THERE are a dozen reasons to be cheerful currently for Musselburgh winger Gregor Tait as he looks back on the regular Tennent’s Premiership season – the 24-year-old claiming the top try scorer honour after “a very enjoyable” campaign.
Tait crossed the whitewash 12 times during the regular season, some feat when you consider that he was playing in a team that finished in seventh spot with six wins and 12 losses from 18 outings.
They did score more game points (405) than the teams that finished in fifth and sixth – Glasgow Hawks on 371 and GHA on 400 – though, and the East Lothian outfit are seen by many as a good attacking side.
“The Aberdeen Grammar game at home really helped me out and gave me a boost in confidence because I managed to score four tries in that one [on October 2nd at Stoneyhill in a 40-24 win],” Tait, who works as a Client Consultant at Advance Global Recruitment Ltd in Edinburgh, said.
“I had scored [versus GHA, Selkirk and Hawks] in the opening few games so was feeling good anyway, but that day against Grammar it all seemed to click and to have seven tries by early October was brilliant and I just built from there.
“Two things really helped me this season to have probably the best year of my career to date: one, I was playing regularly and two, we are a team in general – and certainly a backline – that like to put a bit of width on the ball and create chances and that ‘front foot’ rugby is the kind I enjoy playing.
“As the season went along my friend and team mate Sandy Watt started to score a few on the other wing for us, in fact he seemed to find form when we switched wings midway through the season – it made me start to think that I shouldn’t have swapped!
“Seriously though, Sandy is a very good player and it just shows the intent we try to play with at Musselburgh when the wingers ended up with 23 league tries between us.”
Watt’s 11 tries saw him finish joint second in the standings alongside Jed’s Paulo Ferreira and Marr’s Scott Bickerstaff and with the Musselburgh’s wide pair posing such a potent threat it is little wonder all at Stoneyhill were frustrated by their final league placing.
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Head coach Graeme Paterson is now leaving the club and Tait said: “I cannot thank Graeme enough for the belief he has shown in me since I joined the club.
“When I arrived a few seasons back I was not used to being given a regular run in a first XV, but he gave me opportunities early on, I learnt game by game and he stuck by me.
“I grew into the team and I really like being part of this squad and this club, everyone plays for each other on the pitch and we have a good laugh off it as it should be.
“Experienced backs like Danny Owenson have also helped me build on bits of my game and get better.
“Wingers nowadays come off the touchline a lot more and a number of my tries came from being on the shoulder of some our big ball-carriers in the midfield – it really is always a team effort.”
Tait’s final five tries of a fruitful few months came against Hawick, GHA (2), Selkirk and Hawks, so how did he end up at Musselburgh nearly four years ago now?
“I came up through the rugby ranks at George Watson’s College and was lucky enough to win Scottish Schools Cups with the school at under-16 and under-18 levels which was great,” he explains.
“It was 2015 when I left school and I headed straight over the road to play senior rugby for Watsonians. In my first year I mainly played in the second XV and had one game in the firsts and then I spent time in Australia.
“I played for North Brisbane’s under-19s and that was a good experience. When I came back I played a bit longer at Watsonians, but then I wanted a new challenge and I moved to Musselburgh in 2018 and have not looked back since.”