KIRKCALDY 38 GHK 32
A blistering blue power surge overturned a 17-3 GHK lead on the half hour mark of this highly competitive encounter at Beveridge Park. Bristling with power and pace the always inventive GHK swept away the Blues in a startling opening. By the 30th minute they had secured the four try bonus point and looked well on the way to securing their fourth consecutive win over Kirkcaldy.
The Blues rarely left their own territory in this first phase of the game. Trying to play out of defence their handling proved fragile, often giving GHK easy possession to bring their own offence quickly into action. The visitors’ livewire scrum half Hugo Anderson, with his darting runs and quick thinking, proved a real thorn in the Kirkcaldy defence. Strong also through the centre, GHK easily set up overlaps and with just over a minute played centre Fraser Gosse opened the scoring with Danny Campbell converting for a 7-0 lead. The Blues may well have been shocked by this early reverse but worse was to follow in the tenth minute. Tapping a penalty, Anderson found support aplenty allowing full back Blair Forsyth on his own to race in for a second GHK try.
Nearly a quarter of the game had gone before there was any significant Kirkcaldy attacking move. Full back Finlay Smith’s dazzling run took play well into the GHK 22 before the Glasgow team conceded a penalty, kicked by Smith. Undeterred, GHK hit back and after a longish advantage had been played they kicked to the 5 metre line from which hooker Alex McGuire drove over.
Kirkcaldy had few chances to make use of their scrummage power up to this point and now 17-3 down they had to do something to prevent a drubbing by a side which attacked with accuracy from any position. Salvation came in the form a scrummaged penalty which enabled Greg Wallace to drive through a mass of bodies for his side’s first try, converted by Smith. 17-10 was a bit more respectable but again Anderson tapped a penalty in his own half to set up another Forsyth try, which like the last two was not converted.
Just before the interval GHA centre Cameron Hughes was sent to the sin-bin and the Blues made the most of this bonus. George Mangalo was brought on to bolster the scrummage and secured a second forward originated try credited to scrum half Scott Anderson, again converted by Smith. This left GHK with a 22-17 lead at the turn round.
Another Smith penalty kept the scoreboard moving in Kirkcaldy’s favour until an explosive run from 30 metres out by Number 8 Matt Harvey. The navy man swept away would be tacklers and raced in for his side’s third try, giving the Blues a lead for the first time. At this stage there were still 24 minutes and an engrossing finale was set up with the Kirkcaldy pack now firing on all cylinders. Time and again the GHK set piece was splintered and with a series of superb driving mauls the game was there for Kirkcaldy to win.
The Blues were now parked in the GHK 22 and with the visitors regularly infringing, a penalty try was almost inevitable. The 63rd minute award put Kirkcaldy into a 32-22 lead and with a bonus point now assured the win was in sight. However GHK were not finished and immediately hit back as flanker Nick Hurn rounded off a counter attack with a try converted by Campbell, who also kicked a penalty.
This proved to be a blip in Kirkcaldy’s progress as the pack re-asserted itself and produced another Smith penalty for a 35-32 lead. At this point the referee ordered that the scoreboard be altered reducing Kirkcaldy’s tally from 35 to 33, in effect a single point advantage without any explanation given. A third Smith penalty however emphasised Kirkcaldy superiority. Later the official admitted to an error in his scorecard.
The final minutes were played out in a blaze of attacking rugby. With the Kirkcaldy win almost ensured GHK were starved of any worthwhile possession so cementing a five point home win.
Played on a firm pitch this highly competitive game between teams of contrasting styles must rank amongst the most attractive at Beveridge Park for some years. What appealed most to Kirkcaldy supporters however was that the Blues sealed only their second win over this highly rated Glasgow club and retained their second spot in the table.
Kirkcaldy:- F Smith, J Moffat, S McKervail, I Gillies, O Bonner, G McKenzie, S Anderson, D Jennings, G Wallace, M Salt, C Wood, S Barcaly, R Bonner, D Turner, M Harvey
Replacements- G Mangalo, M Harper, R Brown, C Letham
GHK:- B Forsyth, R Coates, F Goose, C Hughes, S Davidson, D Campbell, H Anderson, M Smyth, A McGuire, A McCulloch, J Hanks, F Leggat, E Stewart, N Hurn, H Parker
Replacements:- K Boles, F Haston, R Steven, A Lopez
B Lategan (CRRS)
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Finlay Smith
2 Danny Jennings
1 Rhys Bonner