MATCH REPORT vs Musselburgh
Musselburgh versus Stewart’s Melville 24/09/2016
Musselburgh used the wind intelligently in the first half to build up an advantage that they never looked like surrendering. Stewart’s Melville fought back bravely to secure a four try bonus but never exerted enough control to suggest they might prevail.
Musselburgh, like ourselves, had started the season slowly, and we had reason to hope that we might be victorious in the ‘Honest Toun’*. Our display against unbeaten Jed-Forest the previous week had given us a bit of confidence and we had in our ranks this week the indefatigable Willie Aitken, free from harvest commitments. The presence of Willie ensured the side had a bit of ‘grunt’, around which the younger members of the pack could congregate.
Michael Crawley and Jack Hannay looked a promising centre combination on paper so it was with a little bit of optimism that we took the field.
The optimism was soon blown away in the strong wind as Burey, Musselburgh’s antipodean stand-off, kept us pinned on our line and we struggled to touch the ball – never mind build up a head of steam. The home pack rumbled over after only three minutes and a second try followed shortly after, with the conversion by Burey from near the touch line sailing over. Fortunately for us, Musselburgh could not sustain their early total domination and we gradually started to play a bit ourselves. Michael Crawley limped off and it is to be hoped that his injury is not too serious – it was good to see him back.
Our line-out drills looked tidy and we started to play with a bit of continuity. The aforementioned Willie was introduced to shore up the scrum a bit, where Walker was exerting considerable pressure. Porteous found a bit of space and cleverly dummied to give Ferguson a clear run to the corner. Burey continued to thump any possession into our ‘22’ and, although he overcooked it on a couple of occasions, he certainly knew how to play field position. Musselburgh added a further try and a penalty before half time to make the half time score: Musselburgh 22 Stewart’s Melville 5.
Predictably, the wind dropped in the second half, but Musselburgh secured their bonus point try shortly after the break. Alex Rappestad then barged over to keep Stewart’s Melville in the hunt. Alex is suffering a bit this season as the opposition know what he is capable of, and, as often as not, when he receives the ball he has three tacklers for company. Musselburgh scored next to maintain their advantage but Sean Murchie scorched through near the end to give Mike Hanning an easy conversion. Rappestad scored again to give us a four try bonus and narrow the deficit to ten points, meaning another score would have harvested a losing bonus point for us. In the last play of the game, Musselburgh completed the scoring with a try from a line-out.
A loss, then, but there was still a lot of good stuff to report from Stewart’s Melville. Gregor played very well – both at scrum half and fly half – and Jack Hannay will score a lot of points once he settles into the side. Twice Jack looked for support with the full back to beat, having done the hard work – next week, it’s try-time! Tom Spowart does a lot of unseen work and is a decent rugby player.
Finally, the refereeing standard at our level is now very good, so thanks to Steven Turnbull and his assistants.
Full Time Musselburgh 37 – Stewart’s Melville 22
*Musselburgh is known as “The Honest Toun”, and celebrates this by the annual election of the Honest Lad and Lass. The town motto “Honestas” dates back to 1332, when the Regent of Scotland, Randolph, Earl of Moray, died in the burgh after a long illness during which he was devotedly cared for by its citizens. His successor offered to reward the people for their loyalty but they declined, saying they were only doing their duty. The new regent, the Earl of Mar, was impressed and said they were a set of honest men, hence “Honest Toun”.