In the opening quarter Kelso gave no sign they would be eventually overwhelmed. Making good use of line-out ball won at the tail by Iain Moodie they worked their way deep into Kirkcaldy territory to force a penalty which full back Greg Ponton put outside the right upright.
As the game moved on Kirkcaldy were showing a confidence in attack, seldom seen in this disappointing season. An eager Colin Harvey at scrum half, always ready to break found centre Cameron Goodall who raced around a lethargic Kelso defence for his side’s second try, again converted by Sanft.
Although still secure on their own throw Kelso’s scrummage looked much less certain. They were penalised for an obscure offence near half way allowing Sanft to place the penalty in touch five metres out. From the line-out Kirkcaldy tried to maul the ball over. After three unsuccessful attempts hooker Greg Wallace grabbed the ball and blasted his way over for the third Kirkcaldy try in the 28th minute with Sanft again kicking the conversion..
Greg Wallace in for the third try
Kelso had their best spell of the game in the final ten minutes of the first half and were well worth Andrew Haig’s unconverted try. After this set back Kirkcaldy redoubled their defensive effort knowing that any further Kelso scores would further damage their points differential. They easily held out until the break which was reached with them leading 21-5.
The visitors’ nervousness showed itself at the re-start with the kick-off ball being kicked dead . The Blues took advantage of the half way scrummage and another Harvey snipe put away No 8 Craig Wilson for the bonus try. Sanft’s immaculate conversion extended the home lead to 28-5.
In a dynamic second half performance lock Matt Harvey stood out as the man of the match. His athleticism and strong ball carrying regularly set up his side in attacking positions. Sanft too was also proving to be a hot handful for the Kelso defence who were now being stretched in every direction.
The fifth Kirkcaldy try came directly from scrummage power. The Blues had knocked on close to line and on the Kelso put in the Blues’ shove splintered the visitors’ pack. The referee ordered a re-set but this time it was Kirkcaldy ball. A controlled drive forced the Tweedsiders to retreat rapidly allowing Wilson to pick up and score his second try, again converted by Sanft.
Teenage back rower Dayle Turner had been brought in to the game early in the second half and he made a big contribution to the flair of the side. His opportunism and pace about the field allowed him to skip through a couple of tackles before scoring the sixth Kirkcaldy try in the dying minutes. This time Gavin McKenzie kicked the conversion.
Conor Littlejohn dives over the line for the opening try
This was the sort of form Quintan Sanft has been seeking all season. The Blues will need a repeat at Sunnyside next Saturday and trust that Jed-Forest will deny Kelso even a single point in the derby at Riverside Park.
The photos on this page are by Michael Booth. Click here for more photos from club member Ken Dunn
Kirkcaldy:- C Littlejohn, S Cairns, C Goodall, M Wallace, G McKenzie, Q Sanft, C Harvey, M Thomson, G Wallace, W Gray, S Orr, M Harvey, L Neilson, R van Rensberg, C Wilson
Replacements:- G Mangalo, R McNab, D Turner, K Littlejohn
Kelso:- G Ponton, A Riley, H Lees, G Minto, A Haig, P Hume, A Tait, F Young, C Riddell, I Wallace, B Lyburn, N Loane, L Mitchell, G Riddell, I Moodie
Replacements:- D Cowan, C Renton, L Tarry, C Keen
I Heard (Gala YM)
FFP STAR CHECK
3 Matt Harvey
2 Dayle Turner
1 Conor Littlejohn