YM miss out on Murrayfield after semi-final heartache

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MUSSELBURGH managed to do what no other team had done for more than two seasons.

And their victory at Mansfield Haugh on Saturday also destroyed any dreams Hawick YM had of achieving a dream double this season.

Both sides shared a victory apiece in the league ahead of this mouthwatering clash, with the Redskins possibly edging it ahead of the first whistle with their home advantage and sizeable support.

But on the day they were beaten by the better team as Musselburgh booked their place in the final for the first time in their history.

And yet things began so promisingly for the YM, who won the toss and opted to play with the wind in the first half.

A break out from their own ‘22 was taken on by flying winger Glynn Desport who scorched down the left hand touchline to notch his 15th try of the season. Captain Ali Weir added the conversion and it was the perfect start the home fans were hoping for.

Unfortunately for them though, Musselburgh hadn’t read the script and their powerful pack tore into the home ranks, choosing to run the ball rather than kick at goal, which paid dividends when centre Paul Davis ran in under the posts and the impressive David O’Hagan converted to level the scores.

O’Hagan was on target with the boot again minutes later with a penalty, before Weir cancelled that out with a kick of his own.

Ryan Hogg, who was immense all afternoon, then had the home supporters in raptures as he made a trademark burst through the Musselburgh defence and fed Redskins man-of-the-match Rory Scott who went over for his third try against Musselburgh at this ground this season. Weir converted to restore the seven-point advantage but right on half-time O’Hagan reduced the arrears with a penalty.

Things were looking good for YM with the wind dying down in the next 40 minutes, but to the surprise of the large crowd that was to be the last YM score of the match.

Instead they were forced very much on the defensive and were proving a tough unit to break down until winger James Murray found a gap to scorch over and give the visitors a slender point advantage.

There was still plenty of time left but Musselburgh slowed the game down and stifled their opponents.

An injury to replacement Matthew Douglas didn’t help the home cause, nor did knocks to key players Wullie Blacklock and Scott, who both took hard hits defending their line.

Weir watched an ambitious penalty effort from inside his own half fall short and there were breaks from Michael Graham and Scott McLeod but Musselburgh managed to hang on and the scenes of celebration were in stark contrast to the disappointment etched on the faces of everyone connected with the Mansfield Haugh outfit.

YM coach Jammy McFarlane said: “I feel like I’ve fallen off a cliff. It’ll take us a few days to bounce back but we will bounce back.”