BIGGAR 10 KIRKCALDY 13
The Blues did just enough at windy Hartree Mill to earn a win without playing at their best. Errors abounded in the difficult overhead conditions but both teams remained competitive until the end which arrived with Kirkcaldy defending grimly to protect their three point lead.
Head coach Quintan Sanft expressed delight at the outcome "Biggar is never an easy place to win at, especially on a windy day. We played really well in the first half against the wind, blunting their attack. Defensively we did what was necessary and had the lead at half time. On the other hand when we had the wind behind us in the second half we didn't use the elements well. There weren't nearly enough kicks into the corners and decision making could have been better. They had nothing to play for, their promotion chances disappeared last month and played a fast and loose game, often difficult to defend."
Before kick-off Kirkcaldy were forced into two late changes, centre Josh Laird dropping out to be replaced by Jamie Moffatt and in the back row Rory Brown called off with Scott Barclay taking his place.
The home side booked first use of the end to end wind after winning the toss but Kirkcaldy had the better of things in the early stages without quite managing to get the scoreboard moving. Three times in quick succession they were held up with the goal line within touching distance. Meanwhile Biggar could have made better use of the wind advantage with some of their kicking from hand simply returning the ball to the Blues.
For most of this season Kirkcaldy have had a clear advantage at the set scrums but a dogged Biggar pack was in no mood for giving any thing away. Even the loss of hooker Andrew Orr for 10 minutes in the bin barely affected their intensity and it took the Blues the best part of half an hour for their first score to arrive, an unconverted try from Finlay Smith. Biggar quickly hit back with a Euan Bogle penalty which made the score 3-5. There was no further scoring when the half time whistle blew.
Kirkcaldy suffered an unwanted injury blow not too long before the interval with prop Marcus Salt having to be assisted off, clearly in some distress and obviously unable to take any further part in the game. Regular substitute Gerard Queen came on as his replacement.
The Blues defence had to work overtime at the start of the second half with Biggar handling well into the wind. Moffat and the back line in general impressed with some solid tackling which repelled this Biggar flurry. Kirkcaldy took time to regather butfrom a Craig Letham kick into the corner they created a series of untaken try chances. Biggar constantly frustrated them.
With 57 minutes gone Kirkcaldy were shocked by a Biggar counterattack. Snipping scrum half Luhann Kotze they worked their way out of their own half before Bogle was released to run in for a try which he converted himself to give Biggar a 10-5 lead.
The Blues replied vigorously and it took them only three minutes to level the scores. Biggar had been conceding too many penalties and from of these Kirkcaldy chose to scrum it. Carefully protecting the ball they recycled it for almost a minute before prop Danny Jennings was driven over for an unconverted try which levelled the scores as the game went into the last quarter.
Defences remained solid with Kirkcaldy probably having the better of the territorial battle although the wind had died down a bit. Biggar continued to be blighted by the loss of penalties and from one such offence the Blues took the chance to kick at goal from 30 metres out. Smith, who had missed the two earlier conversions hit the ball sweetly to see it fly between the uprights for what separated the teams at the end.
At the restart seven minutes remained and in this time the home side forced Kirkcaldy to dig deep into their defensive resources and determined not to concede any penalties which cod be kicked at goal. Biggar continued to buzz around the 22 metre line but that was as far as they got and as the referee indicated last play Kirkcaldy had just recovered the ball and it was swiftly put into touch to end the game.
Biggar:- E Bogle,R Stewart, R Lavery, R Moffat, R Bradford, I Renwick, L Kotze, C Henderson, A Orr, D O.'Connell, J Orr, A Swarnock, A Nimmo, G Stewart, R Jackson
Replacements:- D Voas, G Hamilton
Kirkcaldy:- F Smith, F Bruce, I Gillies, J Moffatt, C Littlejohn, C Letham, G McKenzie, D Jennings, G Wallace, M Salt, C Wood, S Mitchell, S Barclay, R Bonner, D Turner
Replacements:- G Queen, J Pow, M Harper, R Low
R Campbell (BRRS)
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Connor Wood
2 Rhys Bonner
1 Jamie Moffatt
26 Connor Wood
15 Rhys Bonner
12 Dayle Turner
9 Finlay Smith
7 Josh Laird
6 Greg Wallace
5 Owen Bonner
4 Matt Harvey, Marcus Salt
3 Scott Anderson, Danny Jennings,
2 Michael Harper, Craig Letham, Jamie Moffatt
1 Iain Gillies, Rory Brown, Steve Mitchell