GHA RFC MATCH 385: MUSSELBURGH RFC 36 – 43 GHA RFC
2018/2019: National League One
|D. Ewing (c)
|Hutson (2), McKinstry, Stott, Tait
|Addison (3), Baird, McCarthy, McCorkindale, Plumridge,
|Mr F. Hollins
Veteran winger Ben Addison scored a hat-trick of tries to help GHA to a hard-fought victory at Stoneyhill to lift them back to second position in National League One.
The conditions were fair but windy as GHA scrum half George Baird kicked off and immediately set the visitors on to the front foot as their slick handling and assured movement troubled Burgh from the off. Several penalties were conceded in the home 22, before GHA lock Jamie McCarthy went over from close range, prior to Baird converting to give the visitors an early 7-0 lead after only 4 minutes; not quite the start the Burgh faithful had envisaged!
On the restart, however Burgh became more of a presence in the oppositions half as the sniping runs of McGhie and Danny Owenson began to give the home pack something to feed off, especially props McNairn and Arthur who were prominent early on. The visitors conceded several penalties in their 22, and just as it looked like the possibility of a penalty try was on the cards Musselburgh equalised in typical “Stoneyhill” manner, a heaving close range scrum, before Luke Hutson did the honours at No8, before Owenson converted for 7-7 after 10 minutes.
The eventful start to the game continued as GHA prop Kirill Chernick was yellow carded for infringements at scrum time as Burgh applied the pressure. Burgh now sensed their opportunity against 14 men and duly took it after 18 minutes as following a period of good possession and an outrageous dummy by Colin Arthur, Graeme McKinstry went over for Burghs second try from close range before Owenson added the extras for 14-7.
The open nature of the game saw play swing from end to end with Burgh’s heavy ball carriers, Maltman, Arthur and McNairn and Hutson punching holes in the visitors’ defences allowing the half backs McGhie and Owenson to create their mischief. For GHA, the half backs of Baird and McCorkindale looked good and flanker Ross Angus was particularly belligerent and causing Burgh no end of problems. The Glasgow men drew level after 27 minutes following a fine break on half way by centre Ross Findlay before releasing his winger Ben Addison to touch down, before Baird again converted for 14-14. The series of tit for tat scoring was broken five minutes later on 32 minutes as Scott Plumridge, the visitor’s flanker aggressively burst through several Burgh tackles to go over near the posts, Baird again converting for 14-21.
The entertaining nature of the game was further emphasised two minutes later when after a slick handling movement Ronan Stott crossed for a fine unconverted try and 19-21. Then just as Burgh had got back within striking distance and with the interval looming, the visitors on 37 minutes got their fourth and “bonus point” try when a break up the wing and an exchange of passes saw stand off McCorkindale in at the corner for an unconverted try and a half time score of MUSSELBURGH 19 GHA 26.
Graeme Bowman replaced Luke Hutson for the start of the second half, before Danny Owenson got the game restarted for ‘Burgh. To the delight of the home support, the second half was only 3 minutes old when Burgh drew level with a superb opportunistic try by the speedy Gregor Tait, his pace and elusiveness taking him clean through the visitor’s defence for a terrific solo effort which was well worthy of being Burgh’s “bonus point” try. Owenson duly converted and we were back all square at 26-26.
The nature of this game however, dictated that parity only remained for 5 minutes as another fine handling move by the visitors backs Baird, Lonergan and Edgar put their winger Ben Addison over for his second try of the day on 48 minutes, Baird converted for 26-33 to put Burgh once more in arrears. At this point Burgh decided to “shuffle the pack” somewhat and made a few changes with Conor Slaven, Cammy Pryde and Ruairdh Young replacing Ross Gregor, Graeme Bowman and Ronan Stott.
The open unrestrained nature of the game and the number of tries being scored made it a very entertaining game for all concerned, regardless of club loyalties. Musselburgh started to again press to claw back the seven-point deficit, taking their lead from Maltman, McNairn and Arthur, all of whom were making the “hard yards” for Burgh in attempts to prise open the visitors defence whose line remained intact, but after an infringement on 53 minutes Danny Owenson did reduce the deficit to 29-33 with a penalty. Musselburgh continued to press as Owenson and McGhie tried to direct operations and use the pace of Cimprich and Tait to greater advantage, but GHA held firm. They were also holding firm from the home pack, who were by this stage dominant.
As Burgh began to take control and hopes were rising for a spectacular winning conclusion to this excellent match, GHA’s Scott Plumridge went down with a severe head knock, a sight that fills every true rugby fan with dread. The GHA flanker received attention for fully 18 minutes, before, and to the relief of everybody, he was able to get back on his feet and leave the pitch to resounding relieved applause.
As the play had been broken up for the injury Burgh had been deep in GHA’s 22, but on the restart a slack pass was intercepted by GHA winger Ben Addison who sprinted 90 meters up the line for his “hat trick” try and his teams sixth which was unconverted for 29-38 after 63 minutes. To lose a try of that nature after being in a strong attacking position was what the locals might call a “dull yin”, but three minutes later Burgh replied. A penalty kick at the posts was turned down in favour of a kick for touch and from, the line-out Luke Hutson went over for a brace in the corner, which was magnificently converted from way out on the touchline by Danny Owenson for 36-38 on 66 minutes.
As the game reached its later stages it was still all to play for as the game continued to ebb and flow in both sides struggle for the ascendancy. Then after a short period of GHA pressure and several drives for the line, scrum half George Baird capped a fine performance by going over in the corner for an unconverted try and as it transpired, the decisive try and a final score of MUSSELBURGH 36 GHA 43.
Unfortunate though it was for Burgh to lose at home, but it must be said that, as with Burgh’s last home game against Aberdeen Grammar, this was another excellent, entertaining match, and much credit to all concerned.
Source: Musselburgh RFC, Monday 24th September 2018