Dundee v Musselburgh
15 October 2016
The return of the curate’s egg saw a Dundee performance which mixed the best with the ordinary, but which saw the job done in as much as there was a return to bonus point, winning ways.
The rain which had dominated the weather for the preceding 24 hours, relented before kick-off and the pitch, while soft, remained firm. The visitors kicked off and, after an early exchange of kicks, it was Dundee who showed first. Handling errors prevented any real opportunity, however, and it was Musselburgh who had the first scoring chance, with a penalty effort which was unsuccessful. Dundee kicked to gain the Musselburgh 22 and, after a strong rumble, Dayle Turner ran clear to touch down under the posts, leaving Ewan Fox a simple conversion opportunity, which he duly accepted, and Dundee were 7-0 ahead after 10 minutes.
A spell of Musselburgh possession led to little progress for the visitors, until a series of consecutive penalties against Dundee allowed Musselburgh to attack the Dundee line with line-out drives, the last of which ending with Paddy Brown claiming a try, which was unconverted. 7 – 5 with 21 minutes played.
Dundee had the better of the next spell, scrummage dominance helping the cause, and were next to score. On the attack, Dundee moved the ball from the right wing to the centre of the field, where Ice popped up to skip through two tackles to score by the posts and again Foxy had a simple conversion opportunity. 14 – 5 with 28 minutes on the clock.
Having developed an extra man situation, Musselburgh reached 10 metres from the Dundee line and when the home side was penalised, Musselburgh gained touch 5 metres out. The drive was held for a Dundee scrum, which enabled the lines to be cleared, but returned possession to Musselburgh. Dundee were the penalised in front of the posts, some 30 metres out and Musselburgh stand-off Danny Owenson slotted the kick to reduce the deficit. 14 – 8 after 35 minutes.
The advantage was restored five minutes later, however, after Musselburgh were penalised giving Dundee only their second penalty of the half, which Foxy converted, to bring the half to a close.
Half-time: Dundee 17 Musselburgh 8
Too frantic in attack and requiring more discipline in defence, Dundee needed to find another gear in the second half. Such open possession as Musselburgh enjoyed had appeared to contain little threat thus far.
In spite of Dundee exhortations, it was Musselburgh who showed first after the resumption. When Dundee were penalised, Musselburgh kicked to touch, won the line-out and moved the ball right for a score by full back Jack Burey. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful and the gap was narrowed to four points: 17 -13 with 2 minutes of the half played.
Dundee were straight back into action from the kick-off and, with a kick looking the best option, with the Musselburgh defence ranked before him, Ice managed to burst through several attempted tackles to score under the posts. Another simple conversion from Foxy and the lead was stretched again: 45 minutes gone and 24 -13.
Dundee pushed Musselburgh off a scrummage ball following the re-start and, with a great break out from defence, reached 10 metres from the Musselburgh line. Then more pressure led to Neil Turnbull bursting over and, again, Foxy landed the conversion to put Dundee further ahead at 31 – 13.
A great breakout from the Dundee half by captain Andy Dymock took play to the Musselburgh 22: the ball was shipped right for Fraser McKay to touch down out wide and Foxy’s fine conversion increased the lead to a comfortable 25 points: 38 -13 with 56 minutes played.
Musselburgh were far from done, however, and hit back almost immediately. When Dundee were again penalised, Musselburgh kicked to touch and drove the resultant maul over for a try by Conor Slaven, which was unconverted. 38 – 18 after 59 minutes.
The remainder of the game went rather flat as a spectacle. Further penalties against Dundee resulted in a series of kicks to touch and line-out drives by Musselburgh, one of which saw them over the Dundee line, but the ball was not adjudged to have been grounded. Eventually, however, Musselburgh did manage to breach the home defence, prop Jamie Walker being credited with the try, which was well converted by Jack Burey. 38 -25 with three minutes of regulation time remaining.
Full time: Dundee 38 Musselburgh 25
A game which rather petered out in the final quarter, but job done for Dundee, and there was some satisfaction in the opening 20 minutes of the second half where Dundee showed increased tempo and commitment. A very skewed penalty count, 12-3 against Dundee according to this observer, contributed to Musselburgh ending with a try bonus point.
Tries: Isao Matacagi (2), Dayle Turner, Neil Turnbull, Fraser McKay
Penalty: Ewan Fox
Conversions: Ewan Fox (5)
Dundee Man of the Match: Neil Turnbull