BT National League Division 1
Musselburgh RFC V GHA RFC
Saturday 13th January 2018
After last week’s result against the runaway league leaders, Edinburgh Accies, ‘Burgh found themselves at home for the first time in 2018 to Giffnock side GHA, who they had already met twice this season. The first of those encounters at Braidholm in September in the League, a match that was certainly a close encounter, with GHA winning 24-19 and then again in November, where GHA had a more convincing result which took them to the next round of the BT National League cup.
With the ground soft under foot and a nip in the air GHA stand-off Andrew Goudie got proceedings underway. Musselburgh caught the kick-off and with coach Talac’s words ringing in their ears they got stuck in with some attitude and took the game to the visitors. This seemed to shock GHA, who infringed several times in the opening encounters, causing Mr Pouder to have words with their Captain, Goudie and award ‘Burgh a penalty, which they opted to kick for points. Unfortunately, it was just out of Danny Owenson’s range and landed short of the target. Again, GHA were penalised and this time Owenson kicked for touch. From the resultant line-out the ball went through the hands before Ruairidh Young went over in the corner, only for the ref to blow up for a forward pass and the score board remained at 0-0.
At this point all the play was by Musselburgh, but that was about to change when, totally against play, Edgar for GHA intercepted a wayward ‘Burgh pass and sprinted up the park to go in under the posts to put the first points on the board. Goudie adding the extras for 0-7.
This seemed to settle the visitors somewhat and they began to string some lovely passes together which saw them enter home territory. In desperation ‘Burgh gave away a penalty deep in their 22 which saw GHA put pressure on the home defence, only for David Corbenici to breach it and score an unconverted try out wide for 0-12.
With ‘Burgh’s defence at 6s and 7s GHA were on the front foot, then against the run of play Musselburgh stole the ball and Craig Owenson charged up the park, off-loading to Ruairidh Young who scored in the corner for an unconverted try and 5-12.
This, however was short lived as GHA came right back at ‘Burgh when splendid work between Andrew Goudie and Scott Plumridge made inroads into the Musselburgh half, Plumridge breaking the defence to dot down and Goudie converted for 5-19
Play was going backwards and forwards and from a scrum deep in GHA’s 22, Luke Hutson peeled off the back and went over, Owenson splitting the posts and the score board rolled on to 12-19.
Musselburgh now had their tails up and the forwards and backs were linking well with both Owenson’s, Fleming, Arthur, Hutson, Young and Pryde showing up well. GHA were then penalised for a high tackle and Owenson kicked for touch. Fleming gathered and the Mussie maul was on the move towards the line, with the ball coming out to Brad Graham who went through the visitor’s defence to score with Owenson converting to bring ‘Burgh right back into it at 19-19.
Unfortunately, this was to be short lived as GHA scored 2 quick tries, the first by Dario Ewing and the second by Ben Addison, only the first being converted by Goudie to bring the score to 19-31, and GHA had their try bonus on 34 minutes.
As halftime approached Musselburgh were penalised for being off side and the visitors kicked for touch, the resultant line-out being stolen by ‘Burgh as they also looked for their bonus point try before half time, but it was not to be, and the half-time score remained at MUSSELBURGH 19 GHA 31.
Musselburgh started the second half with no changes to their line-up, and full of vim and vigour as they mauled their way up the park, as well as releasing quick ball through the hands which involved both forwards and backs in the moves. However, they seemed to lose concentration for a spell and the ball was knocked on and any momentum was lost. Play became a bit scrappy as both sides tried to gain the upper hand as it swung backwards and forwards across the halfway mark. However, the visitors managed to break this deadlock as they strung several passes together which saw them encroach ever nearer the try line, before Edgar jinked his way through the home defence to score their 6th try which Goudie converted for 19-38 then from a ‘Burgh fumble GHA stole the ball and before the defensive line was in place Seitaro Usuda had scored and Goudie added the conversion for 19-45.
With 35 minutes to go ‘Burgh rang the changes with Smith, M Fleming, Stott, Pritchard and Slaven replacing Kennedy, Arthur, Gregor, Pryde and Doig, I assume, in the hope that fresh legs would assist in the scoring of the elusive fourth and much needed bonus point try. Both sides were giving away penalties and again Mr Pounder had to have words with the Captains as emotions grew heated. GHA were penalised for off-side, Owenson kicked for touch and ‘Burgh found themselves deep in the visitors 22. At the line-out the ball was gathered by Fleming and the forwards went into action, going over the white wash, but the GHA defence held firm and the ball was held up. From the scrum 5, Musselburgh were again camped on the GHA line and this time Hutson was deemed to be held up. Several phases of play later Danny Owenson was bundled over to score Musselburgh’s bonus point try and 24-45, ensuring that they would come away with one point from this match.
GHA caught the kick-off and came at ‘Burgh, who were now on the back foot as they scrambled to defend their line before they turned over ball, only for Addison to rip it back and GHA took the opportunity to rub salt into the ‘Burgh wounds as Addison scored and Goudie converted for, 24-52.
An injured Slaven was then replaced by Gregor as ‘Burgh tried to add points to the board, but once again handling errors prevented this from happening, and as the clock ticked towards no-side GHA once again had the upper hand and Musselburgh were scrambling to defend their lines, but Grant Mollison managed to find a gap to go over for an unconverted try and a final score of MUSSELBURGH 24 GHA 57.
Next week sees Musselburgh travel into Edinburgh to take on Stewart’s Melville FP RFC, who lie one place below them in the league.