LASSWADE 31 KIRKCALDY 29
Kirkcaldy came off second best at Hawthornden after a heavily contested game in which he lead changed hands several time. However in the final ten minutes the Midlothian side dominated possession and territory, doing enough to deserve their bonus point win.
At critical points in the game Lasswade handled and backed up in a way that the Blues just could not match. Too often Quintan Sanft's side, lacking the sharpness shown in earlier games, lost the ball in contact and were turned over just too often to get the win.
Mistakes punctuated the first half with both teams guilty of knock-ons and forward passes or ill directed kicks. Lasswade however tidied up their act in the second period doing enough for victory whereas Kirkcaldy continued to blunder along.
Forecasts of stormy weather had not materialised when the game kicked off in almost balmy conditions. With a strong sun behind them the Blues quickly established themselves in the home 22. After coming close following good work by Rhys Bonner and Iain Gillies Kirkcaldy took an 8th minute lead. Taking a line-out ball against the throw the Blues carved their way through the Lasswade pack to allow hooker Greg Wallace to blast his way to the line for the game's first try which remained unconverted.
The game continued to go Kirkcaldy's way for the next five minutes until they were penalised for a high tackle at half way. A long kick found touch well inside the Kirkcaldy 22 and the Blues had no answer to a prolonged driving maul which produced a try for lock Stephen Hunter, converted by Andrew Bell for a 7-5 Lasswade lead.
Despite this set back the Blues still looked the likelier team, dominating territory and possession and the arrival of a second try was not unexpected. Owen Bonner had made a telling break to open up the Lasswade defence before the ball came to Rhys Bonner who went over at the posts for a try, converted by Finlay Smith who later kicked a penalty.
Lasswade suffered from a series of handling errors but shocked the Blues with a sparkling move which saw the ball go in one direction and then the other before Matthew Smith went over for an unconverted try. At half time the Blues led 15-12.
The Blues found themselves pinned into their 22 from the restart kick and being forced to concede a Lasswade throw-in at a line-out 10 metres from their line. A well timed take and drive set up no 8 Jamie Graham for the try which put his side in the lead again. Bell's converted again.
The Kirkcaldy coaching team's worries increased as regular blunders continued to hand the initiative back to Lasswade However some solace came in the 55th minute. Strong scrummaging set up the Blues in the home 22 before Wallace went over for his side's third and his own second try. The conversion put the visitors in front again at 22-19.
With just over an hour played Lasswade were awarded a penalty in front of the Kirkcaldy posts. Instead of kicking the obvious penalty to tie the scores they boldly went for touch, looking for more than three points. The home side moved the ball sweetly across the pitch, recycling comfortably, for an unconverted try in the corner from Arron Thomas.
Rhys Bonner got his second try to briefly put the Blues in front again at 29-24 but the closing stages belonged to Lasswade who went ahead after another Smith score had been converted.
Try as they might Kirkcaldy just could not get enough hands on the ball to find a scoring position and by the time the final whistle blew Lasswade emerged as worthy winners after an engrossing game.
Lasswade:- R Gladstone, M Smith, K Smith, B Smith, A Thomas, A Bell, D Ritchie, G Cook, C Sinclair, M Billingham, A Lamond, S Hunter, R Borthwick, C Quigley, J Graham
Replacements:- D Tiffney, L Greig, J Elliot, N Gray
Kirkcaldy:- F Smith, S McKervaill, I Gillies, O Bonner, J Barclay, C Letham, G McKenzie, D Jennings, M Salt, S Barclay, C Wood, R Brown, R Bonner, D Turner
Replacements:- G Mangalo, M Hadoke, M Harper, S Anderson
Ms A Pratt (ERRS)
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Finlay Smith
2 Rhys Bonner
1 Greg Wallace
14 Connor Wood
10 Dayle Turner
8 Rhys Bonner, Finlay Smith
3 Scott Anderson
2 Marcus Salt. Owen Bonner, Danny Jennings
1 Craig Letham, Matt Harvey, Iain Gillies, Greg Wallace