Aberdeen Grammar handed their supporters some early festive cheer, running in seven sumptuous tries against a good Musselburgh side who once they had recovered from being 28 points down after half an hour, made a spirited fight back, scoring four of their own in a highly entertaining match.
The win extends the Rubislaw side's unbeaten run to four games, giving the faithful a clear indication that their favourites had put the horror show of a month ago against bottom side Cartha Queens Park well and truly behind them. A situation which puzzled head coach Ali O'Connor who said: ''Once again we have turned in a first-class performance, resembling the 10 try thrashing we gave Jed-Forest on the first day of the season, but the question I shall be asking in training next week is: "Why can't it be like this every week?" We need to attain a higher level of consistency, if we are to claim a top four place in this league.''
Centre Tom Aplin, who opened the scoring in six minutes after a fine exchange of passes between backs and forwards, acknowledged the contribution the home pack had made to the game when he said: ''They provided us with the platform to attack Musselburgh right from the start, and although they came back at us, we were never going to lose. We now need to build on this and take getting into the into the top four as a priority. We have two possible five pointers coming up against Kirkcaldy and Kelso before Christmas.''
Part of the success of the afternoon was due to the return of key players, including No 8 Greig Ryan who had a stormer after shrugging off a calf injury, as did hooker Andrew Cook, although prop Matthew Schosser was the stand-out in the pack, having clearly benefited from being with the German national team in its bid to reach the finals of the World Cup in Japan in 2019. The hard-working German was not only a solid influence in the home scrum, but also managed to pop up in the loose, enabling him to pick up a try in the second half at a time when the East Lothian side were threatening to come back into the 11 try game.
The first half hour belonged exclusively to Grammar with captain and stand off Sam Knudson, leading the line with authority, enabling Aplin, Ryan, flanker Alec Dravitski and prop Calum Reddish to score tries, all converted by full back Bryn Perrott (2) and Aplin (2).
Musselburgh hit back with one of their own, scored by flanker Jack Anderson, converted by stand off Danny Owenson to make it 28-7 at half time.
The honours were pretty well even in the second half with each side scoring three tries, all converted bar the final touchdown of the day which fell to another of the home returners centre Murray Mitchell, back from a spell with the Scottish National Rugby League side. Grammar's other two were touched down by Schosser and Knudson, while the visitors’ efforts were attributed to centre Ruairidh Young, flanker Cameron Pryde and a second for Anderson, all of which were added to by Owenson.
Over the piece a game to savour, especially given the fact that neither club yet knows in which structure they will be playing next season thanks to the stunning silence from Murrayfield.
© Jack Nixon