WHITECRAIGS 31 KIRKCALDY 29
The Blues just failed at the end to secure the winning try which would have sealed victory in this see saw encounter in the sunshine in the south side of Glasgow. For the second time in a month they had the better of the try count by five to four bit still contrived to lose a game which they probably deserved to win.
Although the Whitecraigs forwards visibly tired in the final quarter they retained the ability to exploit Kirkcaldy's defensive insecurity in the face of a pacy three quarter line. This was a day in which attacks clearly had the upper hand against shaky defensive work by both teams.
It was possibly a sign of things to come when the Whitecraigs kick-off ball flew straight into touch, giving Kirkcaldy possession from the resulting centre field scrummage. They worked the ball well into the Whitecraigs half before flanker Rhys Bonner exploded through some half hearted tackling to touch down near the posts with Craig Letham converting. This 7-0 lead lasted only for as long as it took Whitecraigs to win a line-out from the restart an provide the ammunition for bulky second row Ross MacDonald to plough through to score and Stephen Gillies to convert.
The home side seemed to gain confidence from this score and for the next twenty minutes or so much of the rugby was played in the Kirkcaldy half. It was no surprise therefore when they went ahead with another MacDonald try. With Gillies adding the extra points.
Whatever Kirkcaldy lacked elsewhere they weren't short of resilience. Again Rhys Bonner was to to the fore and another of his storming runs brought a second Kirkcaldy try which remained unconverted..
Again no sooner had Whitecraigs re-started than they scored again. Centre Phil Snyman collected an aimless kick, threw off two weak tackles before chipping the advancing cover. He had no difficulty whatsoever in collecting his kick and raced forty metre to score at the posts. Gillies's conversion gave side a 21-12 lead.
Despite this set back Kirkcaldy continued to have the better of things territorially but weren't helped by some wild passing and a series of knock-ons. Eventually this pressure paid off with flanker Rory Brown scoring far out for another unconverted try. Half time arrived with Whitecraigs leading 21-17.
A vigorous Kirkcaldy start to the second half quickly produced results. A long penalty to touch gave them territory from which lock Connor Wood crossed for his side's bonus point try and a 22-21 Kirkcaldy lead. Just afterwards Kirkcaldy suffered a blow when hooker Jack Pow had to go off with a leg injury which at the end proved a critical blow to Kirkcaldy hopes.
The middle portion of the second half saw Whitecraigs regain the initiative as the Kirkcaldy error count mounted. The loss of winger Owen Bonner to the bin when he disrupted a Whitecraigs free kick close to his line added to their difficulties. Just as the Blues though they had played through their numerical advantage a sparkling try regained the lead for Whitecraigs, Off the top of a line -out the ball sped out to Snyman whose pace was too much for the Kirkcaldy defence.
With eight minute to go the Blues hit back with a Conar Littlejohn try converted by Letham thereby regaining the lead at 29-28. Kirkcaldy seemed to be holding out for a win until Whitecraigs forced play into the visitors 22, winning a penalty in front of the posts which Gillies duly potted.
In stoppage time Kirkcaldy put a penalty into touch in the Whitecraigs red zone with every prospect of a drive to the line for the winning score. However with Jack Pow off the field and no experienced thrower available the throw in was off target and Whitecraigs just had to side foot the ball into touch to end the game
Whitecraigs:- S Gillies, R Lee, P Snyman, B Wamburg, S Murchie, S Henderson, C Drummond, A Paterson, M Brown, S Atwell, S Callaghan, R MacDonald, M Christine, A Cunningham, S Pollock
Replacements:- S Adair, N Alexander, B Cunningham
Kirkcaldy:- J Moffat, F Bruce, K ittlejohn, S McKervell, O Bonner, C Letham, G McKenzie, D Jennings, Jack Pow, M Salt, C Wood,M Harper, R Bonner, R Brown, James Pow
Replacements:- G Queen, J Barclay, C Littlejohn, Q Sanft
David Sutherland (ERRS)
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 James Pow
2 Rhys Bonner,
1 Connor Wood
19 Michael Harper, Rhys Bonner
18 Connor Wood
14 Greg Wallace
13 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