Allan Tasker goes over for Kirkcaldy's third try
KIRKCALDY 35 FALKIRK 15
Falkirk arrived at Beveridge Park with a faint hope of gaining a place in the top four promotions play-offs, dependent on Peebles losing their home game to Gala. They departed well beaten following some stormy scenes while Kirkcaldy celebrated a surprisingly convincing win which gave them a real prospect of progressing up the table.
This was a resurgent Kirkcaldy side whose pack dominated the set pieces against a Falkirk pack containing a lot of experience. The line-out, so often a source of weakness this season, in particular provided a lot of quality possession. Kenny Fraser enjoyed one of his best days for a long time as he cleaned up his own team's throw-ins as well as quite a few put in by former Scotland hooker Kevin McKenzie for Falkirk.
In the second half, with tension rising as Falkirk clawed back a sixteen point deficit to come within a converted try of taking the lead, the Kirkcaldy scrummage put in their hardest shift of the day, turning their opponents several times and making sure that their backs enjoyed quality possession.
With a large and vocal support behind them, Falkirk suffered a set back in the first minute, conceding a penalty kicked by Quintan Sanft for a 3-0 Kirkcaldy lead. Any thoughts of early consolidation disappeared three minutes later as some sloppy Kirkcaldy passing from a scrum handed the ball to Falkirk scrum half David Bruce, probably the most accomplished player in his side. His pace outstripped the retreating Kirkcaldy defenders for him to score the first try of the game. David Adamson‘s conversion missed narrowly.
This 5-3 Falkirk lead was short lived however when Sanft chose to kick for goal from the half way line and saw the ball drop over the bar. This penalty signalled a period of Kirkcaldy forward aggression, which saw them force two penalties close to the Falkirk line. Skipper Colin Harvey was proving to be a hot handful for the Falkirk defence and he made many yards from his sniping runs. His brother Matt from blind side was also carrying the ball well and at this stage Kirkcaldy appeared to be on top. However they failed to add to their tally from this pressure. Falkirk gained encouragement from their defensive efforts and played moved into the Kirkcaldy 22.
Kenny Fraser gets his fingertips to this line-out ball
The Blues refused to buckle and their chance came when Mark Wallace broke before offloading to winger Allan Tasker near half way. When challenged, Tasker put in a well placed grubber kick and won the race to the in-goal area for the first Kirkcaldy try.
Falkirk were not helping themselves with the loss of a series of penalties, which helped the Blues to maintain territorial superiority. With 30 minutes played a powerful mid field break from centre Cameron Goodall opened the Falkirk door for Mark Wallace to run in under the posts, giving Sanft an easy conversion. This made the score 18-5 which remained until half time.
The Kirkcaldy scrummage gained a clear ascendancy with props Jamie Brown and George Mangalo having the better of their opposite numbers. They laid the platform for an outstanding second half performance which started with another Sanft penalty and brought the Blues their first four try bonus point haul of the season.
Every ball was contested with high intensity in this second period and tensions built up all over the field with referee Ted Coutts (Watsonians) issuing a series of warnings. Eventually his yellow card came out after Cameron Goodall appeared to throw a retaliatory punch, which seemed to be missing its intended target.
Their numerical advantage gave Falkirk a route back into the game and during Goodall’s ten minutes in the bin they scored two unconverted tries from Roddy Denham and Grant Harkness. Another converted try would have put them ahead and the Kirkcaldy defence now had a severe examination.
Mark Wallace dives in to put a Falkirk player into touch
Home supporters were now on the edge of their seats, especially when Falkirk’s Bruce had ball in hand. His probing runs often looked like they would produce that score but Kirkcaldy defending never flinched.Any thoughts Falkirk had of rescuing the game evaporated in the 66th minute. Having secured turnover ball, Kirkcaldy fed out to the right to find hooker Greg Wallace in full flight. He blasted through several tackles before the field opened up before him. He might have gone all the way but instead he chose to pass to the unmarked Tasker who went in for his second counter of the day, again converted by Sanft for a 29-15 lead.
The bonus point try completed Kirkcaldy’s day. Full back Iain Gillies made a strong run from half way deep into the Falkirk 22 before his pass found the supporting Sanft who went in at the posts before adding the conversion.
Kirkcaldy:- I Gillies, A Tasker, C Goodall, M Wallace, G McKenzie, Q Sanft, C Harvey, J Brown, G Wallace, G Mangalo, S Orr, K Fraser, M Harvey, R van Rensberg, C Wilson
Replacements:- W Gray, A Marshall, S Mitchell, S Cairns
Falkirk:- D Adamson, N Lear, S McAllister, R Denham, C Harris, C Sangster, M Bruce, P Curry, K McKenzie, D Jamieson, C Gibson, A Marshall, G Harkness, B Wylie, C Ronald
Replacements::- C Reid, G McGuire, M Parsons, T Mocelu
T Coutts (Watsonians)
FFP STAR CHECK
3 Kenny Fraser
2 Matt Harvey
1 Allan Tasker