GHA 87 Kirkcaldy 3
Newly promoted Kirkcaldy arrived at Braidholm determined to begin to improve their position in the league. GHA for their part were focussed on continuing their good form in what could be a tricky match. The players were greeted by a dry pitch but would have to cope with a biting cross wind. As usual both sides prepared carefully going through a number of set unit and whole team drills.
GHA kicked off and immediately sent a long kick into the visitors twenty two metre area. The visiting side failed to clear the danger and GHA began to win good possession and drove for the line. Despite being repelled at first after two minutes a quick ball from the scrum allowed Ben Addison to scythe through the Kirkcaldy rearguard and score. There was no conversion and thus after three minutes the score was GHA 5 KIRKCALDY 0.
This set back seemed to affect the sides in different ways. The visitors looked shocked at the frailty of their defence and the home side sensed that taking the ball into the tackle and keeping it alive for fast recycling through the backs could be productive. The visitors were struggling to get out of their own half and when they did try to move forward found the home defence was strong and resourceful. After six minutes GHA were pressing on the Kirkcaldy five metre line. A quickly released pass by the ham and eggs at half back, messrs Baird and McCorkindale ( which was to become a key feature of the match) allowed Max MacFarlane to send the struggling visiting defence the wrong way as he sidestepped his way over the line. George Baird converted and the score after nine minutes was GHA 10 KIRKCALDY 0. The conversion was a success and the score was now GHA 12 KIRKCALDY 0.
Kirkcaldy attempted to regroup with notable efforts by Struan Robertson and Jack Pow to pierce the home defence. GHA were quick to close such dangers down and further efforts by Gerard Queen to find a way through were also thwarted. However the home side were adjudged to have strayed offside and a penalty was awarded in front of the posts. Findlay Smith converted to make the score after fourteen minutes GHA 12 KIRKCALDY 3.
The home side quickly returned to attack mode and a seering break from midfield by Michael Fox ably supported by colleagues tore a huge gap in the visitors rearguard. As the visitors desperately tried to stem the flow , the home side recycled the ball to allow Max Macfarlane to burst through to score. The try was converted so the score after sixteen minutes was GHA 19 Kirkcaldy 3.
The visitors continued to try and bring the game into the GHA half but a tendency to attempt to use a crash ball move continually with perhaps only one player in support, was read by the GHA players and was blunted on each attempt. In contrast the home side were continually looking to run at the visitors with some impressive close order interchange passing between forwards and backs before the ball was spun wide through a series of feints and mis moves which troubled the Kirkcaldy side throughout the match. Michael Scott was coming from deep to make the initial gain in territory before accurate support and quick hands allowed the ball to be recycled. In twenty minute in exactly this ploy, the ball, deep inside the visitors half was recycled to allow Ben Addison to employ his scalding pace and take himself away from the Kirkcaldy defence to score. George Baird converted and the score now was GHA 26 Kirkcaldy 3.
The GHA forwards began to rampage through the KIrkcaldy ranks but did so in an impressive well supported manner which consistently gained territory and allowed good quick ball for Ross McCorkindale to orchestrate ploys and moves in the back division with telling effect. On the half hour mark, the home side were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. George Baird took the penalty quickly and weaved his way through despairing attempts to stop him in the twenty two metre area to score and convert the try. The score on thirty one minutes was now GHA 33 KIRKCALDY 3.
Bravely the visitors attempted to drive the home side back into their own half and indeed set up some promising possession inside the GHA ten metre area. Electing this time to pass the ball through hands a pass was intercepted by the lightning reaction of Charlie Lonergan who ran from his own half to score under the posts to leave the visiting side desolate. The try was converted and the score was now GHA 40 KIRKCALDY 3.
As the visiting side looked to build on the restart they lost possession on half way to the eager forwards of GHA who provided quality ball to a back line that was running at opponents with tremendous confidence and accuracy. As swift passing moved the ball, the visitors were forced to back pedal and Ben Addison on receiving a pass broke away to step inside and score. The try was again converted and the score was now as we approached half time; GHA 47 KIRKCALDY 3.
From the restart GHA attacked and forays by messrs Kerr, McCarthy, Hardie Ewing and Scott all working in tandem drove the home side deep into Kirkcaldy territory. As the ball was put through hands and a lovely mis pass sent Ross McCorkindale in to score to the delight of the home support. The try was converted and so at half time the score was : GHA 54 Kirkcaldy 3.
It had been a difficult half for the visitors who could not secure any quality ball against a home side who attacked with relish at every opportunity and harried the visitors into conceding possession and forced them on to the back foot for most of the half. A spirited start by the Kirkcaldy side quickly fizzled out as GHA won possession and once more attacked. A penalty inside the Kirkcaldy half was taken quickly and as the visitors failed to regroup the ball was passed through hands at speed to allow Grant Mollison to score which was converted. Thus the score after three minutes was now: GHA 61 KIrkcaldy 3.
With the visitors looking increasingly bereft of ways to halt the incursions of the home side, George Baird ran through from the twenty two metre line to score. He converted his try to make the score after nine minutes GHA 68 Kirkcaldy 3.
The visiting side were now giving away a number of penalties in their own twenty two metre area which allowed the very sharp George Baird and his partner Ross McCorkindale to set up wave after wave of attacking ploys. Connor Wood was yellow carded inside his own twenty two metre area and from a subsequent scrum and break, Michael Fox drove through a ruck of players to score. With the conversion the score after sixteen minutes was now: GHA 75 Kirkcaldy 3.
Briefly as we headed to the twentieth minute mark, the visitors rallied and pressed into theGHA half. However strong tackling and great work in the loose soon re established momentum and possession for the home side.Luis Barron surged forward and as had been typical of the home side all afternoon, when he was stopped the ball was quickly recycled to a flying set of backs with a sprinkling of forwards whose accurate passing and linking had been a hugely effective weapon throughout the match. As the ball was quickly moved, Grant Mollison finished the move off by going over to score. The score after twenty four minutes was: GHA 80 KIRKCALDY 3.
The conversion failed. As we moved towards the end of the half a very late surge by the visitors was rebuffed and a mishandled ball led to Cameron KIng making a huge break through the visitor ranks before laying a perfectly timed pass to Ross Findlay who scored.The try was converted and after thirty six minutes the score was GHA 87 KIRKCALDY 3.
There was no further scoring. It had been an impressive team display by the home side who maintained their concentration and ability to execute the basics accurately throughout. A resolute defence on the few occasions that Kirkcaldy broke out of their half negated any progress for the visitors.
GHA: G.MOLLISON C.KING C.LONERGAN M.MacFARLANE B.ADDISON R.McCORKINDALE G.BAIRD M.SCOTT D.EWING M.FOX J.McCARTHY A.KERR E.HARDIE R.ANGUS J.SUTHERLAND – Replacements: L.BARRON S.CARSON s.MULHOLLAND R.FINDLAY A.SPOWART
KIRKCALDY: F.SMITH S.ANDERSON C.LITTLEJOHN J.MOFFAT O.BONNER A.BLACK G.McKENZIE G.QUEEN G.WALLACE M.HARPER C.WOOD S.ROBERTSON J.DENTON R.BROWN J.POW – Replacements: W.BEATTIE C.HAMILTON S.BARCLAY A.BROOKS J.BARCLAY
SCORERS: P – SMITH
REFEREE: MR T FRENCH
ASSISTANT REFEREES: MR J HAWRYLUK-BEATON MR B NEVINS