Premiership: Musselburgh keep their cool to despatch ill-disciplined Jed-Forest

Defeated head coach Scott Tomlinson doesn't mince his words after second half collapse

Musselburgh got the better of Jed-Forest. Image: John Durham
Musselburgh got the better of Jed-Forest when the two sides met at Stoneyhill last season. Image: John Durham

Musselburgh 38

Jed-Forest 31

DAVID BARNES @ Stoneyhill

THE hosts kept their eye on the prize during an increasingly fractious second-half to earn a bonus-point win which sets them up nicely for next week’s visit of second in the table Marr. The visitors, meanwhile, let themselves down with an ill-disciplined performance after the break and can count themselves lucky to have escaped back down the A68 with two more bonus-points than they started the day with.

Beaten head coach Scott Tomlinson decided not to go through the customary chat on the pitch with his players afterwards and marched them into the changing room instead. What he had to say to his charges was clearly not suitable for public consumption.

“That was hugely disappointing,” he confirmed 15 minutes later. “I thought we controlled the game well in the first half. We didn’t take a couple of chances but had plenty of possession to get in a good position to put the game to bed. We spoke at half-the about getting faster ruck time to get the ball moving for us, but all credit to Musselburgh for coming out after the break and really turning the tables on us.

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“My final words to the boys at half-time was that we looked like a top five team with the way we were playing, despite a lot of enforced changes, and I see now that I should not have said that because we didn’t fire at all in the second half.

“We looked unfit and there was a real rustiness to us. I’m disappointed with the cards [two yellow and two red] and that’s nothing to do with the referee. It’s absolutely embarrassing, hence why I’ve been stuck in the changing room for the last 10 minutes. It was completely out of order.

“It is really important to not just be a good rugby player but be a good person within yourself, and there was a lot of boys out on that field let themselves down today. We were sharper to the fight than we were to the breakdown. It was just bang out of order.

“We’ve got to regather and galvanise ourselves for Hawick next week, which will be no easy task. The last four weeks, we’ve had poor numbers at training – that’s inexcusable if we’re being brutally honest – that commitment needs to be there. It is all very well winning a one-off game against Aberdeen and thinking that’s it done and dusted, but if we go on thinking like that we’ll never become good rugby players. From now on, I’ll be looking to pick players who want to train and are committed to playing for Jed-Forest rugby club. That’s the bottom line.”

Greame Paterson of Musselburgh was, not surprisingly, far more upbeat. “In the first half you could see it was a game between two teams who hadn’t played for a while with both teams feeling their way into it, then we got a bit of dominance with our line-out drive and that was the key for us to win the second half,” he said.

“There always is a lot of physicality when we play Jed. It just seems to be one of those games which invigorates the players. I don’t think it was particularly dirty although it did boil over with that scrap at the end.”


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Musselburgh got off to a flying start in fortuitous circumstances when stand-off Paul Cunningham was first to react to an overthrown line-out and somehow managed to force the ball over Jed’s try line and then touch down without being called for a knock-on.

It was all fairly scrappy, which was hardly surprising given that neither side had played for a month, and Jed fumbled the ball at crucial moments on at least two occasions as they began to build a head of steam, before they eventually levelled the score on 18 minutes through Dom Buckley, who made the initial dent in midfield straight off scrum ball and then re-appeared on the scene three phases later to trot under the posts.

No sooner had Gary Munro converted than the scrum-half was hacking the ball over his own dead ball line after Jed’s back-field was caught napping by a Musselburgh kick into space, handing the hosts a scrum from which outside centre Tom Foley barged through some weak tackling to put his team back in the lead.

However, Jed bounced back again, with a converted try from Mason Cullen, and after Musselburgh second-row Calum Champion was sent to the sin-bin just before half-time for lying on the wrong side, Munro stepped up to kick the three points points which gave the visitors a 17-14 lead at the break.


But that was as good as it got for Jed. They coughed up six penalties inside 10 minutes at the start of the second half, with second-row Gregor Law being sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle, soon followed by Paulo Ferreira for collapsing a maul, before referee Sam O’Neil awarded a penalty try.

Despite being down to 13 men, Jed enjoyed their only real spell of cohesion during the second half, with Buckley and Lewis Young combining to send replacement scrum-half Nik Stingl over, converted by Ross Nichol, but they couldn’t sustain  it.

The deluge of penalty concessions continued, and Cunningham took advantage by firing a sequence of well judged kicks into the corners, allowing replacement prop Neil McNairn to bustle over from line-out drives twice inside the space of 10 minutes.

It went from bad to worse for Jed when Law got himself a second yellow for dissent and Musselburgh once again went to the corner, with their other replacement prop, Duncan Hodge adding the finishing touch this time.

A mass brawl lasted several minutes and culminated in McNairn of Musselburgh and Buckley of Jed both seeing red, and a few players on both teams will have thanked their lucky stars that they didn’t receive the same sanction.

Fired up Jed finished the match with a try through Ferreira, converted by Munro, to secure two bonus points from the match.


Teams –

Musselburgh: R Hindhaugh; S Watt, T Foley ( L Kotze 61), R Watt, G Tait; P Cunningham, D Owenson; P Brown (N McNairn 52), C Owenson, C Arthur (D Hodge 73), W Fleming (J Crain 53), C Champion, J Lister, M Crawford, L Hutson.

Jed-Forest: L Young; M Cullen (R Shirra Gibb 41, A Sweenie 53-68), G Young, D Buckley, R Marshall; R Nichol (G Munro 74), G Munro (N Stingl 53); G Paxton, F Scott (J Hynd 75), P Ferreira, A Sweenie (B McNeill 40), G Law, D Wardrop, F Scott, C Cowan.

Referee: Sam O’Neil


Scorers –

Musselburgh: Tries: Cunningham, Foley, Penalty Try, McNairn 2, Hodge; Con: Owenson 4.

Jed-Forest: Tries: Buckley, Cullen, Stingl, Ferreira; Con: Munro 3, Nichol; Pen: Munro.

Scoring sequence (Musselburgh first): 5-0; 7-0; 17-5; 7-7; 12-7; 14-7; 14-12; 14-14; 14-17 (h-t) 21-17; 21-22; 21-24; 26-24; 28-24; 33-24; 38-24; 38-29; 38-31.


Yellow cards –

Musselburgh: Champion (39mins)

Jed-Forest: Law (51mins), Ferreira (53mins)


Red cards –

Musselburgh: McNairn (78mins)

Jed-Forest: Law (74mins); Buckley (78mins).


Man-of-the-Match: It was Musselburgh’s line-out drive which separated the two teams and William Fleming was a key figure there as well as a tireless grafter in the loose.

Talking Point: Jed head coach Scott Tomlinson didn’t mince his words after this match and says he has demanded a change in attitude from his squad. It will be fascinating to see how the platers respond in what is certain to be another feisty affair against Hawick next week.

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.