GHK 17 KIRKCALDY 38
Conditions at Glasgow's Old Anniesland with near zero temperatures and pouring rain could not have been more unpleasant as the Blues faced a side which more often than not has proved to be a real stumbling block for them. They went into the game knowing that a win would edge them closer to the league title and preserve their lead over the chasing pack with as many as four other teams still in contention for the two places.
While the game was by some distance less than spectacular, forwards coach Kenny Fraser saw the positives in this win “The conditions were awful but credit to both teams for their efforts. Our power up front won it for us but we kept them in the game for longer than necessary by some less than clever kicking. The weather was always going to dictate the game and to get six tries said it all - we were the better team from 1 through to 19"
They started off with a bang, taking the lead within five minutes. Lock Steve Mitchell managed to rip the ball from a GHK maul to set his back line in motion. The ball sped through the hands with centre Josh Laird touching down under the bar to give Finlay Smith an easy conversion kick and a 7-0 lead.
Kirkcaldy were fortunate shortly after as Laird, believing that advantage was being played, kicked wide into space where the ball was collected by the home team. An equalising try was on the cards only for the referee to whistle up a knock-on inches from the Kirkcaldy line. Minutes later it appeared as if Kirkcaldy had not learned their kicking lesson as stand off Craig Letham had a clearance kick charged down allowing the home side's Bob Taylor to score wide with Danny Campbell failing to convert.
The Blues got back onto the front foot with the pack making their presence felt. With a take against the head close in it was easy for Number 8 Matt Harvey to touch down. Smith's successful conversion extended the Kirkcaldy lead to 14-5. Any Kirkcaldy complacency quickly evaporated as GHK made the most of a weak kick from Owen Bonner and some slip shod tackling set up full back Blair Forsyth for an easy try which Campbell failed to converted. Before the break Harvey again rounded off powerful work by his pack and another Smith conversion made the score 21-10.
The bonus point was in the bag five minutes after the re-start with co-captain Gavin McKenzie sniping around a maul after thrusts from Mitchell and Owen Bonner. Minutes later another Harvey break might have brought a fifth counter but Smith just could not hold the greasy ball.
Kirkcaldy forward power was now taking its toll with the pack camped in the GHK 22 for a full ten minutes. Under severe pressure the Anniesland team conceded a shoal of penalties leading to the binning of flanker Hugo Anderson who had also delivered a high tackle.
With a one man advantage, the Blues made it pay with Mitchell crossing from a rolling maul and then from the re-start the visitors ran the ball back enabling Owen Bonner to cross again for the sixth Kirkcaldy try, again converted by Smith.
To GHK's credit they never gave up and in the last play of the game they made the most of some suspect Kirkcaldy tackling for a Campbell try which left the final score at 38-17 in Kirkcaldy's favour.
GHK:- D Campbell, C Pender, R Taylor. C Hughes, R Coates, J MacKinnon, H Anderson, | McCulloch A McGuire, B Fordyce, R Wintersgill. A Lindsay, F Haston, J Hanks, R Steven
Replacements:- R Harvey, I Scott, B Forsyth
Kirkcaldy:- F Smith, F Bruce, I Gillies, J Laird, O Bonner, C Letham, G McKenzie, D Jennings, G Wallace, M Salt, C Wood, S Mitchell, R Brown, R Bonner, M Harvey.
Replacements:- G Queen, J Pow, M Hadoke, J Moffat
L Fish (ERRS)
FIFE TROPHY CENTRE STAR CHECK
3 Matt Harvey
2 Connor Wood
1 Steve Mitchell
23 Connor Wood
12 Dayle Turner
10 Rhys Bonner
9 Finlay Smith
7 Josh Laird
6 Greg Wallace
5 Owen Bonner
4 Matt Harvey
3 Scott Anderson, Danny Jennings
2 Marcus Salt, Michael Harper, Craig Letham
1 Iain Gillies, Rory Brown, Steve Mitchell