Despite this set back Whitecraigs were determined to open their account and the Blues had to with stand another another bout of heavy pressure coping admirably with every thing thrown at them.
WHITECRAIGS 14 KIRKCALDY 41
At a venue where they had never previously won, the Blues turned in their best all round performance of the season to take full points and reclaim top position in the National 2 table. From the time that Dayle Turner opened the scoring before a minute had been played Kirkcaldy held the upper hand for lengthy periods. Nevertheless Whitecraigs had possession for significant passages of the game but found a demanding Kirkcaldy defence whose unrelenting tackling and covering kept their hosts pointless until after half time.
In past years Kirkcaldy have been less than adept at regaining kick-offs and re starts but this game began in startling fashion. Whitecraigs immediately infringed. Rather than go for goal or kick for touch, Gavin McKenzie tapped and off went the pack driving their opponents to the line allowing Turner to crash through. Craig Letham failed to add the extra points.
Spearheaded by Rhys Bonner the Blues maintained this aggressive approach stretching the Glasgow side at very opportunity but when necessary showing steel in defence After several minutes of threatening Whitecraigs attacking ploys Kirkcaldy swept into counter-attacking mode, Solid work by Owen Bonner in his own half produced the ammunition for winger James Barclay to race away for a try converted by Finlay Smith.
Smith had a failure at goal minutes before he slotted another kick to extend the Kirkcaldy lead to 15-0 with half an hour played. Shortly after that score the game took an unsatisfactory turn from a Kirkcaldy point of view, Injuries to Whitecraigs front row forwards meant they had run out of cover so forcing the referee to order uncontested scrums, so removing one of Kirkcaldy’s most effective attacking weapons. By the interval they had made light of this handicap and a McKenzie try converted by Smith had taken them to a 22-0 advantage.
Early in the second half Whitecraigs had by far their most productive period of the game culminating in a try for centre Phil Snyman converted by Ross Donnachie The home team failed to exit the restart allowing Rhys Bonner to power his way upfield paving the way for a bonus point try for replacement Michael Harper.
Although 29-7 behind there were few signs of a lessening of Whitecraigs’ spirit and another Donnachie converted try from Snyman seemed to induce some minor panic in the Kirkcaldy ranks. That brief crisis quickly passed as the forwards again had the upper hand and established themselves in the Whitecraigs 22. Several try chances were rebuffed before Letham glided in at the posts with Smith converting for an unassailable 36-14 Kirkcaldy lead. With a minute to go Rhys Bonner capped another battling display with a try of his own so securing a handsome victory.
Quintan Sanft’s side returned to the top of the table after previous leaders Dumfries lost at home to Hamilton with a display in which all units of the side played their parts. Defensively they were well organised, showing real aggression in their tackling and dousing early Whitecraigs fire. Although there was the occasional blip at the line-out the Kirkcaldy forwards again laid the foundations of their fifth win of the season.
Whitecraigs:- S Gillies, S Murchie, P Syman, B Wamberg, C Drummond, A McFarlane, R Donnachie, I Laidlaw, I Barron, A Patseron, R O’Neill, S Callaghan, A Ingram, S Pollock, G Oomen
Replacements:- S Gormely, C O’Donnell, M Lehman, B Whittel
Kirkcaldy:- F Smith J Moffat, O Bonner, I Gillies, J B arcalay, C Letham, G McKenzie, D Jennings, G Queen, G Mangalo, S Barcaly, C Wood, R Bonner, D Turner, M Harvey
Replacements:- G Wallace, M Harper, R Brown, Q Sanft
S Burns (WSSRS)
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Connor Wood
2 Owen Bonner
1 Rhys Bonner
12 Connor Wood
7 Dayle Turner
6 Rhys Bonner
2 Marcus Salt, Finlay Smith, Owen Bonner
1 Craig Letham, Matt Harvey