GHK 32 KIRKCALDY 10
Two early reverses with only eleven minutes gone set the tone for an underwhelming Kirkcaldy display at Old Anniesland last Saturday. GHK’s pacy back line carried too much fire power for a listless visiting side which did not help themselves, conceding, once more, a shoal of needless penalties and in the closing stages two yellow cards.
Few would argue that the Glasgow side did not deserve the twenty two point margin of victory. Apart from a brief spell midway through the first half Kirkcaldy failed to dictate the pattern of play. Although Kirkcaldy edged the set scrums they butchered too many line-outs with crooked throw-ins. Generally their possession was laboured at best and they had few ideas about threatening a well organised defence.
Skipper Josh Laird, at the heart of the Kirkcaldy attack and the scorer of his side’s only try had to go off before half time with a recurrence of his old hip injury and that was a sad blow for Kirkcaldy hopes. Young centre Thomas Gledinning was left to carry this burden and he acquitted himself well.
With replacement Timmy Kennedy replacing Laird some extra pace was injected into the side but generally the Old Anniesland team carried much more threat, especially former Scotland player Jack Cuthbert, a real power house in the centre.
The Blues’ cause was helped with a Finlay Smith a penalty on the half hour mark narrowing the Kirkcaldy deficit to 12-10 but that proved to be the final Kirkcaldy score. There were signs then that there would be a real contest as the Kirkcaldy pack was really asserting itself.
In too many games this season Kirkcaldy’s kicking has let them down. with four minutes to go before half time a Smith penalty failed to cross the touch line and GHK immediately ran it back at them. Once Cuthbert powered through flimsy defence for his side’s third try converted by himself. Three minutes later the game went beyond Kirkcaldy’s reach as home centre Cameron Hughes waltzed past the middle of disorganised defence for the bonus point try. When the half time whistle blew Kirkcaldy were 26-10 down.
Territorially Kirkcaldy probably had the better of a fractured second half with frequent stoppages for injuries and warnings to players about a multitude of offences. Probably if the referee has issued yellow cards for persistent infringement early on it would have tidied up proceedings. Once GHK had suffered three front row injuries, scrummages had to go uncontested and that cost Kirkcaldy the strongest bit of their armoury.
Kirkcaldy certainly had scoring chances but regular fluffs close to the line cost them quite a bit and certainly would have made for a much closer contest.
Two late Cuthbert penalties emphasised his side’s overall superiority amid Kirkcaldy gloom which was further emphasised, going down to thirteen men in the last five minutes with both Gavin McKenzie and Owen Bonner both receiving yellow cards.
Kirkcaldy:- C Pilmer, A Brooks, T Glendinning, J Laird, O Bonner, F Smith, G McKenzie, D Jennings, C Hamilton, M Salt. C Wood. S Robertson, G Clunas, S Milne, C Mann
Replacements:- G Wallace, G Queen S Mitchell, T Kennedy
GHK:-D Campbell, B Hutton, J Cuthbert, C Hughes, G McKirdy, E Walker, B Frame, C Brown, F Haston, K Boles, C Hynd, W Gilbert, K Bryce, H Parker, C Rintoul
Replacements:- S Bell, C Woolard, F Wallace, B Forsyth
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Thomas Glendinning
2 Danny Jennings
1 Connor Wood
7 Jacob Ramsay
6 Thomas Glendinning
4 Josh Laird
3 Timmy Kennedy
2 Marcus Salt, Danny Jennings
1 Seb Evans, Steve Milne Chris Mann, Owen Bonner, Connor Wood