Stewart’s Melville 5

Musselburgh 20

MUSSELBURGH moved 10 points clear of the National League Division 1 relegation places with victory over fellow strugglers Stewart’s Melville on Saturday.

Burgh went into the match one place above their relegation-zoned hosts in the table but having fallen to two heavy defeats in the last fortnight.

But tries either side of the break from Ruairidh Young and Cammy Pryde sealed victory, as well as 10 points from the boot of influential half-back Danny Owenson.

The hosts dominated proceedings early on, pinning Grant Talac’s side inside their own half for large spells.

When Burgh did get the ball, the hosts put scrum-half Owenson and stand-off Gareth Pritchard under huge pressure, meaning Stew Mel dominated territory for much of the first quarter.

Stewart’s Melville were unable to take advantage and were made to pay when Ruairidh Young, a former Scotland U20 international, crossed for the game’s opening try on 25 minutes.

Owenson converted before kicking two penalties as Burgh grew more into the match, leading 0-13 at the break.

Talac’s men began the second half in the ascendency but, like their hosts in the first 40 minutes, they were unable to add to their points tally.

And the home side came back into the match when winger Sean Murchie rounded off a good move, diving over in the corner.

The conversion went wide but the hosts were back in the match.

The latter stages of the game were completed with Musselburgh virtually camped on the hosts’ line and they sealed victory with the game’s final play, when replacement Pryde went over.

Owenson converted and Burgh celebrated a vital win, while denying their hosts even a bonus point.

This week sees second-place Jed-Forest, who have lost just once in the league all season, visit Stoneyhill.

Head coach Talac was “absolutely delighted” with the win and told Courier Sport: “It was well deserved given the balance of play.

“We did have opportunities to score a few more tries that we didn’t capitalise on but given the respective league positions of both teams then it was ultimately the win that was important.

“The boys defended really well in the first 20 minutes in particular when Stew Mel had good field position and we also kept a hold of the ball and controlled territory for the following 60 minutes, keeping them under a lot of pressure.

“Looking forward we have Jed at home next week, who have been free-scoring as of late, so we shall need to be on top of our game defensively to keep their opportunities to a minimum whilst taking a few more of the chances we create ourselves.”

Musselburgh: R Young, J Doig, A Cook, R Watt, S Watt; G Pritchard, D Owenson; C Owenson, R Gregor, C Arthur, W Fleming, G McKinstry, E Milton, B Graham, L Hutson.