WEST OF SCOTLAND 14 KIRKCALDY 17
West came close to snatching a draw in the closing stages of this untidy encounter at Burnbrae last Saturday with the missing of a late penalty attempt. It was heavy going on a sticky pitch with errors galore and both teams failed to take advantage of good scoring chances. Territorially Kirkcady had the upper hand for large portions of the game but regularly failed to capitalise. They were also aided by a shoal of unforced West errors, particularly at the line-out where in the first half alone they had five crooked throw-ins.
When the going got difficult for the Blues in the last fifteen minutes they showed real maturity in confronting adversity, a situation in the last few seasons where they would have gone on to lose. Honours yet again went to the Kirkcaldy forwards. It may not have been an unblemished performance but when it counted they produced their best.
The game had started brightly enough for Kirkcaldy, running strongly on to the ball and making good ground. Reward came in the seventh minute with Finlay Smith kicked penalty and 3-0 lead.
Gradually West found their bearings and their running and handling in midfield tested the Kirkcaldy defence. Unfortunately for the home side their efforts often came to nothing with a series of knock-ons and forward passes. They were also winning the penalty count as this stage but persisted in poor work at the line-out, so giving the initiative back to Kirkcaldy.
In the 27th minute Kirkcaldy good fortune ran out as West centre Sandy McCallum danced through the Kirkcaldy midfield and set up flanker Jamie McAulay for a try converted by Ross McAulay, putting West 7-3 in front. The Burnbrae side continued to hold the upper hand as half time approached but it was Kirkcaldy who scored next.
From a penalty kicked to touch about ten metres out the Blues mauled their way to the West line. Following good work by Dayle Turner lock Connor Wood drove over for a try converted by Smith. The score of 7-10 remained until half time.
West made a hash of the second half kick-off, putting thr ball directly into touch so giving Kirkcaldy a centre line scrummage. This paved the way for a prolonged assault on the West line, eventually producing a try for prop Danny Jennings converted by Smith
Any thoughts that the points were in the bag for Kirkcaldy were dispelled when James Harley dived over near the posts giving Ross McAulay an easy conversion, so narrowing the Kirkcaldy lead to 17-14.
In the time remaining West had the edge but determined work by the Kirkcaldy front row had the better of the scrummages, taking a couple of vital strike against the head. Even so West had a gilt edged chance to tie the game only for McAulay’s penalty to fly just outside the right upright.
That was West’s last real chance to take something other than a losing bonus point, from the game. Kirkcaldy had enough left in the tank to ride out the rest of the game and retain top spot in the league table
West of Scotland:-A Fisken, C Boath, M Davis, S MacCallum, M Sim, R McAulay,R Tran, S Birkmyre, K Hamilton, G Sutherland, M Jenkinson, J Harley, A Thomson, J McAulay, F Smeaton
Replacements:-D Thorpe, C Simpson, A Goodall, P Burns
Kirkcaldy:- F Smith, S McKervail, I Gillies, O Bonner, S Anderson, C Letham, G McKenzie, D Jennings, G Wallace, M Salt, S Barclay, C Wood, R Brown, D Turner, M Harvey
Replacements:- G Mangalo, M Harper, M Hadoke, J Moffat
M Milner (Edinburgh Northern)
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Connor Wood
2 Dayle Turner
1 Danny Jennings
17 Connor Wood
12 Dayle Turner
8 Rhys Bonner, Finlay Smih
3 Scott Anderson, Danny Jennings
2 Marcus Salt. Owen Bonner
1 Craig Letham, Matt Harvey, Iain Gillies, Greg Wallace