NO, IT’S NOT A TYPO! GHA LOOSE 3-0!

GHA RFC MATCH 219: KIRKCALDY RFC 3 – 0 GHA RFC 

2011/2012: Scottish Premiership Three

KIRKCALDY RFC 

 GHA RFC

 J. Moffat 15 R. O’Keefe
I. Gillies 14 R. Jericevich
 W. Berry 13 H. O’Hare
M. Wallace 12 A. Henderson (c)
J. Wilson 11 G. Adams
K. Littlejohn 10 C. Sorbie
G. McKenzie 9 M. Houston
 R. Girdler 1 S. Spowart
W. Gray 2 D. Malcolm
G. Mangalo 3 S. Fisher
S. Orr 4 A. Barnett
M. Graham 5 J. Auld
G. Neilson 6 I. Nelson
R. Van Rensberg 7 A. Campbell
 L. Neilson 8 D. Kellock
G. Brooksbank 16 J. Low
M. Thomson 17 F. Stewart
C. Wilson 18 B. Wamberg
R. Low 19 C. Binnie
Try
Con
 McKenzie Pen
DG
Referee
Ms A. Pratt (Watsonians FC)

 

This game will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. The scoreline pretty much sums it up, both teams effectively cancelled each other out and neither team looked likely to score a try save for a few half breaks here and there which were ultimately snuffed out. An exceptionally high penalty count meant that play was stinted and failed to ever really get going.

Not for 24 years have Kirkcaldy been involved in as tight a game as this with the outcome settled by a single penalty goal kicked in the first half. Curiously that was against Clarkston, a forerunner club of GHA.

The early stages of this game certainly didn’t indicate that it would be without a try as the visitors dominated possession, forcing the Blues back into their 22 for much of the first quarter. Accurate tactical kicking regularly stretched the Kirkcaldy defence and set up possible try scoring chances. Even at this stage, one of the main features of the game emerged, the abrasive tackling

The Blues took a while to assert themselves and almost twenty minutes had been played before play moved into the GHA half of the field. A hack downfield by scrum half Gavin McKenzie exposed some fragility in the GHA defence and this signalled the start of better times for the Blues.

Earlier GHA composure slowly evaporated. Even 52 times capped Andrew Henderson and former Glasgow pro Heifin O’Hare, in the centre, became fairly anonymous as half time neared.

By the half hour mark coach Quintan Sanft had sent on last season’s two top forwards, Mark Thomson and Craig Wilson from the bench and their presence was quickly felt. A forward surge in 32 minutes forced a penalty out on the right and McKenzie converted from a difficult angle. Near half time he missed from a much easier position which left the score 3-0 at the break.

GHA rediscovered their earlier energy from the re-start and Kirkcaldy had to work hard in defence to keep them at bay. Centres Willie Berry and Mark Wallace were especially effective in the second half and their consistent tackling gradually blunted GHA offence.

Their lack of scoring success appeared to haunt the visitors as their play became more untidy. The Kirkcaldy back row excelled in winning the loose ball and their driving meant that GHA had few opportunities to counterattack.

Flanker Gavin Neilson, supported by Rab van Rensberg and Liam Neilson, stood out for their ball carrying and protection. Prop Mark Thomson, immovable in the scrum, also provided a platform for the other forwards to work off.

While GHA looked dangerous in mid field, they seldom sustained their movements into the scoring zone. Their best chances came from returning some wayward Kirkcaldy kicking but they then faced the blue defensive wall.

For their part Kirkcaldy worked their way into several try scoring chances, only to waste overlaps. The Blues could well have been well out of sight by the closing stages but for erratic goal kicking which cost them a possible twelve points, including a McKenzie miss in front of the posts two minutes from the end.

It was fair reflection of the balance of play that GHA had only one kick at goal in the whole game, a Murray Houston penalty which went to the left of the posts mid way through the second half. GHA lost prop Sean Fisher to the bin in stoppage time and with numerical advantage Kirkcaldy played through to the end by means of a series of scrummaged penalties in the GHA 22 retaining possession until the final whistle.

Source: Kirkcaldy RFC & Bill McMurtrie

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