April 21, 2019, 9:53 p.m.
Musselburgh v Jed-Forest
Tennent’s National League Division 1
Saturday 20th April 2019
Report by Ian Donaldson
Occasionally, in sport, even a defeat ca be satisfactory. This was never truer that ‘Burgh’s glorious 5 try loss to the title chasing Jed-Forest which enabled ‘Burgh to be promoted and take their place among the unpaid elite of Scottish club rugby. The much-mooted league reconstruction left six potential promotion places at the start of the season, but nonetheless, even the most fervent ‘Burgh fan really didn’t think we could get promoted from a very tough league. What has happened this season has been the reward for all the players at the club, the coaches, the committee and all the officials of the club and the members and supporters have enjoyed it too!
Optimism was in short supply as kick off approached on an afternoon of glorious sunshine as Jed-Forest, who were chasing the title, brought their strongest XV to Stoneyhill, which included their stellar seven’s players, the much-admired Young brothers. Musselburgh on the other hand, had at least ten regulars unavailable, but in the future stories will be told of how the players who came in gave a tremendous display of heart and guts to see their club promoted.
The game itself kicked off in glorious warm sunshine, so warm in fact, that it could not have been comfortable to play in, as Jed stand-off Robbie Yourston kicked off the early action producing attacking flurries by both teams, the highlight of which, from a ‘Burgh perspective being an interception by Brian Walls which took him deep into Jed territory before being halted by the visiting defence. Then on 7 minutes ‘Burgh supporters got a glimpse of the back play that Jed are renowned for when Gregor Young opened the scoring with a superb solo run, jinking through ‘Burgh defence to touch down by the posts, close enough for Yourston to add the extras for 0-7.
‘Burgh appeared to be rallying after a fine break by Kyle McGhie, but the Borderers weathered the storm and set up camp in ‘Burgh’s 22 and pressed constantly, after ‘Burgh’s defensive efforts had been penalised. The hosts brave defence was finally punctured in the 21st minute as Jed No 8 Darren Gillespie scored a pushover try which Yourston converted for 0-14.
A fine start by Jed and things looked bleak for ‘Burgh, but due to the wonders of modern technology, some ‘Burgh fans were able to check the progress of Gala, our main rivals for the treasured promotion place, and found that they were also being beaten and that the contest would be going right down to the wire. Then after a fine period of possession and some good handling by the ‘Burgh backs Martin Cimprich went over for a fine unconverted try and 5-14 after 32 minutes.
As the news began to filter through that Gala were losing quite heavily to Marr at Fullerton, the ‘Burgh lads gave their all to stay close to Jed and fight all the way. The home crowd were, however silenced on 39 minutes as Gillespie scored his second and Jed’s third try with a pushover and Yourston converted for 5-21 with the interval approaching. The last play of the first half produced it’s rewards for ‘Burgh’s never say die spirit as Kyle McGhie, our Young Player of the Year, produced another moment of magic, in a season of magic moments for him, to split the Jed defence and jink his way to the line before Brian Walls converted for a halftime score of MUSSELBURGH 12 JED-FOREST 21
Musselburgh started the second half pressing Jed back, and a great interception and finish by James Ferguson brought them back to 17-21 and within a converted score. At this juncture @Burgh really had their tails up, Colin Arthur was punching holes in the Jed defence, Tait and Foley on the wings were stretching Jed and Kyle McGhie was a constant menace. Then after ‘Burgh’s most incessant period of pressure in the match they took the lead after 48 minutes after lots of possession and great handling by forwards and backs had seen them go back and forth across the pitch several times before Gregor Tait went over in the corner before Brian Walls magnificent effort at a touchline conversion which unluckily came back off the post. But ‘Burgh now led 22-21 against a full-strength talented Jed side who were playing for the title. This speaks volumes for the heart and guts and no little skill displayed by the entire ‘Burgh squad on duty today.
This produced another upswing in the emotions of the ‘Burgh supporters, the sun was shining, the lads are playing out of their skins, and we’re getting promoted! Then we were brought back to earth again on 55 minutes when the referee awarded Jed a penalty try for 22-28 and then 3 minutes later Gillespie the Jed No 8 went over for his “hat trick” try which was unconverted but left the visitors with a lead of 22-33. Although ‘Burgh were back in arrears on the scoreboard, news kept filtering through from Fullerton that Gala were losing. Then with 10 minutes to go Jed-Forest probably secured the result of this particular match when Dan Wardrop went over for a pushover try which was converted by Yourston for 22-40.
Then with 8 minutes remaining ‘Burgh brought the house down when after yet another intelligent break by McGhie, Gregor Tait scored his second try of the day which on this occasion McGhie converted for 29-40 which turned out to be the final score and ‘Burgh were jubilant at having attained promotion into the higher reaches of the Scottish game and into a higher position than the club has been in for 33 years, this was indeed a historical day for ‘Burgh.
This has been brought about by a huge squad effort throughout the tough season and the spirit and togetherness of the squad will be toasted by the “Portugeezers” tonight in a far-off land and the toast will be to their team mates who “did the business” on their behalf today.
The entire squad were heroes today as the sun shone on their magnificent effort and praise must be given to all concerned for making this such a memorable season for ‘Burgh. If this doesn’t produce big crowds at the sevens and next season, I don’t know what will!
Bob Stott, Ross Gregor, Colin Arthur, Jack Anderson, Jack Haynes, Michael Fleming, Jonathan Crain, Fraser Millar, Kyle McGhie, Brian Walls, Gregor Tait, Ronan Stott, James Ferguson, Tom Foley, Martin Cimprich, Donald Grant, Euan Bonthron, Conor Slaven, Gary Neill, Cameron McMillan