As the Christmas season approaches and thoughts turn to snow and rugby club lunches with outrageous sweaters,'Burgh and Accies found only good old Scottish rain,but despite the conditions,produced a hugely entertaining game.
The kick off appeared to be slightly delayed,but after 'Burgh had kicked off,the hosts were quickly on the offensive,and following some close range passing,their captain Jamie Sole went over with only 3 minutes on the clock,before full-back Robert Wilson converted for an early 7-0 lead.
The conditions made the ball like the proverbial 'bar of soap',but credit must be given to both sides who coped admirably.Up front 'Burgh were denied the services of Willie Fleming and Michael Maltman,but the 'Burgh pack gave a courageous performance in horrible conditions.Such a forward effort was rewarded in 9 minutes when they drew level at 7-7 after a series of 'Stoneyhill Heaves' put Cammy Pryde over before Danny Owenson kicked a fine conversion.
It has become somewhat of a recurring theme for us to mention that the opposition were a bigger team physically than Musselburgh,but it again looked to be the case today as Accies thundered towards the 'Burgh line.Then,with only 15 minutes gone,Accies flanker Chris Thomson was pushed over for their second try,which was again converted by Wilson for 14-7.
On a day which was not fit for ducks,with a heavy pitch,'Burgh dug in and from veteran full-back James Doig,making a re-appearance in the first team,through to the pack,they produced a great deal of effort and skill in a highly spirited performance.The pack were beginning to pressurise Accies as Craig Owenson and Colin Arthur put themselves about and Paddy Brown and Cammy Pryde tackled everything in sight.Eventually their industry was rewarded,when a terrific break up the wing by Gregor Tait appeared to have been halted by an Accies tackle,but Tait off-loaded to Graeme McKinstry who was steaming up in support to take the pass and go over for an excellent try,which was again well converted by Owenson to level the score at 14-14 after 35 minutes.
Some of us may have thought that for 'Burgh to go in level at the break would have been satisfactory,but unfortunately the hosts had other ideas ! A bout of pressure and penalties given against 'Burgh led to scrum-half Mark Sinclair going over from close range before Wilson again did the needful with the conversion for 21-14 after 38 minutes,leaving the score at the interval at
EDINBURGH ACCIES 21 MUSSELBURGH 14
During the interval the rain did not relent and 'Burgh took the game to Accies,the pack giving them a thorough going over in the early stages of the second half,forcing them to concede penalties,before referee Tom French had seen enough and awarded 'Burgh a penalty try and parity on the scoreboard at 21-21 after 50 minutes.
The relentless nature of the game,coupled with the conditions,were sapping the energy of both packs,but both sets of forwards gave heroic performances.Then,as if to reflect the previous score,Accies collected a penalty try of their own to lead 28-21 after 58 minutes
The stage was now set for 'Burgh to throw everything at Accies in an attempt to pull the game out of the fire.The front row of Craig Owenson,Jonathan Crain and Colin Arthur appeared to be everywhere and Haynes,Pryde and Brown scrapped and scavenged for everything and the assorted replacements also 'burst a gut' in their efforts.
The backs all ran and fielded well and were always willing to take the opposition on.The final 20 minutes belonged to 'Burgh,but despite all the possession and territory gained,they still remained behind as Accies clung on.It was beginning to look like another hard luck story for 'Burgh,but with two minutes remaining,Paddy Brown went over from close range following a maul for 28-26.To draw level,Danny Owenson produced the kick of the day when it was needed most,into the wind and rain to tie the score at 28-28 .
'Burgh continued to attack in injury time,and with the last kick of the ball,Danny Owenson went tantalisingly close to giving 'Burgh an away win when his penalty slid narrowly past the post,leaving the final score with honours even at
EDINBURGH ACCIES 28 MUSSELBURGH 28.
Next week sees the visit of Glasgow Hawks to Stoneyhill and following today's gutsy performance 'Burgh need have no fears with regard to their own performance.