Posted on: April 2nd, 2017
BT National League Division One
Musselburgh V Jed- Forest
Saturday 1st April 2017
In the months since the season began on 3rd of September, Musselburgh have had mixed results with wins against Stewart’s Melville, Aberdeen Grammar, Hamilton, Howe of Fife and Jed Forest. These eight wins, along with ten try bonus points and two losing bonus points ensured our position in BT National League Division One for a third season. There are no “easy” games in this league and the players have all had to dig deep on occasions to achieve the results. At times throughout the season we have been unable to field a full-strength team, due to injuries, work commitments and weddings, luckily, we have a 2XV to pull players from on those occasions, and again these lads have stepped up to the plate when required.
After last weekend’s loss against Marr, ‘Burgh were looking to end the season on a high with a win against third placed Jed Forest. However, ‘Burgh had to make some last-minute changes to the team as Andrew Cook got injured in the warm-up, meaning that Rory Watt and Craig Veitch teamed up in the centre and Rory Smith came off the bench to start on the wing.
On the stroke of three, the man-in-the-middle, Ross Mabon blew his whistle and Jed’s scrum-half, Gary Munro got proceedings underway with a kick deep into ‘Burgh territory, unfortunately for ‘Burgh the ball was knocked on. Both teams traded penalties as they settled the nerves, with the visitors seeming to settle first and tested the ‘Burgh defence. It held strong, but the ball popped out from the breakdown and landed over the line, thankfully for Musselburgh, Bowman reacted quicker and touched the ball down. With Danny Owenson dropping to stand-off, the scrum-half duties were on Sandy Watt’s shoulders again this week. Jed were penalised for an early push at the Musselburgh scrum, Owenson kicked for touch and from the resultant line-out the ball was gathered by William Fleming and it passed through the hands of Conor Slaven, Graeme Bowman, back to William Fleming, then to Danny Owenson, who made the final pass to his brother Craig. Unfortunately, the ball was knocked on and the visitors had the scrum, which they won and their lines were cleared. Jed stole the lineout and they were now on the attack, but in their eagerness, they were pinged at the breakdown and Danny Owenson again kicked for territory. The homesters gathered and Jed were scrambling to defend their lines. The ‘Burgh forwards and backs were working well together and Danny Owenson made the try scoring pass to Sandy Watt who went in under the posts, making the conversion easier for Owenson to add the extras and Musselburgh were on the scoreboard, 7-0.
Jed seemed to be spurred on by the ‘Burgh score and they came right back at them and were soon in the Musselburgh 22, but Michael Fleming managed to turn the ball over and Jed had to scramble back to stem the attack which, again saw Musselburgh go through the phases with McNairn, Graham, W Fleming to the fore. Jed were penalised for an infringement at the breakdown and D Owenson kicked for points, adding a further 3 to take the score to 10-0.
‘Burgh were on the front foot and Anusha Rajasooriya (Bizzy) caught Jed napping when he made a burst up the wing and the visitors were chasing to defend their lines. All to no avail as Rory Smith went in in the corner for an unconverted try and 15-0.
From the kick-off, Jed were determined to get themselves on the scoresheet and they kicked a huge, well placed kick which saw them deep in the Musselburgh 22. William Fleming secured for ‘Burgh and set the platform for a further attack up the park. ‘Burgh were awarded a penalty for an infringement at the breakdown and Owenson kicked for touch. From the resultant lineout, ‘Burgh secured the ball and the Musselburgh maul was on the move and Craig Owenson had the ball in hand when the maul went over the line and he scored the first of his hat-trick of tries. His brother missed the difficult conversion attempt from out wide, 20-0.
Jed found themselves chasing the game, a situation they were not used to this season. They launched an attack, but the ball was turned over and the momentum changed again. But, out of nowhere, Jed had the ball and Calum Young sprinted through the defence to go in under the posts, making the conversion easy for Gary Munro and Jed were on the scoreboard, 20-7.
This score encouraged Jed and a few minutes later Slorance scored and Munro converted to bring them back into the game at 20-14. Jed now had their tails up and were coming at Musselburgh, but with the first half coming to an end the score remained at Musselburgh 20 Jed-Forest 14 at half-time.
Danny Owenson got the second half underway, his kick being chased and gathered by Michael Fleming and Musselburgh continued to put Jed under pressure. Ben Hibberd burst up the line with Hutson in support. Musselburgh were linking well and going through the phases. Jed then lost Gregor Law when he was shown a yellow card for deliberate hands in the ruck, thus preventing a try. However, the bonus point try was merely delayed when Craig Owenson scored from a maul, his brother Danny converting for 27-14.
Musselburgh rang the changes when Walker, Crain, Hamilton and Declan Slaven replaced Bowman, McNairn, Michael Fleming and Conor Slaven. These changes unsettled the ‘Burgh dynamics, allowing Jed to score their third try when Robbie Yourston scored an unconverted try and 27-19.
‘Burgh, not to be out done were soon on the attack with Rory Watt, Crain, D Slaven and Hutson making the yards before the ball found its way into the hands of scrum-half Watt who scored his second and Musselburgh’s fifth try under the posts and Owenson added the extra two points for 34-19.
Kicks were traded as play went back and forth before Jed knocked on deep in the Musselburgh 22. Jed were now getting frantic as the clock was ticking down and decided to take a quick line-out, they were brought back by Mr Mabon as the line-out had formed. Declan Slaven stole ball and ‘Burgh were again on the attack, with Jed having to scramble to defend their lines, only for Craig Owenson to fine a hole in said defence to score his hat-trick, which was converted by his younger brother Danny for 41-19.
However, ‘Burgh were not finished and managed to get over the line once more but to the delight of the Jed support it was held up by stout defending and determination of the Jed forwards. The score was only delayed as Ben Hibberd scored Musselburgh’s seventh try of the day and the seventy-eighth of the season. Danny Owenson having the last word as he converted for a final score of Musselburgh 48 Jed-Forest 19.
Although Musselburgh lost more games than they won, it has been a successful season and we can look back on the highs and lows that it has produced and hopefully learn and build on them.
Next season will see several more journeys into the Borders as Gala come down from the Premier League and Kelso (or possibly Peebles) being promoted from BT National League Division 2. Depending on the play-off result in the game between Hawick and Edinburgh Accies this will determine if we have the short hop along the road to Raeburn Place or a bus journey to Mansfield Park. Although there will be no journey to Fullerton Park in Troon for the 1XV as Marr secured promotion to the Premier League, there will still be a journey West to Dumbreck to play Cartha Queens Park following their promotion.
© 2017 MRFC.