KIRKCALDY 52 CARTHA QUEEN’S PARK 24
When the Blues took the lead through a Scott Anderson try after forty four seconds, it looked as if Quintan Sanft's men were on their way to victory against their Glasgow opponents at Beveridge Park last Saturday. When that was followed by another counter from Dayle Turner, converted by Finlay Smith seven minutes later, Cartha looked down and almost out.
Whether it was complacency or not, the Blues quickly lost their urgency, the initiative soon passing to the visitors. Before Kirkcaldy knew where they were, they were 19-12 down with three quick fire tries for the opposition from Graham Williamson, Jake Graham and Callum Dickson and stand-off Gregory Davidson adding a couple of conversions.
The Blues' earlier panache had all but gone with half an hour played and another damaging loss seemed a real possibility. They were clearly second best at the break downs and penalty count against them mounted. However a dramatic change of fortune close to half time turned the game around again. Full back Finlay Smith, adding to his goal kicking prowess, made the extra man in the three quarter line to round off a forward surge in the 38th minute. After touching down he then kicked the conversion to tie the scores once more.
With the referee thinking of blowing for half time Kirkcaldy struck again and it was to regain the lead which they did not surrender. Flanker Dayle Turner made the most the most of a scoring chance and with Smith adding the conversion the Blues finished the half with an unlikely 26-19 lead.
Head coach Quintan Sanft, clearly delighted with his side's win, looked back at the dark times in the first half when his defence was clearly absent from duty. “This was a fine win for us. Everyone did his job in the second half but we had to have some strong words at half time. After taking an early lead everybody stood back and they had three easy tries. The whole side buckled down in the second half and after they had their fourth try we were very much in control and the win was really well deserved”.
Rarely have Kirkcaldy have had such a powerful bench and Sanft was able to ring the changes as the game went on. Forwards Danny Jennings, Michael Harper and Matt Harvey all came into the proceedings with telling effect and with forward dominance the home back line directed by Josh Laird came into their own once more. Two Laird tries in quick succession took the game away from Cartha in emphatic style. Whenever Cartha had the ball, despite some agile runners in their backs could do little but ship the ball across the field before turning over possession
Forward power clearly told in the final quarter. Cartha had few answers to Kirkcaldy's reinvigorated pack and further tries from Connor Wood in sixty eight minutes and a hat trick score by Turner in the final play took the Blues out of sight.
From the time that the Blues regained the lead near half time there was little doubt as to the eventual winners with the Kirkcaldy pack showing the energy and drive which took them to the National 2 title last season. With the gathering of a four try bonus point the Blues have now move up the table to eighth position but still within five points of the bottom team which is now Cartha.
Kirkcaldy:- F Smith, R Brown, J Moffatt, J Laird, O Bonner, G McKenzie, S Anderson, W Beattie, G Wallace, M Salt, C Wood, S Robertson, R Bonner,D Turner, J Pow
Replacements:- D Jennings, M Harper, M Harvey, A Brooks, E Povey
Cartha QP:- J Campion, A Paterson, A Boyle, L Howieson, J Graham, G Davidson, T Davidson, M Barrowman, A Hondros, J Phyfer, G Williamson, M Marinkovic, R Howie, C Dickson, P Hollier
Replacements:- F Paul, G Gilmour, M Robertson, D Pengelly, A Nyangweso
J Perriam (SRU)
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Josh Laird
2 Finlay Smith
1 Dayle Turner
9 Connor Wood
6 Struan Robertson, Josh Laird
5 Jack Pow. Rhys Bonner
4 Finlay Smith
3 Matthew Harvey, Dayle Turner
2 Conar Littlejohn, Alex Black
1 Michael Harper, Jack Denton