Musselburgh 38

Aberdeen Grammar FP 30

MUSSELBURGH ensured their place in National League Division 1 with a bonus-point win over fellow strugglers Aberdeen Grammar at Stoneyhill.

Burgh went into the match knowing that victory would guarantee their stay in the second tier of Scottish rugby would be extended for at least one more season, but defeat could potentially leave them at risk of being caught by relegation-zoned Hamilton.

Burgh made a slow start, but recovered as Neil McNairn, Luke Hutson (twice) and Declan Slaven all crossed to secure the much-needed bonus point.

The visitors were quickest out of the blocks, though, and took the lead after just three minutes when winger Matthew Arnold went over in the corner.

The conversion was missed, and Danny Owenson – who finished with an 18-point haul from the tee – kicked a penalty to cut the gap to two points.

Aplin restored Aberdeen’s lead to five points with a penalty, before they scored a second try on 16 minutes when Calum Ruxton gathered a chip ahead to dive over.

The conversion saw Burgh 3-15 behind as the first quarter ended.

However, the home team got back into the contest when prop McNairn crashed over, after good work by his pack colleagues, and Owenson converted to cut the gap to five once more.

A thrilling first 40 minutes continued when Ruxton crossed for his second try for the visitors, and, Aplin’s conversion extended their advantage to take the score to 10-22.

Again, though, Burgh came surging back, as they scored a pushover try shortly before the break to cut the gap to 15-22, Hutson the man getting the score.

When number eight Hutson scored Burgh’s third try and his second shortly after half-time, Owenson converted to level the scores

A mere six minutes later, Burgh had the bonus point when Declan Slaven finished off a fine move, and Owenson landed a difficult conversion to put Grant Talac’s side in the lead for the first time.

The Burgh scrum-half kicked a penalty to extend the lead to 10 points, before a try by Arnold dragged the visitors back into the match, and secured Aberdeen a try bonus point with 18 minutes left.

But the impressive Owenson kicked a pair of penalties to secure victory.

Musselburgh: J Doig, B Hibberd, A Cook, R Watt, S Watt; I Martin, D Owenson; C Owenson, R Gregor, N McNairn, W Fleming, B Graham, G Bowman, D Slaven, L Hutson.