HONOURS EVEN AS BOTH SIDES BATTLE
HARD TO GET THE BETTER OF MUSSELBURGH MUD
Sean Rankin (with finger
raised) and Luke Pettie (on ground, right) celebrate Bruce Riddell’s try.
Selkirk wing Callum McNeill hurtles down the Stoneyhill touchline to score Selkirk’s second try.
Scott McClymont shakes off a defender with team-mates Luca Merolle and Andy Mackay in support.
Henry Bithray gets his kick away just as Musselburgh’s blindside flanker Michael Maltman closes in.
Sean Rankin manages to retain possession despite the best efforts of a Musselburgh opponent.
Muddied but unbowed – both sets of players shake hands at the end of Saturday’s hard-fought contest.
[Photos by GRANT KINGHORN PICS]
Musselburgh 12, Selkirk 12
BOTH sides were able to salvage something from
Saturday’s physically draining encounter at windswept Stoneyhill, where the worsening conditions meant it was hard
to distinguish between the mud-caked players in the game’s later stages.
The result allowed Musselburgh to move above Glasgow Hawks in the Tennent’s Premiership table, while Selkirk jumped
back into the play-off places following Aberdeen Grammar’s loss to Currie.
“The conditions were horrendous,” admitted Selkirk skipper Ewan MacDougall after the final whistle, “in fact some
of the worst I’ve ever played in.
“In the first half Musselburgh harnessed the strong wind at their backs and played the corners, confining us to
our own half for almost the whole period. That said, the boys really defended well, and going in at halftime 12-0
down, having played into the elements, wasn’t too disappointing.
“In the second half we drew level within the first 10 minutes, and at that stage everyone probably thought we’d
go on to get the win.
“However, conditions became so bad we found it hard to hold on to ball and hard to secure any worthwhile line-out
possession. Even the scrum ball we managed to win was difficult to do anything with.
“As the game progressed the bad weather really began to take hold. Although both sides had a chance to win it in
the dying minutes, at the end of the day I think each team would probably settle for the draw.”
Turning to the club’s Premiership run-in, the Selkirk skipper is upbeat about the Philiphaugh side’s prospects.
“This draw takes us a point above Aberdeen, so qualifying for the play-offs is now very much in our own hands.
“The boys can now work towards the Edinburgh Accies game, and we’ll see where we are after that.”
The only tries of the first half came from Musselburgh forwards Luke Hutson and Paddy Brown, the former being converted
by Danny Owenson to give the home side a 12-0 interval lead.
After the break Selkirk positively flew out of the blocks. Prop Bruce Riddell burrowed over for the visitors’ first
try in the opening two minutes, before wing Callum McNeill burst down the touchline on an electrifying 50-metre
run to score wide out. Aaron McColm kicked the tricky conversion to level things up at 12-12.
With Storm Dennis finally beginning to match the Met Office’s dire predictions, the Stoneyhill pitch was transformed
into a mud bath, with late penalty attempts by Owenson and Callum Anderson both being blown off-course.
Selkirk’s Peter Forrest was named the visitor’s ‘man of the match’, although he must have been pushed all the way
following another tremendous shift by his second row partner Sean Rankin, who had to watch the closing stages of
the match from the bench, after being yellow-carded for a high tackle.
MUSSELBURGH – J. Ferguson, S. Watt, R. Smith, R. Watt, G. Tait, F. Roddick, D. Owenson, C. Owenson, J. Cain,
C. Arthur, J. Haynes, P. Brown, M. Maltman, M. Outram, L. Hutson. Replacements: E. Bonthron, W. Fleming, C. Pryde,
A. Reddick, P. Cunningham.
SELKIRK - H. Bithray, F. Anderson, R. Cottrell, R. Nixon, C. McNeill, A. McColm, L. Merolle, L. Pettie, J.
Bett, B. Riddell, P. Forrest, S. Rankin, A. Mackay, S. McClymont, E. MacDougall. Replacements - J. Mackay, G. Robertson,
C. Anderson, J. Welsh, L. Berte.