Musselburgh 19

Stewart’s Melville 14

MUSSELBURGH ended their losing run with a hard-fought victory over fellow National 1 strugglers Stewart’s Melville FP on Saturday.

Burgh scored two first-half tries, through John Coutts and Donald Kennedy, to lead 12-0 at the break and extended their advantage to 19 points after Brad Graham’s try early in the second half.

A late comeback by the visitors was not enough to deny Grant Talac’s Burgh a first win of the campaign, although it did ensure the Edinburgh side left with a bonus point.

Head coach Grant Talc told Courier Sport he was “delighted” and added: “It was one of those games where the result was everything and the performance didn’t matter.”

The game’s opening score came after 15 minutes, when Coutts rounded off a slick handling movement to score in the corner. Gareth Pritchard converted for 7-0 but pushed a penalty attempt wide as the half-hour mark approached.

Talac’s charges increased their lead when Kennedy picked from the base of a solid scrum and dived over for his first Burgh try.

Pritchard was again off-target with the conversion but Burgh held a 12-point lead at the interval.

Within three minutes of the second half kicking off, the hosts’ advantage grew as Graham was driven over.

South African Pritchard this time converted and left Burgh more than half an hour to chase a fourth try and a bonus point.

However, the visitors grew more into the match and hit back when stand-off Scott Docherty went over in the 62nd minute.

He converted to cut the gap to 19-7 before centre James Ferguson crossed for Stew Mel’s second try two minutes from time.

Docherty landed the conversion to give the Capital side one last chance to snatch victory, and in the process secured a losing bonus point.

The last few minutes offered Burgh the nightmare scenario of a defeat after being 19 points up, should the visitors get a late converted score.

Although it did not materialise, the Burgh coach said: “We also now need to reflect on the performance where we were cruising at 19-0 and looking like winning by 40 points when the level dipped and the wheels almost came off for the last 25 minutes.”

It did not come, and Burgh held on for their first win of the season.

Talac’s side face a tough assignment on Saturday, travelling to Jed Forest, but he has urged his side to be “more clinical” if they are to have a chance of victory.