KIRKCALDY 17 MARR 41
A series of Kirkcaldy blunders following the restart kick presented Marr with easy ball down their left wing allowing lock Graeme Dick to go in for his side's second try. By the half hour mark the Ayrshire team appeared to be almost in complete control. Now defending desperately Kirkcaldy were conceding too many penalties leading to Greg Wallace receiving the first yellow card. Minutes later stand-off Alex Black joined him in the bin. Right away Marr used their scrummage advantage to score a push over credited to Johnston. The half time score of 7-17 barely reflected the Marr superiority in that second quarter.
For the third time this season Kirkcaldy were exposed to the realities of National 1 rugby when a talented Marr side outclassed them for significant parts of this game at Beveridge Park last Saturday.
The Ayrshire side, in the Premiership last season, were relegated after just one term there. They more than held their own in many games in that campaign and appeared to have retained many of the qualities needed in the top tier for this fixture, with pace aplenty and superb ball retention reflected in scoring seven tries.
Once more Kirkcaldy errors were severely punished by field long moves ending in tries while they failed to capitalise on scoring opportunities of their own. They didn't help themselves with two yellow cards brandished to Greg Wallace and Alex Black just before half time. While down to thirteen men the Blues conceded fourteen points.
Kirkcaldy started impressively enough taking a 11th minute lead through a James Barclay try following some crisp handling set up by a barging Michael Harper run. Marr were taking time to find their feet and in the opening quarter certainly didn't look the scorers of seven tries. With twenty six minutes gone, their Number 8 Ben Johnston brushed aside some slack tackling to roar in for his side's opening try converted by full back Liam McLoughlin, tying the scores at 7-7.
Rhys Bonner at the heart of most of Kirkcaldy's best plays had to go off with a recurrence of an old leg injury. His replacement, teenager Jack Denton, quickly made an impression and looks to be valuable addition to the squad.
Marr’s two man advantage paid off again in the 46th minute with a Gregor Paxton try. McLoughlin's conversion almost took their side out of sight. Once restored to full strength the Blues picked up their game and restored the spirit of the home crowd. Matt Harvey twice came close before replacement Struan Robertson scored his first senior try. Kirkcaldy maintained this aggression for several further minutes before Marr regained the initiative.
From first phase possession they skilfully retained the ball across the field until further slack tackling let winger Jack Scott in for his side's fifth try and a 29-12 lead.
The Blues showed real skill of their own five minutes later as a well flighted ball from Black gave Conar Littlejohn the space he needed to run in for the third Kirkcaldy try.
Lost possession plagued the Blues periodically in this game and in the final quarter Marr capitalised on Kirkcaldy misfortune with two more tries from Bickerstaffe and Scott, along with another McLoughlin conversion confirmed the Ayrshire's side ultimate superiority.
In the final play of the game the Blues perhaps had their best chance of the game. A well-constructed back movement gave Littlejohn the opportunity to run in for a bonus point try. Unfortunately the centre lost his footing at pace, knocking on the ball and the opportunity disappeared.
The final score shows quite a gulf between the sides. Marr were much faster about the field, confident in their handing, and looked a well-conditioned side. Kirkcaldy for their part, need not be too despondent, Two important forwards were absent through injury and another having to leave the field through injury. Of course, two yellows cards in quick succession hardly helped their cause
Kirkcaldy: F Smith, J Barclay., C Littlejohn, J Laird, R Brown. A Black, G McKenzie, G Queen, G Wallace, D Jennings, C Wood, M Harper, R Bonner, M Harvey, J Pow
Replacements:- M Thomson, S Robertson, C Hamilton, J Denton, J Moffatt
Marr:-L McLoughlin, J Scott, J Dalgleish, G Paxton, T Steven, C Bickerstaff, A Hazel, W Farquharson, S Adair, C Henderson, E Hamilton-Bulger, G Dick, A Grant, C Steel, B JohnstonREFEREE
Replacements:- O Rossi, F Miller, J Evans, F Hazel, A Mill
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Matt Harvey
2 Alex Black
1 Jack Denton
8 Connor Wood
3 Josh Laird, Rhys Bonner, Matt Harvey, Alex Black
2 Jack Pow, Dayle Turner, Conar Littlejohn
1 Finlay Smith, Struan Robertson, Jack Denton, Michael Harper