Glasgow Hawks 20
ERIN McRITCHIE @ Stoneyhill
MUSSELBURGH completed a hat-trick of wins over Glasgow Hawks in league and cup this season, and in the process lifted themselves off the foot of the Premiership table (albeit Edinburgh Accies have a game in hand), leaving a warm glow radiating through Stoneyhill despite the blisteringly cold weather.
“I think it’s been building for the last three or four weeks, and it was an absolutely fantastic effort from the boys,” said winning head coach Graeme Paterson. “It was slightly chilly, and that makes for difficult conditions. I thought we dealt with the conditions well with what we did.”
The home side were the first on the scoreboard thanks to a sprint over the line by Rory Watt and a Danny Owenson conversion. Hawks bounced back with a converted try of their own after a quick tap-penalty Connor Holborn, a powerful run by Ryan Sweeney and a finish from Lyall Archer, and Liam Brims tied the scores it with his conversion.
Musselburgh took the lead once more when Watt made a clean break and a few phases later Craig Owenson battered his way over line. Danny Owenson once more converted and the home side were seven points up for the second time in the game.
It took Hawks ten minutes to find another way over the try line. Some quick and clean recycling from their line-out on the far side allowed Max Priestly to snipe his way over in the corner, and Brim harnessed the whipping wind to curl an excellent conversion home.
Despite a thrilling solo run from Hawks centre Matthew Stewart, the last score of this nip-and-tuck first half went to the home side when Musselburgh opted to go for the posts having been awarded a penalty at the breakdown, and Owenson had no problem claiming the three points. But the home team started the second half a man down after Jack Haynes saw yellow for dangerous play just before the break.
Brims tied it early in the second half with a breakdown penalty, and then gave the visitors the lead for the first time in the contest when Musselburgh concede another ruck penalty, but the hosts were determined not to let t9s one slip through their fingers.
Replacement lock William Fleming muscled his way over to re-establish Musselburgh’s lead, and although the missed conversion meant it was still only a two-point game, the momentum of the match was now with the home side.
In the dying minutes, Musselburgh sealed the win when Paul Cunningham sniffed out a gap to run into and after a couple of quick phases Luke Hutson crashed over the line.
“We just didn’t really play to our game plan,” lamented beaten head coach Andy Hill. “We asked them to play field position and get down there – but the amount of times we just didn’t do that was unfortunate.”
“Now, instead of talking top four – because we’ve got the players in that dressing room to do it – we need to start looking over our shoulder. It’s going to be a challenge for the boys.”
Musselburgh: J Doig; J Ferguson, R Smith, R Watt, G Tait; P Cunningham, D Owenson; N McNairn, C Owenson, C Arthur, G McKinstry, J Haynes, C Pryde, M Outram, P Brown. Subs: E Bonthron, W Fleming, L Hutson, R Young, T Foley.
Glasgow Hawks: Y Alagilly; K Gossman, E Oag, C Harrison, M Priestly; L Brims, C Holborn; G Strain, J Gammell, E Rintoul, L Archer, R Jackson, S Leckey, F Christie, R Sweeney. Subs: P Cairncross, D Irvine, A Kirkland, M Stewart, M Godsman.
Referee: David Young
Musselburgh: Tries: Watt, C Owenson, Fleming, Hutson; Cons: D Owenson 3; Pens: Owenson.
Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Archer, Priestly; Cons: Brims 2; Pens: Brims 2.
Scoring sequence (Musselburgh first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-5; 7-7; 12-7; 14-7; 14-12; 14-14; 17-14 (h-t) 17-17; 17-20; 22-20; 27-20; 29-10.
Yellow card –
Man-of-the-match: There were some strong performances from a number of the home side’s starting 15, including the hard-carrying Paddy Brown and Paul Cunningham pulling the strings, but Danny Owenson‘s kicking-game and efficiency at the breakdown gets him the nod.
Talking point: Huge credit to Musselburgh, who have kept faith in their own ability despite some tough results, and has now managed to clamber away from the foot of the table.