Not only the Kirkcaldy rugby community but a much wider circle of friends and colleagues received the news last Friday of the sudden death of the former 1 st XV captain Steve MacKenzie at the age of 57.
Steve had his introduction to rugby in Kirkcaldy High School where he was a pupil between 1971 and 1977. As an outstanding schoolboy player he was welcomed into the ranks of the rugby club in the 1977-78 season. His pace as a winger quickly marked him out as worthy of senior honours. Within two seasons as a 1 st XV player he was selected for the North and Midlands XV which played New Zealand at Linksfield Stadium in Aberdeen in December 1978.
A series of injuries blunted his career for several seasons but in the later years of his playing days he re-invented himself as a highly effective stand off and a consistent goal kicker He captained the 1 st XV for three seasons from 1986 to 1989, leading the side into the second tier of Scottish rugby after an unbeaten Division Three campaign.
Perhaps his most memorable goal kicking feat came in his first year of captaincy. In January 1987 against Dundee High School FP the Blues surrendered a 15-0 lead to go 16-15 down with seconds left. Meanwhile MacKenzie was languishing out on the wing after the recurrence of a hamstring injury when in the last play of the game the referee awarded Kirkcaldy a penalty 45 metres out and close to the touchline. None of the fit players was prepared to take the kick and Steve had to limp across the field. After placing the ball he turned and faced up before delivering an almighty wallop which saw the ball fly between the uprights at the Balwearie Road end before collapsing in a heap
Steve's talents lay well beyond the rugby pitch, In more youthful days he had success as a sprinter and later golf became his main sporting passion. With a rich singing voice he appeared regularly in productions of both Fife Opera and Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society.
He qualified as a dental surgeon at Edinburgh University in 1982 and from 1984 until his death was in the Harper Bell practice in Redburn Wynd. Surviving him are wife Anna, sons Robin and Ross, sister Helen and brother Ken and his family.
His funeral service is in Linktown Church where he served as an elder on Friday 17 March at 10am with interment at Auchtertool Church where his late father, Rev Donald MacKenzie was minister