KIRKCALDY 24 HAMILTON 48
Outflanked regularly and outplayed mostly the Blues came a poor second to National 2 rivals Hamilton Bulls in last Saturday’s National League Cup tie at Beveridge Park.
What had been forecast a closely contested tie became almost a runaway in the final quarter as the Lanarkshire side dominated
After a strong start Kirkcaldy quickly faded as their early try from No 8 Chris Mann was wiped out in the 18th minute. By then Hamilton had territorial advantage, coming close to a try. In attempting to stop this onslaught Mann fell foul of the referee, earning himself a yellow card. Instead of taking the resulting penalty the Bulls chose to scrummage it in front of the posts and swift delivery released full back Ross Jameson to dash in to score. There was no conversion as there was for a second Hamilton try from centre Adam Ryan.
Once Mann was back on, the Blues posed a threat again and with captain Josh Laird prominent scoring chances unfolded. From a powerful run from flanker Jacob Ramsay, who swept away several Hamilton defenders, out popped a pass for a second Kirkcaldy try from Laird. A Finlay Smith conversion tied the scores at 12-12
Hamilton had a pace and energy about their play that was stretching the Kirkcaldy defence and in the wide channels the Blues were found wanting. Andrew Crawford’s try on the left wing restored the Hamilton lead but in an isolated flurry prop Danny Jennings eased over to keep the Blues into the game.
Deep into added time Hamilton confirmed their superiority with a fourth try, A loose kick to touch saw Hamilton pocket the line-out ball and drive to the line for a another try from hooker Max Churlish converted by Owen McLeish. This set back left the Blues trailing 17-24 at the interval.
The tie effectively escaped Kirkcaldy’s grasp within seven minutes of the restart, again resulting from defensive shortcomings There was a big gap on Hamilton’s right and when Crawford backed up a McLeish break he went in unopposed, Minutes later another defensive mix up saw Ross Inglis go in for his side’s sixth try.
While Hamilton continued to run the show the Blues briefly interrupted their progress with another Laird try and Letham conversion. In the closing minutes Hamilton winger Ben Plant further exposed Kirkcaldy shortcomings thanks to speedy ball movement drawing in the cover.
Hamilton will return to Beveridge Park in two weeks time on league business. They will now approach this game with added confidence as Kirkcaldy ponder their defensive organisation. Quintan Snaft’s side are capable of much better than this and will look for the necessary improvements by then.
Kirkcaldy: C Letham, C Littlejohn, S McKervall, J Laird, A Brooks, F Smith, G McKenzie, D Jennings, G Clunas, G Queen, C Wood, R Bonner, J Ramsay, K Mitchell, C Mann
Replacements: R Lithgow, S Porter, S Robertson, T Glendinning, T Muir, O Bonner
Hamilton: R Jamieso, B Plant, A Ryan, R Inglis, A Crawford, O McLeish, A Sinclair, S eggate, B Simpson, G Findlay, M Crumlish, E Ferrie, G Brodie, S Alexander, G Adams
Replacements: G Jones, G Richardson, J Selfridge, S Turnbull, R McQueen
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Josh Laird
2 Jacob Ramsay
1 Connor Wood
10 Josh Laird
8 Thomas Glendining
5 Danny Jennings, Connor Wood
3 Timmy Kennedy
2 Chris Mann
1 Seb Evans, Steve Milne, Owen Bonner, Sean McKervall, Rhys Bonner