KIRKCALDY 32 LASSWADE 15
In this rearranged fixture, originally scheduled for early March before it fell victim to the Beast from the East, the Blues coasted to a comfortable bonus point win confirming their status as National 2 winners. For much of the season the Midlothian side contended strongly for one of the promotion places only to fall away in the closing weeks.
One of the two defeats sustained by the Blues in the course of the season was at the hands of Lasswade in October. In that game their match winners were in midfield and they showed their strength in that department again with powerful counterattacking which tested the Blues defence. Lasswade's centre Mark Wilson, the scorer of two of their three tries proved to be the best attacker afield and a hot handful for Kirkcaldy.
Head coach Quintan Sanft admitted that his team had a poor start, losing an early try. “The warm up didn't go all that well and there was a lack of concentration at the start of the game when we lost the first try. We then settled down and did well against a side who had beaten us earlier in the season. The intensity probably dropped in the last quarter when I changed the side earlier than planned to bring on players who needed game time”
Lasswade had the benefit of an end to end breeze but the Blues had the better of the opening exchanges and should have taken a ninth minute lead if they hadn't coughed up the ball just short of the line. Their opponents took off at speed, passing and accurately backing up, carrying the ball into the home 22. The Blues survived three penalty calls before succumbing to forward pressure and an unconverted try for prop Chris Blackie.
A Finlay Smith penalty quickly reduced this deficit but Kirkcaldy continued to struggle with the fast breaking Lasswade backs. Nevertheless the Blues had their own strength in attack and Josh Laird's powerful run easily cut through the visitors' defence for a try converted by Smith. The full back was on target again with a second penalty extending the home side's lead to 13-5.
The game was being played at a fast pace and almost inevitably errors grew. Smith profited from a Lasswade breakdown and he sent Dayle Turner away for a second Kirkcaldy try which he converted for a 20-5 scoreline which remained until half time.
With their team's accuracy improving the home crowd expected the Blues to build on this lead but were taken back by the speed of Lasswade with centre Mark Wilson breaking form his own 22 fora excellent solo score which remained unconverted. After this set back the Blues took some minutes to regroup and it was from broken play that winger Conar Littlejohn gathered the ball to speed down the touchline before turning and touching down to ease the way for Smith's conversion.
While Lasswade continued to compete, their increasing error rate eased the way for Kirkcaldy to take control. In the 58th minute a poor throw-in from the visitors was snatched by Turner to set up Rory Brown's try which earned the bonus point.
The fourth quarter of the game was played out quietly with a sense of inevitability about the result. With four minutes left a splendid score from Lasswade's Wilson, his second of the game, briefly illuminated proceedings but at no-side there was little doubt that the Blues had earned their win.
Kirkcaldy:- F Smith, C Littlejohn, I Gillies, J Laird, R Low, C Letham, G McKenzie, G Queen, G Wallace, D Jennings, C Wood, S Mitchell, R Brown, R Bonner, D Turner.
Replacements:- M Harper, J Pow, S Evans, S Anderson
Lasswade:- R Gladstone, C Lamont, M Wilson, J Elliot,M Smith, D Ritchie, C Cumming, C Blackie, D Tiffney, M Billingham, A Lamond, R McKenzie, R Borthwick, C Arnot, S Hunter,
Replacements:- C Sinclair, B Moffat, N Elliot,A Hall
S Turnbull (Borders RRS)
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Dayle Turner
2 Josh Laird
1 Conar Littlejohn
26 Connor Wood
15 Rhys Bonner, Dayle Turner
12 Finlay Smith
8 Greg Wallace, Josh Laird
5 Owen Bonner , Matthew Harvey
4 Marcus Salt, Craig Letham
3 Scott Anderson, Danny Jennings
2 Michael Harper, Jamie Moffat
1 Iain Gillies, Rory Brown, Steve Mitchell, Conar Littlejohn