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Match Report: Musselburgh vs Aberdeen

Musselburgh,who broke their Premiership duck last week against Glasgow Hawks,welcomed in-form Aberdeen Grammar FP to Stoneyhill for third home league game of the season.The visitors got proceedings under way on a wet, miserable afternoon,which was destined to make handling difficult for both sides as the rain was relentless throughout.


The visitors quickly gained possession and territory as the penned 'Burgh in their own half in the opening stages as their heavy pack provided half backs Knudson and Troup with plenty of ball.Their wingers Brown and Russell also tested the home defence,but were repelled by the voracious tackling of the 'Burgh back row of Cammy Pryde,Max Outram and Luke Hutson.This stout defence paid a sudden dividend,in the form of a try for 'Burgh against the run of play.A terrific breakaway up the flank at pace with great handling was finished off by Sandy Watt in the corner,before Danny Owenson added a superb conversion in the soggy conditions for a 7-0 lead after 10 minutes. Given the start Aberdeen had made to the match,they must have felt aggrieved to lose the opening try to 'Burgh's first foray into their territory. They did however,maintain their forward stranglehold on the match and eventually equalised from close range after prop Calum Reddish was pushed over before centre Tom Aplin converted for 7-7 after 20 minutes. The parity on the scoreboard only lasted for two minutes,and as before,it was 'Burgh who again broke the deadlock with a superb individual try by Gregor Tait,jinking past the cover defence before sprinting to the line,allowing Owenson again to add the conversion for 14-7. After the early forward domination by the visitors,'Burgh had appeared to have worked out that Aberdeen were vulnerable if attacked at pace on the flanks,as tries by their wingers suggested. The visitors were however,winning more of the 'collisions', as they would say on the World Cup coverage and again drew level on 28 minutes when winger Nathan Brown went over before Aplin converted for 14-14. It must be said that at this stage'Burgh were making the most of what possession they did get and then regained the lead when Owenson kicked a penalty for a lead of 17-14 on the half-hour. Then with 35minutes gone,the visitors again gave it 'the big heave' for a pushover try which was again converted by Aplin to give them the lead at 17-21. As time drew to a close in the first half,'Burgh launched one last attack,and as before,their wingers hit the jackpot,Sandy Watt going over in the corner for his second try of the day,before Owenson was desperately unlucky to see his touchline conversion rebound from the post,but nonetheless leaving 'Burgh with the slenderest half time lead of 22-21. It was rightly pointed out by the local rugby sages that 'Burgh had done remarkably well with the amount of possession they had. The wet conditions were making life difficult for both sides,notably with regard to handling,but everyone who watched this game were vastly entertained by a gripping game from two teams who adapted well. Aberdeen started the second half as they had started the first,pressurising 'Burgh with their dominant pack and ten minutes of almost constant pressure brought a try as hooker Ben Inglis was pushed over by his pack for the visitors fourth and 'bonus point' try which was again converted by Aplin for 22-28 Musselburgh continued to show stern resistance and on 55 minutes Owenson reduced the deficit to 25-28 following a successful penalty attempt.Both teams continued to 'slug it out'in the poor conditions and on 62minutes the visitors power again told as No 8 Greig Ryan went over for an unconverted try and 25-33. Then,3 minutes later,on 65 minutes,came the try of the match,scored by the Man of the Match,Gregor Tait,which in turn,drew the biggest cheer of the day from the Musselburgh faithful,especially as it came with an added bonus point !  Like his first try,it was again 'all his own work',as he chased his own kick ahead,his speed taking him past the Aberdeen defence before touching down in the corner,before Owenson again rose to the occasion with a magnificent touchline conversion for 32-33. They were however,still in arrears on the scoreboard,albeit by only a single point.Then virtually on the final whistle,Aberdeen scored another pushover try as lock Robin Cessford rumbled over from close range for 32-38.Now the conversion attempt took on even more importance as 'Burgh were now six points down,but in possession of potentially 2 league points,by virtue of having scored 4 tries and trailing only six points behind.If Tom Aplin the Aberdeen centre,who had kicked well all day converted the try,'Burgh would be left with only one point to show for their considerable efforts.Aplin however,sliced his kick past the post and the whistle blew as 'Burgh collected 2 points despite losing again at home. Result.Musselburgh 32 Aberdeen Grammar FP 38 Next week sees 'Burgh start a two week league tour of the Borders with consecutive away games against first,Jedforest, and then Selkirk .

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