KIRKCALDY 26 DUMFRIES SAINTS 29
The Blues came back to reality on Saturday in the opening league game of the new season after their cup exploits the week before. An second minute Josh Laird try signalled a smart Kirkcaldy start with both backs and forwards carrying a threat. The following 78 minutes shocked Quintan Sanft’s men and their supporters as a well organised Dumfries team turned the screw and fully deserved to claim the full five points on offer
This early offence produced no further Kirkcaldy scoring and gradually the southerners came into contention. The strong defence needed to halt the Dumfries attack was not always present and the Blues were forced into conceding a shoal of penalties. It was no surprise when Dumfries No 8 Calum Smith made a clean mid field break and scrum half Lewis Young was in support to take the scoring pass to touch down t the posts for try easily converted by Alan Birdsall to tie the game with 26 minutes played. A couple of plays later the Dumfries men were ahead with centre Jack Steele on the mark with another Birdsall conversion for a 14-7 visiting lead.
The Kirkcaldy defence had been warned that this Dumfries back line carried a threat whenever they had the ball. They applied themselves but when they had the ball themselves never seemed to carry the same menace, Solo runs from full back Calum Kennedy threatened but they usually petered out through lack of support
Four minutes from half time flanker Jacob Ramsay burst into the game will a bulldozing run down the left wing. Almost at the line he was held up but replacement Greg Wallace was there to take the scoring pass and with a Letham conversion the scores were tied again at 14-14.
The Saints came out of the blocks for the second half the more. purposeful side, handling their way into the Kirkcaldy 22 allowing Steele to glide in for his side’s third try, again converted by Birdsall
Wallace then incurred the referee’s displeasure receiving a yellow card but when he was off Ramsay burst Into the game again to set up Danny Jennings for an unconverted try.
Just back into the game Wallace had another score following a long penalty kicked into the corner. Letham had the conversion restoring the lead to Kirkcaldy at 26-21.
At this stage a Kirkcaldy win was the likeliest result but instead of pressing home their advantage they seemed to lose their sense of purpose and once again gave away too many penalties to surrendering field position to Dumfries. Far too often the Blues were whistled up for offside and on the hour mark Birdsall edged his side closer to victory with a 40 metre kick.
A 67th minute flare up between the two stand offs ended with the Kirkcaldy 10 Craig Letham being given a red card and his opposite number Alan Birdsall a yellow for his part in the fracas.
Dumfries had the initiative on their side and once they worked their way into the Kirkcaldy 22 a try appeared to be inevitable le. With three minutes left, they moved the ball to the left and with the Kirkcaldy cover thin Ewan Miller touched down for the decisive try.
Few would deny that the visitors deserved their win. Kirkcaldy had their chances but certainly did not help themselves Possibly the referee was over fussy but that was no excuse for the loss. Dumfries was a well organised team with a pacy line and an aggressive pack and will be in the promotion mix at the end of the season if this form is maintained.
C Kennedy, A Brooks, S McKervall, J Laird, T Kennedy, C Letham, G McKenzie, D Jennings, C Hamilton, M Saltm S Evans, S Porter,J Ramsay, S Milne, C Mann
Replacements:- G Queen, G Wallace, G Clunas, O Bonner
J Johnstone, R Neill, J Steele, E Miller, R Douglas, A Birdsall, L Young, S Graham, T Martin, C Goldie, D Andrew, W Greene, I_ Carlisle, R Cruickshank, C Smith
Replacements:- S Goodwin, B Milligan, N Brown, R Greenshields
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Jacob Ramsay
2 Josh Laird
1 Seb Evans
5 Jacob Ramsay
3 Timmy Kennedy
2 Josh Laird
1 Seb Evans, Steve Milne