Kirkcaldy 26 Blairgowrie 6
With Madras having withdrawn from the league, Blairgowrie were sitting in the sole relegation spot for Caley Midlands Division Two, 3 points below Kirkcaldy 2’s. This was undoubtedly the biggest fixture of the 2’s season by far. Anything short of victory would result in them having to win the two remaining fixtures away to both Howe 2’s and Morgan.
A full squad assembled at Beveridge park, however the 2’s were short of front row. Thankfully, at the 11 th hour, Ross Girdler agreed to bench having been out injured for the past couple of weeks
A combination of availability and injury has resulted in a total of 65 different players appearing at one point or another for the 2’s in the 14 games so far this season, resulting in obvious difficulties with continuity and consistency.
Conditions were ideal as the game kicked off, and immediately it was obvious that this was going to be a testing day with a number of robust hits going in from both teams. The early stages were played at a frantic pace with both teams finding it difficult to breach their opponents defensive line. Blairgowrie had a greater percentage of possession, and were awarded a penalty in the 9 th min with Kirkcaldy going in from the side. The ball was slotted between the posts, and the Blues were 3 points down.
As the early nerves calmed, Kirkcaldy began to take the game to the opposition. Blairgowrie weren’t going to give in easily however, and they fought for every ball.
As the half progressed, The Blues began to develop some cohesion and made a number of breaks but were stopped short. From a penalty, the ball was worked out to the backs and a strong run from midfield breached the opponents defence however the Blairgowrie full back managed to put in a try saving tackle stopping the Blues 3m short. As the half drew to a close Kirkcaldy were awarded a penalty as Blairgowrie didn’t release in the tackle. The kick sailed over to bring the score to 3-3.
Half-time : Kirkcaldy 2’s 3 Blairgowrie 3
A few minutes into the second half Kirkcaldy were awarded a penalty, which was again successfully kicked, to put Kirkcaldy in the lead for the first time in the game. As Kirkcaldy appeared to gain the upper hand, a series of misdemeanours resulted in a further penalty for Blairgowrie returning parity at 6 points apiece.
Kirkcaldy began to put pressure on the Blairgowrie pack and started to win clean ball, allowing the backs to begin to run the ball. In the 53min the forwards drove the opponents back into their own 22 and recycled quick ball to allow Ryan Murphy to crash over for the first try of the game. A few minutes later Kirkcaldy were awarded another penalty which was converted to take the score to 16-6. The game was still tight and Blairgowrie were determined to compete at every opportunity, however the Blues defence remained composed and matched the opponents in effort and physicality ensuring they weren’t going to be out-muscled.
As the game progressed the Blues again pushed towards the Blairgowrie line, but were thwarted on a number of occasions. However, in the 62 nd minute, there was no stopping Craig Wilson from 8m out as the ball was popped to the blind side from the back of a ruck
With 10mins left on the clock, a combination of determination and quick hands resulted in Stuart Porter stepping in at the corner to give Kirkcaldy a 26-6 lead.
As the clock wound down, Blairgowrie continued to challenge for every ball and their frustration was becoming clear to see. To their credit, Kirkcaldy remained composed and saw out the remaining time with no further score.
Full-time : Kirkcaldy 26 Blairgowrie 6
Having been promoted at the end of last season, this has undoubtedly been a step up in standards for the Kirkcaldy 2’s with 7 of the other teams being first XV’s. Although the league table has the Blues 2’s currently in 8 th position, 4 games have been lost by less than 7 points, and could easily have went either way. Next year we will be more aware of what is required, and with hopefully fewer injuries, and further effort from the squad, we should optimistically be pushing at the other end of the table.
NB Many thanks to all the players throughout the course of the season for the effort put in to ensure we remained in this league !