|FALKIRK 24 KIRKCALDY 44
Mark Wallace scores the penultimate try in the final minutes
The Blues knew before this match that Premier 2 survival depended not just on the result of this game but also on how Kelso performed against Jed-Forest at Riverside Park. By the end of an exciting 80 minutes they had recorded a comprehensive win and taken the full five points on offer but within a couple of minutes of the final whistle came the thumbs down sign from President Don Burns who had just learned that Kelso had pulled off the unlikeliest of victories against the in-form Jed-Forest.
Although the Blues had taken an early 3-0 lead with a Quintan Sanft penalty Falkirk appeared to be the hungrier side, coming off the back of ten consecutive league losses, and it was no surprise when centre David Adamson tied the scores with a 9th minute penalty. Playing against a stiff breeze, Kirkcaldy twice worked their way up to the Falkirk line only to surrender the ball and open themselves to a counterattack.
Playing with considerable confidence Falkirk deservedly took the lead with twenty one minutes gone. Left winger Matt Morrell exploited the flimsiest of tackling to make ground before the ball was switched inside where full back Chris Harris rounded off the scoring movement at the posts with Adamson adding the conversion points. Kirkcaldy didn’t take this set back lying down and within three minutes Cameron Goodall had reduced his side’s deficit with a sparkling try.
Kirkcaldy were now beginning to exert more consistent forward pressure and with the backs supporting well another score looked likely. However one slack pass gave Falkirk an easy interception and scrum half Mark Bruce raced away for his side’s second try, again converted by Adamson.
Now 17-8 behind Kirkcaldy saw their survival hopes swirling down the plug hole until captain Colin Harvey took a hand. Tapping a penalty near half way, he twisted and turned his way past a series of would be tacklers almost to the goal line before handing on to No 8 Craig Wilson who scored with Sanft converting.
Mark Thomson celebrates a Kirkcaldy try at the end of the first half
The Falkirk share of the ball was rapidly diminishing towards half time as the Blues took control. The home side wasn’t helped by the binning of No 8 Penni Navu and by the interval the visitors had gone ahead at 22-17. The Kirkcaldy pack had pummelled away for several minutes before George Mangalo who had come off the bench carved his way through for a score, again converted by Sanft. Just as Navu returned the Falkirk flanker Bob Wyllie replaced him in the bin.
Re-starting with a one man advantage the Blues quickly added to their tally with Wilson again on the score sheet after Matt Harvey had secured a line-out ten metres out. The four try bonus point was now in the Kirkcaldy bag. The conversion was missed but Kirkcaldy now had a ten point lead.
Falkirk had just been restored to full strength when Kirkcaldy’s Dayle Turner was given a yellow card for breaking from the line-out far too early on two occasions. Any thoughts that Kirkcaldy may have had of extending their lead at this stage faded against a re-energized Falkirk team. Accurate handling and pace about the field gave the home side their chance of recovery. Exploiting short handed Kirkcaldy’s lack of cover, replacement winger Gordon McGuire sprinted down the wing and raced in to the posts to give Adamson another easy conversion to narrow their side’s deficit to a mere three points with fifteen minutes still to play.
Sanft saw a penalty chance hit a post and bounce out but after the game went into the final ten minutes Kirkcaldy regained control and within eight minutes three more tries swept Falkirk out of sight.
Kirkcaldy squad after the final whistle
The visitors’s pack re-asserted itself to allow Mangalo to round off a ferocious drive then centre Mark Wallace latched onto a scrummage penalty ball to score at the posts. This time Conor Littlejohn kicked the conversion. To cap an excellent individual performance teenage lock Shaun Orr, just before the final whistle, went over for his first try at any level of rugby.
This was a convincing win but could not be celebrated as the result from Jedburgh came through
Falkirk:- C Harris, N Lear, C Sangster, D Adamson, M Morrell, S McAllistair, M Bruce, C Reid, K Burney, D Jamieson, C Ronald, A Marshall, G Harkness, B Wyllie, P Navu
Replacements:- C McAskill, G Ramssay, C Gibson, G McGuire
Kirkcaldy:- C Littlejohn, S Cairns, C Goodall, M Wallace, G McKenzie, Q Sanft, C Harvey, M Thomson, G Wallace, W Gray, S Orr, M Harvey, L Neilson, R van Rensberg, C Wilson
Replacements:- G Mangalo, J Brown, D Turner, K Littlejohn
C Samson (Howe of Fife)
FFP STAR CHECK
3 Mark Wallace
2 Craig Wilson
1 George Mangalo
24 M Harvey
12 Turner, C Wilson
8 L Neilson
7 C Harvey
4 Orr, Fraser, M Wallace
3 Dunnett, Mitchell
2 G Wallace, Gillies, Gray
1 Oliver, McConnell, van Rensberg, Tasker, Brown, C Littlejohn, G Mangalo