Royal Dick Vet College (5) v Kirkcaldy Ladies (26)

The penultimate game of the first half of the Tennent’s East Region (Women’s) league saw the Kirkcaldy Ladies venture over the Forth to take on an unknown RDVC.  Kirkcaldy have done fairly well this season, winning 3 out of their 4 games but were going into this this one on the back of a 0 v 34 defeat against Grangemouth.  The big issue for the team and coaching staff are the mounting injury list, so Kirkcaldy travelled with 17 players which included a couple that had come out of retirement (does any player really retire?) to play.  The weather was grey but cool, rain threatened but stayed away and the large Peffermill pitch was set to test legs and lungs.

The 1st half saw Kirkcaldy score some nice worked try’s.  The team has been working hard in training to create space and try and run the defenders about and this was achieved by a dominate scrum platform and competing tactically at the breakdown. After some good powerful runs by the Kirkcaldy forwards and slick hands to the backs which resulted in Nikki Redpath outpacing the RDVC wingers to score a brace of try’s.   The later part of the half, saw RDVC play some nice phases of rugby to keep Kirkcaldy on their toes and under pressure, almost capitalising on several lose balls.  The final score of the half went to Despite these scores, it seemed the Ladies were almost trying too hard at times and could have found themselves with several more scores but for the small errors and solid defence of RDVC.  Score at the end of the half was 0 v 12

The 2nd half started with some more sustained Kirkcaldy pressure, but again small errors or good defending meant the attacks went unrewarded.  However better line speed saw Kirkcaldy camped in the RDVC 22 for a good period of time.  Kirkcaldy looked like scoring but a deliberate knock on 5m from the try line resulted in a penalty.  Hanging around for no one, Linda Morrison the scrum half went quick, recycled the ball with Emma Dyce taking possession and eventually powering over the line for the score.

Play had to be stopped after the restart as two RDVC players had a nasty head on head collision whilst trying to stop a rampaging run by Emma Buckley after she gathered the kickoff just outside her own 22.  Not be outdone, but rather unfortunately for RDVC as they had made a break through the the Kirkcaldy defence, play was stopped as one of Kirkcaldy’s wingers, Ali Kinross, suffered a broken ankle during an innocuous tackle.  Here’s hoping a speedy recovery for all the wounded, walking or otherwise.  Several players had to be rejigged and that meant some players testing themselves at their alternate positions (just as well the team sheet remained fluid).  Credit to 2nd row Kerry Russell,  who had her first experience of being in the starting 15, gave it her all throughout the match and slipped seamlessly into the hooker position when needed. After play resumed, Kirkcaldy remained in the RDVC half for some time before a turn over ball saw some good wide drives by the forwards.  A solid run by Mhairi Cockburn saw her offload to Emma Dyce who touched down for another score.

The final 5 minutes of the game saw Kirkcaldy under a bit of pressure in their own 22 as the legs tired and fatigue set in.   RDVC capitalised on a clearance from the Kirkcaldy 22 and made a great run before getting stopped short by a high tackle.  The penalty was taken quickly and scored in a much celebrated and deserved try by the RDVC players. With that, the ref blew for full time and the teams retired for a photo opportunity.  Score was 5 v 26 to Kirkcaldy.

Team captain Louise Heggie was especially pleased with the win ‘it was mentally tough coming into this game after our defeat to Grangemouth, which to be honest, is a hard knock to take as we’d being going so well previously.  We didn’t know what to expect today and RDVC made it difficult right to the very end.  80 mins with limited subs…all the players gave it everything and on such a large pitch we’ll all be feeling it later.  We’ll review the game this week, work on what’s need at training and then we are away to Livingston Ladies this Sun’.

Father and son duo Dave and Sean McKervail are the coaching team and have been pleased with the progress the Ladies have made this year.  Sean is the Strength, Conditioning and Backs coach and he praised the Ladies saying ‘it was great to see the backs moves being used and the Ladies having the confidence to decide and execute them as they saw fit.  It shows me that they are getting more aware how to play what’s in front of them’.  Head coach Dave said ‘at the end of last season we had a number of senior players retire.  An active recruitment drive by the team saw around 10 new players pull on a Kirkcaldy jersey, and for some, this is their first time they’ve played.  Our aim this year was to bed these players in, give them the confidence to play and to develop them in alternative positions’.  The game today was always going be tough with our injuries and lack of subs and the girls will have certainly have felt the 80 mins, but we stuck to our game plan for the most part, and came away with the win.  Credit to RDVC though, they didn’t make it easy with some resolute defending, they stuck in right to the end, resulting in a well-deserved try’.

The result of the game puts Kirkcaldy Ladies in 3rd position in the Tennent’s East (Women’s) League with a rescheduled fixture against Livingston to be played on Sun 20 Oct.