Saturday 16th February
1stXV v Kelso - away, 2.30pm, National League Cup
Kirkcaldy slip at the end
Written by John Methven
Saturday, 03 November 2018
KIRKCALDY 32 JED-FOREST 40
An explosive start to last Saturday's encounter saw Jed-Forest lead before two minutes had gone through a penalty try and Kirkcaldy's Rhys Bonner being binned for a dangerously high tackle. Fortunes fluctuated throughout this spectacular game and it was not until the final whistle that the outcome was settled.
With less than five minutes left and Jed leading 33-32 the Blues forced their way towards the visitors 22 when the referee indicated a penalty in Kirkcaldy's favour and a possible match winning kick at goal. The attack rumbled on to the 5 metre line playing advantage, only for the referee to call “advantage over” indicating that Kirkcaldy had used up their advantage. This was a judgement few agreed with. From the resulting scrummage Ewan Scott went all the way to the home line for a try, the conversion, denying the Blues a losing bonus point.
Kirkcaldy forwards coach Kenny Fraser had nothing but praise for his side, “We matched the league leaders in most phases of the game and gave them one of their toughest games of the season. The very early penalty try and the yellow card and their second try were harsh setbacks. However we showed what we can do by leading 20-19 at half time. There was that advantage situation at the end where we were denied the chance of going for the winning score and that was disappointing. Overall all our players deserve the highest marks for an eighty minute performance”
Although the Blues replied strongly to their early setback, the second score came Jed-Forest's way. The home pack through a series of well controlled mauls took play to within touching distance of the Jed line only to lose control of the ball less than five metres from the whitewash. Swift hands saw the ball quickly moved away from that contact and Jed full back Lewis Young was away on his own with no Kirkcaldy tackler near him. With only eight minutes gone, Kirkcaldy were 12-0 down.
Kirkcaldy's fiery responses to Jed's offence riveted the crowd to their places and when scrum half Scott Anderson nipped in for a score converted by Finlay Smith there was a sense that this was not going to be a runaway win for the league leaders. However a defensive lapse by Quintan Sanft's men gave the ball away and there was no stopping the speedy Gregor Young for a try converted by Gary Munro.
Kirkcaldy put themselves under unnecessary pressure as their restart kicks which were often too long to be regathered. The visitors then had a handy attacking platform for counter attacking. In spite of this shortcoming the Kirkcaldy pack carried menace when they advanced. The ball had been recycled several time before release let Rhys Bonner in for his way for the second Kirkcaldy try.
Continuing Kirkcaldy pressure forced Jed stand off Euan Scott into a deliberate knock-on for which he received a yellow card. Now with numerical advantage Kirkcaldy made the most of it and before half time Smith kicked a penalty and Owen Bonner had his third try of the season which put the Blues a point in front at the interval.
Much of the third quarter saw Jed force play to the posts at the pond end but solid defence kept them at bay until the 51st minute. A scrummaged penalty provided the ammunition for a pick up by No 8 Darren Gillespie to break loose for a score converted by Munro. The Kirkcaldy game picked up again and with the tempo increasing they responded well and a try and conversion from Smith restored the lead to 27-26.
Jed's restart gave their chasing forwards a chance to regain possession and within a blink Gregor Young had restored his side's lead with Munro again adding the extra points. This enthralling game continued at pace with both sides using the ball well and testing the respective defensive lines. A Kirkcaldy penalty kicked to the corner set up Rhys Bonner for his side's fifth try to reduce his side's deficit to a single point.
The controversial ending came with the Blues being denied hard earned advantage and then conceded a scrum from which Jed's Scott went all the way. With the conversion being on target the Borderers were now eight points in front so denying the Blues a losing bonus point. In one of the last plays an assistant flagged an incident from which Kirkcaldy replacement Scott Barclay was issued with a red card for a punch.
Kirkcaldy:- F Smith, F Bruce, C Littlejohn, J Laird, O Bonner, G McKenzie, S Anderson, W Beattie, D Jennings, M Salt, C Wood, S Robertson, R Bonner, D Turner, J Pow
Replacements:- G Queen, C Hamilton, S Barclay, R Brown, J Devine
Jed-Forest:- L Young, E Stewart, G Young, M Mitchell, R Marshall, E Scott, G Munro, G Paxton, C Mackay. J Oliver, C Skeldon, G Law, B Roff, C Cowan, D Gillespie
Fife Trophy Centre STAR CHECK
3 Josh Laird
2 Owen Bonner
1 Craig Hamilton
11 Josh Laird
9 Connor Wood
6 Struan Robertson, Rhys Bonner
5 Jack Pow
4 Finlay Smith
3 Matthew Harvey, Dayle Turner, Greg Wallace
2 Conar Littlejohn, Alex Black, Owen Bonner
1 Michael Harper, Jack Denton, Craig Hamilton
Last Updated ( Monday, 05 November 2018 )
This Week's Results
Saturday 26th January
1st XV 27 Hamilton 24
2nd XV 3 Blairgowrie 31
1stXV League Table
Tennent's National League Division 1
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View full league table on scottishrugby.org
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FIFE TROPHY CENTRE
18 Links St, Kirkcaldy
3 Josh Laird
2 Finlay Smith
1 Dayle Turner
See Cumulative Stats for totals