KIRKCALDY 80 NEWTON STEWART 19
Kirkcaldy’s arduous pre-season programme paid off with a vengeance at Beveridge Park last Saturday with a twelve try demolition job in the opening round of the National League Cup over the Wigtownshire club, Newton Stewart who were making their first visit to the Lang Toun.
Newton Stewart have been one of the real success stories of Scottish Rugby having been formed as recently as 1984 and had a meteoric rise through the various regional and national divisions to take their place in this season’s National 2 campaign They will be looking for better fortune when they return on league business in the New Year.
An all action start saw Quintan Sanft’s men go ahead before two minutes had gone The ball sped to the right and then back again to the left wing where there was no stopping Timmy Kennedy as he raced in for the first try of the new season. Four minutes later the Newton Stewart pack could not not cope with a Kirkcaldy power surge which took prop Danny Jennings over the line. Craig Letham landed the conversion. The bounce of the ball favoured Kennedy in the eighth minute and there was no stopping him as he strolled in for his side’s third try, again converted by Letham.
By the time Newton Stewart made an impact on the scoreboard in 26 minutes through a Mark McCormick try Kirkcaldy had built up a 26-0 lead through a third Kennedy score and Letham conversion.
While the Newton Stewart backs clearly had pace a plenty their forwards were being beasted by the home pack, especially in the set scrums and were constantly in retreat. Close Kirkcaldy marking also forced the Galloway team into a series of punishing mistakes.
With the Kennedy twins and schoolboy Thomas Glendinning as well as skipper Josh Laird all making their their presence felt through penetrating runs and accurate passing Newton Stewart had few defensive answers and the score built up towards half time.
At the interval the Blues led by a whopping 54-5 and the contest was well beyond recall for Newton Stewart. To their credit they resumed energetically and had a positive spell in the home 22 which tested the Blue defence for the first time. Once this storm had been weathered the Blues were on the march again, culminating in a Struan Robertson try and a 61-5 home lead.
Newton Stewart woes dramatically increased around the 54th minute when they had scorer McCormick and winger Jamie Muir yellow carded in double quick succession leaving the Blues to face thirteen men for nearly ten minutes. Surprisingly they did not exact severe retribution with only tries from Alex Brooks and Seb Evans and a Letham conversion coming in that time.
The returning Stuart Porter, coming off the bench had the twelfth Kirkcaldy try with ten minutes to play but the remaining time was played out in a sense of anti climax. When the crowd might have expected further tries none was forthcoming. Indeed the Blues had two players yellow carded and conceded both a penalty try and a regulation try from David Gaw.
There will be tougher tasks awaiting Kirkcaldy in the months to come but the coaching team will derive satisfaction from this performance. A dominant set piece allied to much slicker back play than was the case last season suggests there will be something to cheer on most Saturdays.