The away dressing room at the Gytes resounded to a rousing chorus of Geordie Munro a few minutes after the final whistle to celebrate a hard fought Kirkcaldy win.
They had travelled to the Borders a few short of their optimum line-up and then flanker Rhys Bonner suffered a concussive knock in the warm up although he managed a few minutes at the start. Another change was at scrum half where Gavin McKenzie was also excluded because of another head injury Into his place stepped head coach Quintan Sanft.
Over the years the Gytes has been a difficult venue for Kirkcaldy to win points. In an attempt to change this unsatisfactory situation the Blues began with heavy energy, pressurising the Peebles line. After having been repulsed they won a penalty, confidently stroked home by Finlay Smith. In the opening quarter Kirkcaldy were having the better of the penalty count. In the 14th minute found themselves with a line out 5 metres out after stand off Craig Letham had kicked a penalty into the corner. Peebles offered little resistance and Marcus Salt charged over for an unconverted try and an 8-0 away lead.
The Blues continued to dominate territory and possession but suffered several annoying break downs before captain Josh Laird sailed through for a try converted by Smith.
Visits by Peebles to the Kirkcaldy 22 had been few and far between in the first half hour but were encouraged when they progressed deep into the Kirkcaldy half. Having been awarded an easy penalty they chose to tap to the left and the ball found lock Richard Hamilton who stormed over.
Just before the interval Feebles centre Murray Brown went to the bin for a high tackle and from the resulting penalty Letham increased his side’s lead to 18-5
Still shorthanded just after half time Peebles made the most of a Kirkcaldy mistake on their goal line to push over with replacement Patrick Hamilton credited with the unconverted try.
A late tackle on Finlay Smith provoked a major flare up. What should have been a penalty to Kirkcaldy saw the award going to Peebles and yellow cards issued to Connor Wood and Peebles William Aiken , neither of whom seemed to have little to do with the trouble going to the bin. That penalty found touch on the Kirkcaldy 5 metre line and from the line-out Richard Harrison went over for his second try converted by Greg Raeburn
which reduced the Kirkcaldy lead to a single point.
These reverses summoned a strong Kirkcaldy response with the forwards dipping deep into the energy bank. An eight point turn round saw the Kirkcaldy lead increase to 28-17. thanks to a penalty and converted try double from Finlay Smith.
The game’s pace was increasing by the minute as play moved up and down the Gytes field with a score possible at either end. Peebles snapped up their chance first after a prolonged build up through multi cycles No 8 Kieran Brown touched down.
In the 76th minute Peebles lost control and Kirkcaldy won a penalty 40 metre out. Letham’s kick bisected the uprights putting the Blues a vital eight points in front at 31-22. Much of the remaining time which included eight extra stoppage minutes saw a Peebles blitz on the Kirkcaldy line. There were no slackers in the Kirkcaldy team as they battled for nearly ten minutes to protect territory
They seemed to have achieved their objective when awarded a penalty in their 22. However they lost the resulting line-out and Peebles regained possession leading to a Donald Anderson try converted by Raeburn. That kick was followed by the no side whistle.
Kirkcaldy away wins never seem to come easily. At Newton Stewart three weeks they had to battle on their goal line for well over five minutes to secure a one point lead. This time it was not so close but it demanded an equally determined effort in which lock Stuart Porter in his return to the starting line up really excelled while Quintan Sanft,now past veteran stage, expertly directly operations from scrum half.
Peebles:- J Mathews, D Collins, D Anderson, S Stoddard, G Raeburn, D Wills, N Hogarth, R Stewart, J Menzies, R Reed, R Harrison, R Maciver, S Hunter, K Brown
Replacements:- W Aitken, P Harrison, P Guiney, D Edwards
Kirkcaldy:- F Smith, C Littlejohn, T Glendinning, J Laird, O Bonner, C Letham, Q Sanft, D Jennings, C Hamilton, M Salt, C Wood, S Porter, R Bonner, S Milne, C Mann
Replacements:- G Wallace, G Queen, K Mitchell, A Brooks
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Stuart Porter
2 Thomas Glendinning
1 Craig Letham
3 Josh Laird 3 Marcus Salt
2 Jacob Ramsay 2 Josh Laird
1 Connor Wood 1 Rhys Bonner
11 Jacob Ramsay
10 Josh Laird Thomas Glendinning
5 Danny Jennings, Marcus Salt, Connor Wood
3 Timmy Kennedy, Stuart Porter
2 Chris Mann
1 Seb Evans, Steve Milne, Owen Bonner, Sean McKervall Rhys Bonner, Craig Letham