That was the Premiership season that almost was: Musselburgh

The Offside Line looks back on a campaign which brought plenty of thrills and spills, before ultimately being cut-off short

Musselburgh gave high-flying Currie Chieftains a fright in their final match of the season. Image: Craig Watson
Musselburgh gave high-flying Currie Chieftains a fright in their final match of the season. Image: Craig Watson

SIXTH in the National League One last season – and as ‘last man in’ they were always going to find the Premiership hard going –  particularly having lost Kyle McGhie and Martin Cimprich to Boroughmuir Bears and Nathan Sweeney to Southern Knights.

Hawick then Marr was hardly the easiest of starts. They struggled with the physicality and gave away too many penalties – but despite conceding 14 tries over the two matches, they more or less kept their shape in both games. The wheels came off big style, however, against Accies in round three – and though they did pick up a couple of decent wins against Hawks and GHA, they struggled for consistency, much hindered by injuries to Michael Maltman and Craig Owenson. Things were not looking good at Christmas – but Cinderella did eventually make it to the ball.

After losing the first game after the break to Aberdeen, they came good at just the right time – and picked up 12 points from their last four games –  a bonus point win over Jed, a draw with Selkirk, an away win against GHA and a losing bonus point against Chieftains. Their game management was maybe sometimes askew – but nobody could question their spirit.



Big Players

  • Michael Maltman brought a hard edge and a wealth of experience to the pack – and was badly missed when he was out injured.  A beacon for the youngsters and the key man in the season-saving run-in against Jed, Selkirk, GHA and Hawks.
  • Danny Owenson always plays well. Pugnacious – smart thinker – slick service – kicks confidently – sharp break. Surprising that he did not make the Scotland Club XV squad.
  • Craig Owenson and Colin Arthur kept the scrum solid in sometimes difficult circumstances – and they both pitched in tellingly about the park.  Young Euan Bonthron showed real promise at hooker in his first season of senior rugby.
  • Rory Watt was strong in the centre and Gregor Tait was always a threat on the wing.
  • Inside backs Paul Cunningham and Freddie Roddick were useful recruits from Watsonians and Stew/Mel respectively – who gelled nicely once Graeme Paterson found a format to accommodate both of them.

Memorable Comments

An East Lothian rugby hub geared to harness and develop the rich vein of local talent has long been a subject of debate and conjecture – and now, with the dramatic change in the structure of Scottish club rugby brought about by Super-6, it is maybe time to re-examine the hypothesis. Certainly, with their Premiership status, the planned improvement in their playing facilities and their successful player development programme, Musselburgh are well placed to encourage the process. The best of luck to them.

That was the Premiership season that almost was: GHA