Sat 17th Mar - Musselburgh V Kelso 7.30pm KO (Rescheduled)
Musselburgh 22 Kelso 22 (HT 10-5)
Kelso travelled to Musselburgh desperate to get back to winning ways after a defeat to local rivals Jed Forest. The hosts were desperate for a win that would almost guarantee their place in BT National 1 for next season. It’s always a tricky affair when Kelso travel to Stoneyhill and so it would prove once again…….
Musselburgh kicked off and were playing with the very strong wind at their backs. The early exchanges were hard and physical with both teams defences on top.
Musselburgh scored their first try when they got the ball wide and Sandy Watt finished well. Ru Young couldn’t add the extras.
Burgh came straight back at Kelso and scoffed their 2nd try of the match when Conor Slaven smashed his way over from close range. It was nothing more than Burgh deserved as they started like a team who were desperate for points and Kelso were playing like a team with nothing to play for. Young couldn’t add the extras but Burgh were rampant.
Kelso then got the bit between their teeth and very nearly got their first try of the match. A very good line out catch and drive from the forwards looked like it was going to get over the line but somehow Musselburgh managed to get underneath the ball and they were awarded the scrum.
Kelso came back at Musselburgh again when Phil Hume hit a very good attacking line but unfortunately for the black and whites, Kelso were penalised for holding on.
The visitors kept at their East Lothian hosts and scored a try of their own through Kevin Dryden. Another forwards driving maul took play close to the Burgh line, Kelso then recycled the ball and Dryden went over in the corner. Phil Hume couldn’t add the conversion from far out, in truth with the wind blowing straight into his face, it was near on impossible.
Musselbrugh then had a chance to extend their lead when Kelso were penalised for crossing. Young kicked to the corner and it was Burgh’s chance to drive the maul towards the Kelso line. Some excellent work from the Kelso forwards managed to steal the ball and clear the danger.
Kelso were next to have a chance after Musselburgh were penalised for a high tackle. Kelso elected to take the scrum and drove towards the Burgh line, with the 5 points in sight, Kelso managed to knock the ball on. Everyone expected Musselburgh to kick the ball into touch and end the 1st half but Young had other ideas. Musselburgh started a break from their own line and were eventually tackled in the Kelso 22. They had spare men and a try looked a certainty but Kelso managed to get numbers back and they forced the knock on.
Musselburgh started the 2nd half in the same fashion as the 1st and were immediately into the Kelso 22. Their forwards were pounding the Kelso defence and eventually Conor Slaven went over for his 2nd try of the match. Young added the conversion and Kelso were 2 scored behind.
Burgh weren’t finished there and they extended their lead when Cammy Mcmillan went over in the corner. It was a slick backs move from Burgh and McMillan finished it well. Young couldn’t add the conversion.
Kelso came back into the match when Angus Roberts scored a try in the corner. Hard running from the Kelso forwards created the extra man out wide and the Kelso backs executed well and gave Roberts the try in the corner. Hume couldn’t add the conversion.
Kelso were very lucky not to lose Andrew Skeen to injury when he was the victim of a late spear tackle which was missed by all the officials. Thankfully Skeen was ok to resume after treatment.
Kelso were straight back to Musselburgh and again the forwards were causing some damage with some very powerful running. Kelso were camped on the Burgh line and Captain Andy Tait burrowed over for the try. Hume couldn’t add the extras.
Time was running out and Kelso were determined to try and draw level. The visitors showed great desire and managed to get a try well into injury time with Angus Roberts grabbing his 2nd try. With Phil Hume off the pitch it was down to Gregor Mein to try and get Kelso a draw. The former Gala man struck the conversion superbly and the ball sailed between the uprights to tie the match and the referee blew for full time.
This ended up being a good result from Kelso given they were 17 points down early in the second half. The performance would not have pleased the coaches but the heart and desire shown to get them a draw was fantastic.
Next up for Kelso is a trip to Raeburn Place to play league leaders Edinburgh Accies.
I asked Kelso Head Coach Gary Stevens for his thoughts on the Kelso performance:
“This was a tough match away under training lights at Musselburgh which ended in a draw that probably flattered us to be fair. With high expectation, we set some simple goals for this game but came up short against a more motivated Musselburgh side looking to extend their distance from the relegation zone”.
“Musselburgh got off to the better start with two good tries earned off putting us under pressure and being rewarded by our inability to transition into defence quickly enough”.
“We finally got on the board with some sustained possession and pressure of our own, however a high error rate and lack of urgency against a desperate opponent cost us many opportunities to stay close on points”.
“Similar start to second half gifted Musselburgh a 12 point lead which they never looked like losing, but we managed to gather ourselves and with an injection of fresh legs and much needed focus, we worked ourselves into a position to score three well taken tries including two very good tries to Angus Roberts”.
“We managed to salvage a draw and are pleased to get 3 points from the match but with a performance well below our abilities and expectations, we need a big week on the training pitch to even consider challenging the league leaders and our Cup semi-finalists in a fortnight’s time”.
“A highlight from the night was our U18 Squad member Matt Kindness earning his 5th cap for the seniors and therefore being presented with his Team Coin. Matt has a great future in the game and he fits perfectly into our team culture and values”.
15 Ross Cooke
14 Matt Kindness
13 Phil Hume
12 Gregor Mein
11 Angus Roberts
10 Andrew Skeen
9 Andy Tait
1 Sam Karlsen
2 Charlie Marshall
3 Blair Robertson
4 Paudie Lawlor
5 Angus Common
6 Ross Henderson
8 Josh Irvine
7 Kevin Dryden
21 Kieran Cooney
17 Allan Frame
18 Tony Wichary
19 Mark Wilson
20 Connor Gillon