Jan. 26, 2019, 11:25 p.m.
BT National Division 1
Musselburgh v Cartha Queens Park
Saturday 26th January 2019
Musselburgh went into todays game having narrowly lost their last 2 games, at home to Gala and away to Hamilton, with high hopes of returning to winning ways. This looked to be the case in the first quarter of the game, but once again the Musselburgh faithful were left wondering, after 80 minutes what had happened to the fine vein of form ‘Burgh had been having this season.
With grey skies overhead, a light drizzle descended to dampen proceedings as Danny Owenson kicked off with the stiff breeze behind them. Despite the dreich weather ‘Burgh started the brighter of the two sides and very quickly had Cartha scrambling to defend their lines, but Colin Arthur was too strong and powered over to put the first points on the board, Danny Owenson adding the extras and a 7-0 home lead with less than 5 minutes on the clock.
From the restart the visitors knocked on, giving ‘Burgh the scrum which saw Cartha giving away several penalties at this set piece that ‘Burgh seemed to be dominating. At this point the Cartha defence was disjointed as the home attack continued, with the forwards, especially the front row of Colin Arthur, Ross Gregor and Craig Owenson, aided and abetted by Luke Hutson, Graeme Bowman and William Fleming. With the visiting bench being vociferous in their claims that Musselburgh were infringing at the scrum, the referee, Mr Clark, saw things differently and penalised the Cartha tighthead, Marcus Goodwin for boring in. Danny Owenson kicked for touch, William Fleming caught the throw and ‘Burgh surged towards the line, Luke Hutson going over in the corner, Danny Owenson missed the difficult kick for 12-0.
Musselburgh kept the pressure on the visitors and the ref spoke to flanker Calum Dickson after several quick penalties were conceded which saw ‘Burgh deep in the visitors 22. Cartha then replaced lose-head, Mark Barrowman with Istok Totic to help prevent their scrum creaking under the pressure. As the drizzle became heavier both sides seemed to lose concentration as the handling errors increased. To allow the game to flow the Ref seemed to prefer to play advantage rather than the stop/start set piece favoured by some men in the middle. On the 20-minute mark the home side replaced Ross Gregor with Bob Stott who took over the hooker role.
After Cartha’s close run match last week against Jed, the Glasgow side began to dig deep as play swung backwards and forwards, then on 30 minutes they got the break they were looking for when Graham Williamson scored their first points and stand-off Wayne Burrows added the conversion for 12-7. This seemed to give them confidence which saw ‘Burgh on the back foot and having to once again defend their lines, only to give away a kickable penalty, which Wayne Burrows duly slotted to bring the score to 12-10. With the last few minutes of the half remaining ‘Burgh managed to hold strong as Cartha pressed and it was only thanks to desperate defence and a home player getting under the ball that held up a Cartha try for a halftime score of MUSSELBURGH 12 CARTHA QUEENS PARK 10.
Cartha started the second half as they had finished the first and it wasn’t long before they took the lead when No 8 Chris Wicks went in under the posts after he had slipped through Musselburgh tackles, Wayne Burrows converted for 12-17 and Cartha had their “tails up”, giving them the confidence to try some different moves, which saw a drop goal attempt just sail wide.
As the ‘Burgh support began to realise things weren’t going their way again this week, the coaches brought on some fresh legs, Ross Gregor came back on at hooker for Bob Stott, and Scotland U18 Nathan Sweeney made his first XV debut when he replaced Gregor Tait. Musselburgh continued to be dominant at the scrum much to the annoyance of the bigger visiting pack, thus allowing Danny Owenson to kick for touch at the resultant penalties, winning valuable territory for ‘Burgh, but handling errors meant they were not benefiting fully from this advantage. Cammy Pryde and Max Outram then replaced Jack Anderson and Paddy Brown. Cartha doing similar when they replaced Peter Hollier and Scott McInnes. Cartha continued to have ‘Burgh under the cosh, and extended their lead when Calum Dickson found a way through to score before Wayne Burrows converted as Cartha pulled away, 12-24.
Martin Cimprich was replaced by Scotland U20’s scrum half, Kyle McGhie, who resumed his half-back partnership with Danny Owenson when he took over at 9 and Owenson moved to 10. With the clock ticking down, ‘Burgh seemed to be running out of options and time, especially when the Cartha’s full back, Gregor Davidson went over for their bonus point try, Wayne Burrows again slotting the 2 points for 12-31.
There then followed a period of scrappy play, which saw both sides concede penalties, however, Musselburgh was able to win some valuable territory when Danny Owenson found touch, from the resultant lineout the ball was passed through the hands before Nathan Sweeney made the try scoring pass to Sandy Watt who saw a gap and sprinted to go over in the corner, Danny Owenson missed the difficult conversion attempt. Unfortunately, as Watt scored, he was injured and had to leave the field, thus Gregor Tait re-entered the fray. With the persistent drizzle making handling difficult for both sides it was very much a forward dominated game which did not allow for the backs to show their pace and skills.
With no side looming Colin Arthur, Craig Owenson and Luke Hutson made valuable yards before Nathan Sweeney burst up the wing, passing to James Ferguson, but he was caught just short of the line and the ball knocked from his hands deep in the Cartha 22. From the resultant Cartha scrum the ball popped out and was picked up by Luke Hutson and Musselburgh seemed to switch on and they surged forward, with Colin Arthur being prominent in the move. Cartha replaced hooker Fergus Paul with Marcus Goodwin to try and halt the attack. Danny Owenson then showed and went, which caught the Cartha defence napping before he was caught. Things were getting a bit heated as ‘Burgh tried to salvage something from the game before Cartha’s flanker Calum Dickson was shown a red for throwing a punch. From the resultant penalty Musselburgh went over, but Mr Clark deemed it to be held up.
With only a few minutes left on the clock Colin Arthur was replaced by Bob Stott as ‘Burgh fought for their bonus point try, which duly arrived from an attacking scrum when Man of the Match Luke Hutson scored his second and Musselburgh’s fourth for a final score of MUSSELBURGH 24 CARTHA QUEENS PARK 31.
This was not the result that Musselburgh wanted but taking nothing away from Cartha, who were deserved winners as they appeared to want it more. With 3 defeats in as many weeks, the Musselburgh coaches have been left with a lot to work on before Musselburgh play Newton Stewart in the quarter final of the National League Cup at Stoneyhill on the 16th February.