GORDONIANS 22 KIRKCALDY 52
Around the mid way point of the first half Gordonians went ahead again, and for the last time, with a penalty from Mark March bank after Kirkcaldy had failed to release. That 8-7 lead proved to be short lived with another Turner strike, this time a solo effort from 30 metres which left the home defence gasping.
An eight try to three Kirkcaldy win at Countesswells saw Kirkcaldy progress to Round 2 of the SRU's National League Cup at the expense of Gordonians in Aberdeen last Saturday. Kirkcaldy and Gordonians were one time regular league opponents but have not met since 1996 as they drifted apart.
Gordonians were on the verge of extinction at one stage but made a spirited recovery and now find themselves in National 3 and with home advantage in this tie must have have fancied themselves to pull off a shock result.
The Blues were far from full strength fielding several inexperienced youngsters. Their performance excited forwards coach Kenny Fraser. “There's a huge amount of talent out there and I was delighted by the way the newcomers showed up. In the second row 18 year old Struan Robertson stood out, as did flanker Jack Denton who came on as a sub in the second half”. He also commended his defence. “Gordonians had about 70% possession in the first half and also with wind advantage but all they got was a single try and a penalty. Throughout we defended strongly and a lot of their possession was simply shipped across the field or kicked away”
Early play suggested that. With wind advantage and crisp handling Gordonians forced early play into the Blues' 22 and few were surprised when they went ahead through an unconverted try from Adam Morrison . The Blues took a while to come to terms with the difficult wind and it was against the general run of play they went ahead with flanker Dayle Turner breaking loose for a score converted by Finlay Smith.
As the half progressed Gordonians use of the wind gradually became less effective as they kicked away too much possession against tidy Kirkcaldy defending. Often loose kicks gave the Blues the chance to counterattack and by the interval they had advanced their lead to 17-8 with Rory Brown touching down for a third try,
Their considerable first half efforts seemed to have taken some of the steam out of the home team as increasing inaccuracy spread through their ranks. Two minutes into the second half Kirkcaldy stand off Finlay Smith charged down a weak clearance, collected the ball and dashed to the posts before converting the score himself.
There was now clear water between the teams with the Aberdonians having few
answers to the Blues well practised pick and go tactic Further tries from Josh Laird and Gavin McKenzie both converted by Smith gave the Blues an unassailable 38-8 lead. This gave Quintan Sanft the chance to bring on several replacements and perhaps concentration dipped a bit. Gordonians full back Stewart McMillan snapped up two scoring opportunities, both converted by Marchbank to give a more respectable look to the scoreboard at 22-38.
However Sanft's men had something left in the locker and late tries from Chris Carey and Roddy Low added gloss to a convincing performance.
Gordonians:- S McMillan, C Hart.D Osago, C Joss, T Jones, M Marchbank, M Hillier, B Strachan, T Williams, J Christine, C Hogg, K Dalgarno, C Simpson, A Morrison, C Buchan
Replacements:- M Brechin, E Cameron, P Johnston, A Sutherland, P Paxton
Kirkcaldy:- R Hancock R Brown, R Low, J Laird. C Carey, F Smith, G McKenzie, G Queen, G Wallace, D Jennings, C Wood, S Robertson, M Harper. D Turner, J Pow
Replacements:- R Lithgow, K Nattrass, J Denton, R Gordon, C Hamilton
REFEREE G Pounder (SRU)
3 C Wood
2 D Turner
1 S Robertson