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October 18, 2003

Glasgow Warriors 26 - 25 The Borders

Celtic League match played at Hughenden on Friday October 17th 2003 | No comments

Sean Lamont went over for Glasgow's first try.
A little local business was transacted in the Celtic League last night as the minds of most rugby followers remained firmly on the World Cup down under.

It was serious business too, with the Scottish neighbours both battling to climb away from the bottom of the Celtic League.

Ultimately it was Glasgow, without captain Cameron Mather, who was on the red-eye flight to Australia as a late replacement in the Scotland squad, who had just enough fire power to emerge as winners by the narrowest of margins. But it was far from being a comfortable victory for a team whose poor form in the league belies their status as semi-finalists in the Celtic Cup.

The Borders, struggling to achieve any kind of fluency on a week-by-week basis, will feel hard done by. Full-back Gareth Morton, who scored 22 of his side’s 25 points, missed three late penalties, any one of which would have won the game.

A crisp autumn evening meant cold fingers and it was a fumble inside the Glasgow 22 and over-anxious forwards trying to rescue the ball that gifted the Borders the opening score through a simple Morton penalty after only two minutes. Glasgow stand-off Dan Parks cancelled it out a minute later with a more difficult 40-metre penalty that split the posts.

Not to be outdone, when Glasgow handled in a ruck on the halfway line, Morton thumped it over from even longer range. Glasgow got their backs into action for the first time after Clark Laidlaw’s clearance kick was charged down and the loose ball moved smoothly out to the left wing for Sean Lamont to slide in. Park converted.

Glasgow were looking the more dangerous but it was the Borders who racked up the points with Morton’s third penalty after more indiscipline at a ruck. Try scorer Lamont was yellow-carded for deliberate obstruction off the ball when his team were going nowhere and the Borders pack began to make progress against 14 men. Morton’s sure kicking touch deserted him as a 45 metre attempt drifted wide.

A Parks clearance was charged down and the Borders were on it in flash, with scrum- half Chris Cusiter in the vanguard. They kicked for the corner when a penalty was awarded just short of the line and spun the ball out to the right for Morton to make the extra man between outside centre and winger to beat the defence and score under the posts and then convert.

With Lamont back on the field, Parks kicked another three points when a Borders hand deliberately killed the ball in a ruck. The Borders then lost No8 Tony Walker to the sin bin when he was caught committing the same offence right in front of the referee 30 metres out. Parks’ penalty levelled the scores at half-time.

Glasgow seemed to come out the hungrier for the second half but the Borders defence soaked up the pressure and took advantage as good refereeing kept the ball alive through a succession of dropped passes and knock-ons. As Walker returned to restore his team to its full complement, Laidlaw put them ahead with a drop goal.

Glasgow went at them again but couldn’t get clean enough or quick enough ball and the Borders defence held until big Roland Reid, filling in on back row duty for Mather, picked up as the ball came out of a set scrum and put his head down to batter his way over from 20 metres. Parks converted.

Straight away, Morton reduced the deficit to a single point with his fourth penalty. Parks chipped a beautiful kick from his own half into the right hand corner a few metres from the line but they made a mess of the lineout and the Borders were able to clear.

Back came Glasgow through Lamont, who was stopped by a thundering tackle, but then Parks looked to have set up an easy try for Andy Hall with a precision chip kick but the lock, in acres of space, let the ball bounce and couldn’t retrieve it before it dribbled into touch in goal. The Borders had been offside, however, and Parks extended Glasgow’s lead with his fourth penalty.

Within minutes another Glasgow offence at a ruck gave Morton the chance to claw Borders back to within one point. His kick just made it.

Glasgow full-back Stuart Moffat was then yellow-carded after an off the ball exchange with Morton following what looked like a good tackle.

With less than 10 minutes to go, the Borders were awarded another 50-metre penalty when Glasgow didn’t release the ball in a ruck. Morton’s kick flew wide but he was handed another chance a moment later from even closer range when Glasgow did exactly the same thing at the next ruck. This time it was wide on the other side of the posts.

It looked as if the Borders had blown it but there was to be another penalty in injury time, again for handling in the ruck. It went wide too.

Report by William Paul of The Scotsman.

Referee P Adams (WAL)
Attendance 2,712
Man of the Match Sean Lamont
Matt Proudfoot
Scott Lawson
Lee Harrison
Andy Hall
Nathan Ross
Andy Wilson
Roly Reid
Paul Dearlove
Kenny Sinclair
Dan Parks
Sean Lamont
Alan Bulloch
Graeme Morrison
Rory Kerr
Stuart Moffat
Euan Murray
Mark McMillan
Rory Mackay
Simon Gunn
Jonathan Steel
Calvin Howarth
Joe Beardshaw
Match Substitutions
Off On
Matt Proudfoot Euan Murray
Off On
Scott Lawson Simon Gunn
Off On
Paul Dearlove Rory Mackay
Off On
Nathan Ross Joe Beardshaw
Dan Parks Penalty
Sean Lamont Try 
Dan Parks Conversion
Dan Parks Penalty
Dan Parks Penalty
Dan Parks Conversion
Dan Parks Penalty

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