Match Report v Musselburgh RFC Saturday 9 January 2016

Match Report v Musselburgh RFC Saturday 9 January 2016

The first three minutes of our game against Musselburgh acted as a harbinger. The game started with a breenge by Rappestad (about whom more below), then a few tilts round the corner with the ball retained in text book manner, Hanning then released Greig to touch down. Hanning then converted Ali’s try but we marched straight back up the park and a penalty in front brought another three points.

The advantage we established in that early play was never relinquished. The early dominance is untypical of Stewart’s Melville as we usually prefer a bit of initial ‘let’s see what they are about’ before we start to play. And, had Musselburgh held out in that early period it would not have been long before doubts and confidence issues would have affected our young team.

The procession continued as we found a pattern based on the dominance of our scrum and box kicks in the wet conditions. The exchange referee, Cook, penalised Musselburgh in the scrum fairly heavily, whereas, to be honest, at our level, our own refs tend to be a bit more sympathetic to an eight that is struggling in the scrum. Hanning then darted from close range and although tackled squirmed over to touch down and add the conversion.

Seventeen minutes gone, and it had been all Stewart’s Melville. Another two penalties sailed over from what is usually the edge of ‘Iron Mike’s’ range.

Musselburgh were dealt a blow by the loss, with a facial injury to Berry, their playmaker, but to their credit back they came and in spite of the loss of a forward to ‘the bin’ they peppered our line. To alter the course of the game, however, Muss needed to make an impression on the scoreboard and the fact that half time came and went with the lead of 26 points intact spoke volumes for our defence. In particular, Rappestad and Ruairidh Mitchell round the fringes and Sean Murchie,(solid) out wide, stood out.

Jamie Berrisford’s transgression evened the teams up and the game became more even in the second half but Trotter, unfairly mistaken for Mike MacDonald – it was foggy – benefitted from a cute change of direction from Porteous to cross the line from fifteen yards. Mike missed the conversion and that was the only blemish in our game as we took pretty much every scoring chance that came our way. The lead was now 31 points and pretty much game over.

Our scrummies are different types of player Manson is wonderfully aggressive but Gregor is always on the look- out for the unexpected and it was from such a deft play that he fed the narrow blind to Seb. Gregor’s box-kicking was by and large on the money but the kicks are only as good as the chase so top marks to Ciaran and Sean.

In our league, as often alluded to in these reports, a good pack and half-backs go a long way and with Mike happily restored to the ten shirt we now have those ingredients in place. The line-out could never be described as a well-oiled machine but the easy athleticism of Berrisford helps, although his distribution could be more sympathetic to the recipient.

Ruaridh received plaudits from an enclave of Nails in the Stand (must we let them in!) and Thor Rappestad (sic) is developing into what we have consistently lacked – a go to ball carrier. The improvement in Thor is encouraging and as he gets more used to our game his occasional handling errors are disappearing. His line out contribution is work in progress, which is surprising given his height but practice will hone his skills.
Musselburgh, with Maltman and Fleming, at last gave the sizeable away support something to cheer enjoyed dominance for a while. First O’Brian scored then Young scored with Owenson converting as the Musselburgh pack began to show what could have been possible.
The bonus point try for Stewart’s Melville came as a penalty try, we tried to re-introduce Rhys for the five metre scrum but in the event he wasn’t needed as Musselburgh were penalised for wheeling. Ben Wilson completed the scoring from another scrum push-over – showing nice footwork to keep control, with Mike converting both.

Results elsewhere meant we are now 8th in the league. From the touchline, there seems to have been a lot of work put in by the more experienced members of our squad, Seb, Willie, Mike, Ben, Rhys, Adam, Fraser and Rhys and there is a feeling of camaraderie about our efforts. In contrast to earlier in the season, we had a plan and executed that plan and if we continue in this vein a top six finish is achievable.
We travel to Jedburgh next week and they will be buoyed by their result at Myreside but we now know if we play like we this we need fear nobody.
Thor, the brawny thunder god, is the archetype of a loyal and honorable warrior, the ideal toward which the average human warrior aspired. He’s the indefatigable defender of the Aesir gods and their fortress Asgard, from the encroachments of the giants, who are usually (although far from invariably) the enemies of the gods.

Thursday is derived from ‘Thor’sday’

Stewart’s Melville 45 Musselburgh 12

Gavin Calder

*Photos courtesy of Gordon Cunningham & Bill McNie

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