O Bonner, C Letham, G McKenzie, G Queen, Jack Pow, M Salt, C Wood, M Harper, R Bonner, R Brown, James Pow
Replacements:- S McLean, J Barclay, S McKervell

REFEREE

C Clark (WSRRS)

STAR CHECK

3 Michael Harper
2 Connor Wood
1 Rhys Bonner
 

Cumulative

19 Michael Harper
17 Rhys Bonner, 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
 
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Last Updated ( Monday, 03 April 2017 )
 
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This Week's Fixtures

League Table

BT National League Division 2

TeamPlPts
Cartha QP 22 97
Kelso 22 96
Peebles
 22 86
GHK 22 81
Aberdeenshire 22 66
Preston Lodge 22 61
Biggar 22 56
West of Scotland 22 52
Kirkcaldy 22 45
Whitecraigs 22 40
Ardrossan Acad 22 28
Hillhead Jordanhill 22 1

View full league table on scottishrugby.org

Star Check

FIFE TROPHY CENTRE

Match 25 v Ardrossan Acad

3 James Pow
2 Kurt Littlejohn
1 Michael Harper

See Cumulative Stats

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