1st XV vs Musselburgh: Match Report

1st XV vs Musselburgh: Match Report

After a six week lay-off, it was never going to be straightforward against a determined Musselburgh side. The hard work put in at training by a committed group of players was, however, eventually enough to earn us a comfortable victory.

Two rolling mauls from line-outs close to the Musselburgh line, one converted by Seb Trotter, gave us a twelve point advantage. O’Hagan replied for Musselburgh with a terrific strike from wide out on the ten yard line to give us a 12-3 lead at the break.

The pitch at Inverleith was sticky but playable. There were a few malfunctioning line-outs and poorly executed two to ones in the backs in the first half that could be attributed to ring rustiness. Most of the action in the first half was in opposition territory as we benefitted from some indiscipline in the away ranks. The referee, Timpson, later agreed that he should have awarded a yellow in the first half as the penalty count mounted, though, on one occasion, we were the fortunate beneficiary of his largesse.

Immediately after the break O’Hagan missed a relatively easy chance to narrow the gap; we then camped on the Musselburgh line looking to ‘roll- over’ from close range for a third time. We did roll-over, but the referee could not be sure, and, from the following play, Jonny Macdonald backed himself to squeeze between two defenders. Minutes later, Richard Borthwick rounded off some neat back play to collect the bonus point.

The final try came when Adam Greig was on hand to receive a pass from Hayden. By now the team was looking good and desperate to run everything, and some of the handling was crisp and incisive. One such passage of play that released Richard at pace was right out of the top drawer.

By now, unfortunately, we were suffering from the award of a couple of yellow cards, one for Shannon for an illegal ‘tip’ tackle and the other for Roddy Mackenzie for deliberate offside. This coincided with some determined play from Musselburgh, and Andy Lamb touched down to give our visitors just reward for their efforts. Lance Gahan, their New Zealand full back, took a bit of stopping, and it wasn’t hard to see why our visitors are having a successful season.

Jonny Macdonald and Ben Manning played well for us. Jonny gives us a bit of penetration at half-back that keeps the opposing back-row honest and Ben is just a natural rugby player who does the right things. Everyone contributed, however, including Scott Brewster, who took a lot of useful quick ball at 2 in the line-out, while we must also mention Shannon Durrant’s dummy (that, unfortunately, his team mates bought as well as the opposition!)

Next up we play Biggar on Saturday in the National League, a game for which this Musselburgh fixture was good preparation. We are the only team Biggar have beaten in the National League, but, hopefully, the work we have put in since then will stand us in good stead for the return.

Gav Calder

Musselburgh match report here

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