GHA 87 KIRKCALDY 3
When Kirkcaldy first saw the 2018-19 National 1 fixture list in June they realised then that they would be in for a tough shift on the last Saturday of September when they had to travel to Braidholm to meet the highly ambitious and successful Glasgow club. Little did they know then that they would line up with a decimated side shorn of their entire back row, both props and centre Josh Laird as well as three other long term absentees.
Squad depth at Beveridge Park has been a problem at for some time and this thirteen try rout has only once been exceeded in league rugby. There were signs of what was to follow in the second minute as home winger Ben Addison romped in unchallenged for his side's first try. In exchanges in the first ten minutes Kirkcaldy appeared to be struggling with the pace of the game although they managed to keep GHA in check.
Once the Braidholm side worked out the weaker links in the Kirkcaldy side they were and truly exploited and try after try followed. The only Kirkcaldy crumb of comfort came from the boot of Finlay Smith with a 15th minute penalty making the score 12-3.
They had the four try bonus point in the bag in the in the 20th minute as Charlie Lonergan, Max MacFarlane along with second Addison counter and three George Baird conversions made the score 26-3 with three quarters of the game to follow.
The Blues manfully stood up in the set pieces with locks Struan Robertson and Connor Wood playing their parts . No 8 Jack Pow involved in most things Kirkcaldy did well until he received a yellow card in the last minute.
In four of their five league games the Blues have been bothered by the pace of the opposition, being especially susceptible to the jinking side step. This was particularly evident in the second quarter as Kirkcaldy ignominy increased and by the half time whistle the score had mounted to 54-3.
GHA used a full repertoire of attacking moves and their quick thinking exposed every weak link in the Kirkcaldy team. The Blues were often caught short at tapped penalties and Baird's try highlighted this shortcoming.
That was not the only area in which Kirkcaldy failed. Missed tackles punctuated their performance but probably as worrying for the coaches was the ease with which they were dispossessed. Twice they had worked hard to get into the GHA 22 and coming near to scoring themselves, only to lose the ball and there was a GHA try at the other end.
As try followed try in the second half the Braidholm crowd was baying for the century and their team certainly looked capable of that with about fifteen minutes to go. On the hour mark the Blues were reduced to fourteen men after Connor Wood pulled down a maul and was sent to the bin. The resulting tapped penalty brought a second try for Baird which he promptly converted to take his side's tally above seventy. Curiously, a man down, Kirkcaldy held together apart from a single lapse as Wood spent his time in the bin.
In the closing stages the battering of the Kirkcaldy line continued and when referee Tom French blew for no-side the only consolation for the visitors was they had escaped the ignominy of losing one hundred points.
GHA:- G Mollison, C King, C Lonergan, M MacFarlane, \b \Addison, R McCorkindale, G Baird, M Scott, D Ewing, M Fox, J McCarthy, A Kerr, E Hardin, R Angus, J Sutherland,
Replacements: L Barron, S Carson, S Holland, R Findlay, A Spowart,
KIRKCALDY:- F Smith, S Anderson, C Littlejohn, J Moffatt, O Bonner, A Black, G McKenzuie, G Queen, G Wallace, M Harper. D Wood, S Robertson, J Deenton, R Brown, J Pow
Replacements:- W Beattie, C Hamilton, S Barclay, J Barclay, A Brooks
T French (SRU)
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Jack Pow
2 Struan Robertdon
1 Connor Wood
9 Connor Wood
5 Jack Pow
3 Josh Laird, Rhys Bonner, Matt Harvey, Alex Black, Struan Robertson
2 Dayle Turner, Conar Littlejohn
1 Finlay Smith, Jack Denton, Michael Harper