Caithness 3 - 22 Dunfermline
Dunfermline Win In First Of Three Big Away Games
The trip to Thurso was the first of three lengthy away journeys facing Derek O’Riordan’s team in just four weeks but the miles made no difference to the McKane men as they remain hot on the heels of league leaders Perthshire.
With a strong wind dictating how the match would be played, Dunfermline had it in their favour in the first half and Gregor McNeish almost took advantage after five minutes but his drop-goal attempt went wide of the upright.
With the conditions making life difficult for the kickers, McNeish then saw a penalty miss the target before the visitors made the breakthrough following a period of sustained pressure.
An up and under from McNeish, and a co-ordinated kick and chase from full back Graeme Lowe and Liam Arbuthnott, forced the Caithness full back to spill the ball which Lowe managed to force over the line for a try. The conversion was missed but McNeish converted a second penalty award before the interval to give Dunfermline an 8-0 lead.
Dunfermline conceded a number of early penalties in the second half for not releasing or rolling away in the tackle and it was not long before Kris Hamilton, on his second effort, found his range to give Caithness their first points of the afternoon.
The home side attempted to kick for territory but the deep field defence of Graeme Hall, Arbuthnott and Lowe thwarted their efforts to the Highlanders’ frustration.
A rare forage into the Caithness half resulted in a period of pressure from Dunfermline but to no avail as Maurice Pinkerton was sin-binned by the referee after he was judged to have used the boot recklessly going into a ruck.
Caithness continued to throw everything at Dunfermline but the McKane defence stood firm and the return of Pinkerton from the sin-bin rejuvinated them as they took control of the game.
A break by Murray Callan took them to within five metres of the line and Bright was there to pounce on a loose ball to dive over for his first try of the season, which McNeish converted.
Caithness were shaken and before they could re-group an excellent kick and chase by Lowe and Hall resulted in a loose pass being thrown which Bright intercepted to run from 30 metres to score under the posts. McNeish converted but try as they might, the visitors were unable to earn a bonus point win.
Coach Caine McIntyre said, “That is one of our best all-round performances this season and I am confident that we can now build on that for the remainder of the season.”
Next up for the McKane Park men is another trip north to face Gordonians on Saturday and the match has a 2pm kick off