Nov. 18, 2018, 4:58 p.m.
Tennent’s National League Division 1
Musselburgh v Kelso
Saturday 17th November 2018
Report by Ian Donaldson
Third placed Musselburgh welcomed Kelso as the second half of the league programme commenced. The corresponding fixture in September had produced a 19-12 win to Musselburgh, and many expected more of the same. What a misguided assumption that proved to be! A rampant ‘Burgh side, not for the first time, buried the opposition under a deluge of tries, much to the delight of the local supporters, many of whom had attended the Beaujolais breakfast in aid of Marie Curie and My Name’5 Doddie Foundation held earlier at the club. The only changes in the home side being James Ferguson, who replaced Martin Cimprich who was on International duties for The Czech Republic at fullback and Sandy Watt returning from injury on the wing.
Before the visitor’s kicked off, a minute’s silence was observed for Kelso player, Ian Whellans who sadly died this week.
Kelso started well gaining both early territory and possession with halfbacks Phil Hume and Murray Hastie prominent, with Clark, Izuchukwu and Robert Hastie working well in the loose, but ‘Burgh then turned the tables, with a fine handling move from deep, which culminated in a sprint up the wing by Gregor Tait who released James Paterson with the scoring pass to put ‘Burgh ahead with a fine unconverted try in 5 minutes, 5-0.
Musselburgh, this season, appear to be making a speciality of scoring from deep with swift counter attacks, that was certainly in evidence when Kyle McGhie increased their lead after 15 minutes with a superb solo run which concluded under the posts for Danny Owenson’s easy conversion and a 12-0 lead. The third try, a mere 5 minutes later was another counter attack which saw James Ferguson sprint up the wing to go over in the corner for his second try, before Danny Owenson was extremely unlucky with the difficult conversion attempt, his effort coming off the post. The ‘Burgh supporters were quite happy to be 17-0 up after only 17 minutes.
Despite having fallen behind in the early stages, Kelso were not without period of possession, but evidently lacked the cutting edge of a ruthless home side. As if to emphasise this, ‘Burgh then scored their ‘bonus point’ try, with a mere 24 minutes on the clock, when Gregor Tait provided his second assist of the day, releasing Ruairidh Young to go over, before Owenson converted for 24-0. The mayhem in the visiting ranks continued as two minutes later Luke Hutson barrelled over from close range for 29-0 with an unconverted try.
Gregor Tait then made a brilliant break up the wing, nearly getting what would have been a well-deserved try only for it to be knocked from his grasp as he crossed the line, but another ‘Burgh score was merely delayed. After a bout of terrific handling involving both backs and forwards put Rory Watt in for ‘Burgh’s sixth try, which went unconverted and a score of 34 – 0 after 30 minutes.
Kelso expanded a great deal of effort, but their rear-guard was being cut to ribbons by the speed and accuracy of ‘Burgh’s attacks, then after 33 minutes Gregor Tait
Got the award for his previously unselfish team-play by going over in the corner but took the opportunity of no Kelso defence to dot down between the posts to make the conversion easier for Owenson who duly obliged to take the half-time score to MUSSELBURGH 41 KELSO 0.
Musselburgh rang the changes in the pack at the break as Ross Gregor, Graeme Bowman and Colin Arthur were replaced by Conor Slaven, Jack Anderson and Neil McNairn. Very few of even the most loyal ‘Burgh supporters could have foreseen a 41-0 half-time score, but after only 9 minutes of the second half, it got even better when James Ferguson, got his hat-trick when he scored a magnificent solo try, a run of about 80 meters into the corner for ‘Burgh’s eighth try of the day, before Owenson produced the kick of the day with a superb conversion from out wide to take the score to 48 – 0.
Kelso, despite being in arrears, continued to go through the phases when in possession and eventually got on the scoreboard with a try by flanker Cammy Brown after the referee appeared to miss a knock on after 51 minutes. The try was unconverted for 48-5, before another period of heavy try scoring, as both teams got in on the act.
On 55 minutes Craig Veitch replaced Sandy Watt and the first time he got his hands on the ball he went over at the other end of another flowing handling movement before Owenson again converted for 55-5. Then on 57 minutes, cute handling at the other end put Kelso centre Gregor Mein over before Murray Hastie converted for 55-12. Then a minute later ‘Burgh replied in kind when Rory Watt went over for his second try of the day which went unconverted for 60-12.
To their great credit, Kelso were not for taking a back seat and winger Gregor Miller scored a fine opportunist try coming in off the flank to go over for an unconverted try and 60-17 after 62 minutes. This time we had to wait all of 9 minutes before the next score, which was the longest “barren” scoreless period in this astonishing display!
Musselburgh, however were not finished putting points on the board as Gregor Tait ran from his own half, stepping with speed as he left the Kelso defence trailing in his wake before touching down and leaving a difficult conversion for Owenson, who duly rose to the occasion with another brilliant conversion for 67 -17 after 71 minutes.
Kelso did not seem cowed with such a large deficit as they still had something to play for, having scored three tries they pressed on in the latter stages and duly scored a deserved “bonus” point try due to their sheer persistence by scrum-half Phil Hume before his half-back partner Murray Hastie converted for 67-24 with still six minutes remaining. However, there was no further scoring as both defences remained solid and a final score of MUSSELBURGH 67 KELSO 24.
What more could anyone ask for in an afternoon’s rugby, a 67-24 win, 15 tries following 12 last week, and both sides procuring bonus points.
‘Burgh continue to impress, and next week sees Hamilton Bulls at Stoneyhill, on cop business, and in form like this ‘Burgh must fancy their cup chances. The kick-off will be at 12:30 to accommodate the Scotland v Argentina game at Murrayfield.