Lasswade 22 Kirkaldy 18

Monday November 9th 2015

Reporter Richard Payne

This was something of a crunch game for the hosts. Only Kirkcaldy and Greenock stood between them and the bottom spot and if they could not win this one at home then they were almost certainly in deep trouble.

Three days of rainy weather which persisted through much of the match meant that conditions under foot and overhead were not going to support a game of handling rugby and both sides struggled with the slippery ball and playing surface.

Kicking off towards the Town Centre, Lasswade dominated the early exchanges and with just seven minutes gone the ball was swung from a ruck on the right touchline inside the Kirkcaldy 22 to Andy Hall with an overlap on the left and he rounded his opposite number to touch down in the corner.

The home side continued to have most of the territory and position but it needed their stock stand-by of a short range catch and drive on the half hour to add their second try. Hunter claimed this one and Smith’s conversion made it 12-0.

Just six minutes later Andy Hall took a second opportunity to show his pace and at three unanswered tries the game began to look to be secure even at that early stage.

Kirkcaldy had other ideas. With just a minute of the half left they worked their way up the park mostly through their bulky forwards until Mitchell was able to ground the ball at the front base of the post pads making for an easy two points by Smith and a half time score of 17-7.

Kirkcaldy adapted better to the conditions in the second half largely abandoning any real attempt at open handling rugby and kicking for territory during most possessions. The tactic paid off and a penalty either side of the hour allowed Smith to narrow the deficit to four points.

Ten minutes later another raking kick set up a line out six metres from the Lasswade line. When the catch and drive broke down to a ruck, the ball was flicked blind to prop Mangalo whose considerable bulk proved unstoppable from five metres out. Smith was unable to extend the one point lead as the conversion slipped wide.

With their nose in front for the first time but just by a whisker, Kirkcaly set about defending what would be only their second win of this League season.

Lasswade on the other hand attacked all the harder and runs by Cieran Lamont and by their man of the match, Dougie Hearn, took play deep into the visitors 22. With just five minutes left a line-out 10 metres from the Fifers line set up another catch and drive with Donald Hearn touching down to claim the four-try bonus point and retake the lead at 22-18.

Needing at least a try to win, Kirkcaldy could not crack the Lasswade defence again and there was an audible sigh of relief from the home support when the ref blew for no side.

Results elsewhere favour Lasswade and this five point win leapfrogs them from tenth to seventh though they have played at least one more game than all of the other teams.

Lasswade have the opportunity to build on this win when Ardrossan Accies travel to Hawthrornden this Saturday. With just three wins from nine, all of them at home, Accies are eighth in the table. Kick-off 2pm.

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