Aberdeen Grammar’s chances of a top-four finish almost certainly disappeared in the mud of Rubislaw where they were outplayed by relegation-haunted Musselburgh, who looked more up for the challenge than a totally out of sorts home side.
The wet, dreich afternoon started badly for Grammar, who lost the services of lock Aaron Robertson an hour before the game started as he had a dead leg. This was followed by the news that head coach Ali O’Connor’s car had broken down and he would not make the game.
On the pitch things were no better for the home side, as acknowledged by club chairman Mike Cox who said: “This was a shocker. There were too many unforced errors. Musselburgh were really up for it but we got sucked into their way of playing, instead of imposing our own style on them. We couldn’t even catch the ball when it mattered. Most disappointing.”
The East Lothian men were eight points up after 25 minutes on the back of a try in 10 minutes by Connor Slaven and a penalty from the evergreen Danny Owenson, playing at stand off.
Musselburgh led 8-0 at the break.
A change of scrum halves looked to have brought about a change of fortune for the Aberdeen side. Jake Gray appeared much sharper than Tommy Morrison. The man he replaced. With almost his first touch of the ball Gray found full back Alex Ratcliffe who in turn released winger Doug Russell who set off on a 55-yard run to the lien to make it 8-5. Stand off Bryn Perrott was wide with the conversion, but Grammar were back in the game with half-an-hour to play.
But the visitors were quick to respond, taking control with tried from Bob Stott and flanker Michael Fleming, both converted by the excellent Owenson.
Grammar disappeared as an attacking force, arguably producing their worst performance of the season.
Too many senior players had off-days.
© Jack Nixon
Aberdeen Rugby: Alex Ratcliffe; Doug Russell, Nathan Clough, Murray Mitchell, Craig Shepherd; Bryn Perrott, Tommy Morrison; Ross Anderson, Liam Buchan, Colin Neilson; Ewan Stewart, Ethan Murray; Alex Dravitski, Dom Wallen, Greig Ryan.
Replacements: Yasseen Ahmanache, Drew Whitehead, Scott Renfrew, Jake Gray, Calum Ruxton.
Musselburgh: Ruairidh Young, Cameron McMillan, Andrew Cook, Rory Watt, Sandy Watt; Danny Owenson, Donald Kennedy; Connor Slaven, Ross Gregor, Colin Arthur; Euan Milton, Cameron Pryde; Brad Graham, Michael Fleming, Luke Hutson. Replacements: Bob Stott, Jonathan Crain, Thomas Hamilton, Rory Smith.