Thorough preparation helps seal victory

Thorough preparation helps seal victory

Musselburgh 26 GHA 36

GHA arrived at picturesque Stoneyhill having spent the previous week examining and then working to eradicate the shortcomings of defeat last Saturday. The warm up period showed a level of concentration by both sides which suggested that both teams understood the need to put league points on the board.The small knot of visiting supporters gathered on a grassy hill ; the only reasonable though imperfect observation point.Within three minutes of the start a concerted drive by the visitors pushed Musselburgh back in a scrum ,quick ball and sleight of hand saw the back row pile through the home defence as Walker Graham scored between the posts and Peter Jericevich converted. 7-0 to the visitors. The speed of pass and close support between forwards and backs was to become a very successful ploy by GHA for the afternoon and only several over eager attempts to pass prevented a bigger score for GHA.

Musselburgh attempted to regain a foothold in the match but were met by a defiant and efficient GHA back line who consistently knocked down the ball carrier. Musselburgh could not really establish a platform and were guilty of running across field to little effect or attempting to gain territory with touch kicking which was only partially successful.After twenty minutes the game still lacked a clear pattern although the visitors made several successful forays deep into Musselburgh territory before losing possession.

A feature of the match was the number of overthrows at lineout by both sides and over eager attempts at pass by both sides which led to knock ons and the ball going loose. Towards the thirty minute mark Musselburgh put the visitors under pressure using several penalties for visitor infringements in the loose to crab their way down the touchline. Following a good line out take Musselburgh fashioned a crash ball which cut through the despairing GHA defence to score. The try was not converted MUSSELBURGH 5pts GHA 7pts.

At this stage Musselburgh were just beginning to put more phases together however GHA sensing the danger reapplied themselves and drove deep into home territory. GHA were recycling the ball quickly and effectively and Musselburgh were penalised in the middle of their twenty metre area as they desperately tried to prevent lynchpins Peter Jericevich and Andrew Goudie setting up another attack.From the penalty Jamie Auld made a great carry with good support and the ball was again quickly recycled to Thomas Brown who stormed over in the bottom corner. Peter Jericevich converted the try from a very difficult angle and as half time arrived the score was now: MUSSELBURGH 5pts   GHA 14pts.

The visitors had displayed a confident and determined demeanour throughout the first half which clearly unsettled Musselburgh and led to frustration on their part. GHA’s confidence was the result of hard work and the application of the basics with a welcome improvement in first time tackling and impressive interplay between backs and forwards.

The second half saw Peter Jericevich orchestrating the visitors towards home territory with some adept kicking. Inside the first five minutes of the half GHA were penalised for not releasing but this was overturned by the referee who sent off the Musselburgh playmaker Brian Walls for stamping. Peter Jericevich converted the penalty to extend the visitors lead to 5pts to 17pts .

The loss of Walls at scrum half forced Musselburgh to reorganise and despite this set back they produced a continued threat to the visitors who employed a variety of tactics to relieve thrusts from the home side particularly short balls to Gordon Campbell and Jamie Auld who would then make the hard yards before recycling to the backs. Musselburgh had their best spell of pressure as we moved into the eigth minute of the second half and a determined assault on the visitors line was relieved by a superb breakout  by messrs Goudie,Addison and Kelly which took the play to beyond half way before a desperate home tackle stopped GHA progress.

The elusive running of the visitors back division exemplified by full back Grant Mollison was a feature of the match and time and again cut through Musselburgh defensive lines. A clever kick by Ben Addison put J Doig in all sorts of bother on his own line and the referee awarded a scrum to GHA the question was whether the visitors pack would attempt to score from the set piece. Instead GHA with impressive handling pushed the won scrummage ball out to Nigel Kelly who scored on the opposite side of the field. The conversion failed and the score stood at :MUSSELBURGH 5pts GHA 22pts.

The game was moving in the visitors direction and minutes later a superb break by Grant Mollison from inside his own half was supported by Nigel Kelly who ran into score and Peter Jericevich converted. The score as we moved to the half hour mark of this half was now: MUSSELBURGH 5pts GHA 29pts.

The home side gathered themselves and gamely took the match to GHA . A long kick to touch by Andrew Goudie dissipated the Musselburgh effort. Despite this setback Musselburgh put a number of phases together and were back in the visitors half.

GHA gave away several penalties for not releasing and illegal entry in the loose before Scott Derrick who had only entered the fray shortly before for the visitors was dismissed for foul play.
Musselburgh who on several occasions took a quick penalty  did so again and from the resulting move, the home side scored in the corner which Daniel Owenson converted making the score 12pts to 29pts for GHA.

The visitors returned to the task and pushed deep into the home 20metre area in the ensuing ruck a home player was yellow carded for
interference with the ball on the deck.  GHA scored from the resulting pressure and it was converted with just five minutes to go. This made the score MUSSELBURGH 12pts GHA 36pts.

In an incredible finale to this match Scott Carson was yellow carded for blocking an opponent and from the resulting penalty William Fleming ran through the visitors to score and Daniel Owenson converted. This brought the score to MUSSELBURGH 19pts GHA 36pts. With less than two minutes to go Musselburgh struck again and scored an easy try running at the GHA defence which was converted. Final score MUSSELBURGH 26pts GHA 36pts.

A solid performance by the visitors in all aspects of the game was slightly undone by a late loss of concentration.

MUSSELBURGH – J. Doig, S. Watt,  T. Rodrigo, A. Cook, C. Veitch, I. Martin, B. Walls, C. Owenson, J. Crain, J. Walker, W. Fleming, P. Brown, G. Bowman, M. Fleming, L. Hutson – Subs: D. Paton, D. Grant, B. Graham, D. Owenson, A. Hook

Scorers: T – W. FLEMING, TBC C – D. OWENSON (3)

GHA – G. Mollison, N. Kelly, B. Addison, T. Brown, J. Hamilton-Potter, A. Goudie, P  Jericevich, J. Leslie, G. Campbell, M. Scott, R. Jenkins J. Auld P. Harkins, R. Angus W. Graham – Subs: S. Carson, S. Usuda, L.M. Mavunga, J. Preston, S. Derrick

Scorers: T – KELLY (2), BROWN, GRAHAM, LESLIE C – JERICEVICH (4) P – JERICEVICH

Referee:  Mr Lewis Hamilton
Assistant Referees: Ms Mhairi Hay & Mr John Cramb.

Footnote : Following the excellent suggestion by club referee Ian Robin
As a matter of courtesy I shall attempt to record the names of all officials each week.

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