Kirkcaldy's half time 6-3 lead did not reflect their territorial supremacy, although Dalziel had looked dangerous on more limited possession. The home defence was uncertain at times and the high ball bemused several defenders.. Dalziel full back Robert Simpson who had earlier kicked a penalty in response to two kicks from Kirkcaldy's Quintan Sanft missed a 39th minute penalty which would have given the Motherwell side a deserved half time draw.
KIRKCALDY 25 DALZIEL 13
Dalziel fail to stop Liam Neilson going in for the second try
The Kirkcaldy side which took the field was much changed from that which just failed to stay in P2 last spring. Injuries, unavailability, retirals and defections had all taken their toll. meaning there would be starting league debuts for Jamie Moffat, Chris Judd, Ross Girdler and Mark Graham.
In spite of their inexperienced squad Kirkcaldy started well enough with two incisive driving mauls producing a penalty chance for Quintan Sanft whose kick at goal fell short of target in the 4th minute. The stand off however made amends five minutes later with the first three pointer of the season. This lead lasted just over a minute with the referee penalising the Blues for not releasing. Robert Simpson struck a confident 35 metre kick for the equalising points.
Kirkcaldy supporters were cheering as the game went into the second quarter. Crisp handling set newcomer Chris Judd off on a 40 metre run which seemed to produce a try only for a touch judge to flag for a foot on the line a metre from the goal line.
Dalziel responded with their best attacking spell of the match culminating in two 5 metre line-outs. They lost control at the second of them when Kirkcaldy flanker Dayle Turner stole the ball at the tail and sped away to the half way line before being grounded.
Final try scored by George Mangalo from the lineout
Referee Alistair Watt (Cumbernauld) had his work cut out when a mass brawl erupted at half way and involving half the players. He was in no position to see the cause of the incident and had to content himself with a warning to the captains. Within a couple of minutes he did issue two yellow cards for apparently innocuous offences. Dalziel centre John Harris was the first to see yellow and Sanft kicked the penalty to restore the Kirkcaldy lead. Just after, Kirkcaldy replacement Greg Wallace was adjudged to have made a high tackle and it was his turn to go to the bin. Simpson missed the penalty, leaving the half time score 6-3 for Kirkcaldy.
From the re-start kick home lock Stuart Porter regained the ball but Dalziel crept offside at the maul. The visiting players assumed there would be a kick at goal and turned. Kirkcaldy prop George Mangalo spotted the lack of cover and blasted his way to the goal line from 25 metres out. Sanft’s conversion made the score 13-3.
This score gave the Blues added confidence and five minutes later a sparkling handling movement which involved half the team sent No 8 Liam Neilson over the near the posts, giving Sanft an easy conversion.
Now 20-3 in front and very much in charge, Kirkcaldy concentration dipped. A lost line-out at half way gave Dalziel a chance to show their attacking skills. The ball sped from their right touchline at half way to left winger James Baxendale whose pace exposed some fragility in the Kirkcaldy defence in scoring his side’s first try which remained unconverted.
Rab van Rensberg breaks through the Dalziel defence
Mangalo had his second try of the day ten minutes from the end. In a well rehearsed line-out move he took a line-out tap down and charged down the tram lines for a unconverted score. The Kirkcaldy lead was now extended to 25-8 and the points were in the bag
Although Simpson slipped through for a try in the last play of the game it was no more than a consolation leaving Kirkcaldy as deserved winners.
J Moffat. C Judd, W Berry, B Dunnet, J Wilson, Q Sanft, G McKenzie, R Girdler, W Gray, G Mangalo, S Orr, S Porter, M Graham, D Turner, L. Neilson
Replacements:- G Wallace, R van Rensberg, K Littlejohn, D Frew
R Simpson, J Baxendale, G Duguid, J Harris, G McCallum, A Scott, R Donnachie, L Barclay, S Baird, G Sloan, C Simmonds, K Watters, D Picken, G Armstrong, C Reid
Replacements:-W Wylie, D Irvine, J Morrisey, R Westwood
A Watt (Cumbernauld)
FFP Star Check
3 George Mangalo
2 Stuart Porter
1 Shaun Orr