1st XV v Kirkcaldy 13.1.18

Kirkcaldy 39    Dumfries Saints 12

Right from Saints kick off Kirkcaldy showed their intent to win their home tie having lost to Saints 31 : 24 back in September, one of only 2 games Kirkcaldy have lost this season.

The big Fife forwards were making yards, their ball retention was excellent and the team were playing to their strengths. Saints gave away a couple of penalties which were kicked to touch and Saints held the catch and drive from the lineouts but a quick ball out to Kirkcaldy’s outstanding centre Josh Laird playing his 1st game back since an injury in August and he crossed the line. The conversion made it 7 nil and Saints were yet to touch the ball.

The second restart was better and Saints were able to gain some possession which soon led to a penalty in the Kirkcaldy half but the goal attempt was missed. From the 22 drop out Saints kept up the pressure and were awarded a scrum just inside the 22. Finlay Miller picked up at number 8, did a one two with scrum half Jack Johnstone and scored at the posts. The conversion was missed 7 : 5.

Kirkcaldy were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes while their number 8 regained his composure on the touchline but were well drilled enough to retain possession of the ball for much of that period and give centre Laird another run in for his second try which was converted.

Saints again won some possession after the restart and kept the ball alive through phase after phase for Ali Jackson to score a great team try. John Carlisle converted taking the score to 14 : 12.

Back to 15 men and Kirkcaldy kept the ball for the last 10 minutes of the 1st half scoring a penalty and a converted try to go into half time 24 : 12 up.

Within a few minutes of the restart a charged down clearance gave Laird his hatrick which was converted taking the score to 31 : 12. Saints were spurred into action, the next 20 minutes was all Saints pressure, dominating set pieces they pounded the Kirkcaldy line but were up against an outstanding defence.

Saints had thrown everything they had into attack when an interception 5 metres out allowed Kirkcaldy to run it back into the Saints half where they gained a penalty to add another 3 points. Then in the final minutes they forced another poor clearance which they ran in with ease, it remained unconverted and the final score was 39 : 12.

This was not was of Saints better performances of the season, they had gifted a lot of possession to Kirkcaldy who demonstrated time after time that when they had the ball their big forwards were not going to part with it till they scored.

Squad: Jack Steele (Captain), Kenny Henderson, John Carlisle, Keagan Jones, Andrew Whiteford, Jordan Kerr, Jack Johnstone, Tom Martin, Zeke Dyson, Adam Prentice, James Clyde, Ali Jackson, Ryan Cruikshank, Gavin Wilson, Finlay Miller, Dougie Boyd, Mark McClatchey, Ben Johnstone and Rob Greenshields.

With Kirkcaldy on form sitting 6 points clear at the top of the league with a game in hand and Saints sitting 2nd next Saturdays home game at Park Farm against 3rd placed Biggar will be an interesting encounter.

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