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September 11, 2004

The Borders 7 - 10 Glasgow Warriors

Celtic League match played at Greenyards (Melrose) on Saturday September 11th 2004 | One comment

Glasgow were denied a second try when Paul Dearlove was harshly adjudged to have knocked on (Photo by J Thomson)
The final kick of this match came from Borders' fly-half Charlie Hore whose penalty in the eighth minute of injury time was pushed to the right of the posts - and the chance of salvaging a draw from the game went with it.

Instead, Glasgow won this match but even they will take little comfort from yesterday's proceedings as Glasgow coach Hugh Campbell was honest enough to admit after the final whistle: "This was a game that could have gone either way and we were fortunate to come out on top. Both teams were probably a little unhappy and both have plenty of work to do."

Given the change in the laws it is now quite difficult to fail to score points. The weather was near-perfect for running up a big total as Melrose had already proved, but the two professional teams managed that feat throughout the entire second half with relative ease. On several occasions, the bad-tempered game threatened to erupt into real violence but, a little like the rugby, even the dust-ups never quite caught fire.

It didn't help that one of the few world-class operators on show was targeted at the breakdown and looked all the worse for it. Chris Cusiter would never publicly blame his forwards but few of the big boys will remain on his Christmas card list after allowing the opposition to scrag him on numerous occasions as he was consistently forced to dig into the pile of bodies to retrieve the ball.

At least Stuart Moffat made a few points to the side that dispensed with his services last summer as the big winger not only scored one good try but he could have had another couple and always looked dangerous with the ball in hand. He ran right over his opposite man on more than one occasion.

Playing with the benefit of a stiff breeze, the Borders dominated the opening period of this Celtic League clash and the one time that Glasgow worked their way into the home twenty-two flyhalf Hore promtly hoofed the ball the length of the field and asked them to do it all again.

All the early Borders pressure, including three consecutive five-yard lineouts, was met with some stout defending from Glasgow. Moffat was denied up the left wing twice in succession although he would have been helped if Gareth Morton had checked the drift defence before passing the ball. But the former Glasgow fullback was not denied for long as he popped up on the right wing and stepped out of Jon Petrie's tackle to open the scoring on 12 minutes.

Glasgow was stung into action and struck back but only after a horrible misunderstanding in the Borders' midfield that saw both Hore and Ally Dickson pass to the invisible man and put their team under immence pressure that resulted in a try when Sam Pinder brushed off the attentions of Wayne McEntee to touch down from a five-yard scrum. It was shortly after that that the Borders lost their skipper to the sin bin as Paul Thomson saw yellow for failing to roll away from the breakdown.

The referee's decision was surely coloured by the fact that this particular ruck was two metres from the Borders line because the Borders won nothing more than a penalty when Kenny Logan did something similar in the middle of the field shortly after.

However, Huw Watkins did even things up in the 37th minute when Glasgow second row giant Nathan Ross also slowed the opposition ball as the Borders attempted to convert a five-yard lineout into points.

Hore failed to convert his chance at the posts but Glasgow flyhalf Dan Parks made no such mistake with his own opportunity after the home side was penalised for coming into a breakdown from the wrong side and the visitors had a three-point lead at half time that they kept until the referee signalled no side.

The second half saw Parks doing what he is paid to do by using the wind to pin the home side into their 22 but, keeping the ball in hand, the Borders played their best rugby to dominate the second half.

They squandered an early chance to steal a lead when Moffat failed to control Cusiter's clever grubber and when the forwards drove up the middle of the park, popping the ball beautifully out of contact, the move deserved better than Parks kicking the ball back deep inside the Borders' 22.

Scotland Sevens star Callum MacRae went 50 yards upfield after a rare show of skill when stepping the first line of defence and exhibiting a great turn of pace to take him deep into opposition territory before substitute Ross Ford spoiled the move with a spilled pass. Hore also missed the simplest of penalty chances that would have levelled the scores and any amount of moaning by the Borders wasn't going the alter the fact that the ball had drifted wide of the upright.

Glasgow came close to wrapping things up in a rare sortie into the Borders' red zone when Parks' cross-kick was won by Paul Dearlove and fullback Scott Barrow dived over the line only to be brought back for a knock on. Two consecutive penalties conceded by flanker McEntee gave Parks another penalty opportunity that he missed and former Scotland centre Andy Craig, returned from injury, dropped the ball while stretching for the line. The game ended when Hore failed with his last-gasp effort.

These two teams propped up the Celtic League last season and on there was little evidence yesterday to refute the suggestion that they find themselves in the same position once more come April.

Report by Iain Morrison from Scotland on Sunday

Referee H Watkins (Wales)
Kevin Tkachuk
Gordon Bulloch
Lee Harrison
Joe Beardshaw
Nathan Ross
Andy Wilson
Donnie Macfadyen
Jon Petrie
Sam Pinder
Dan Parks
Kenny Logan
Andrew Henderson
Graeme Morrison
Sean Lamont
Scott Barrow
Scott Lawson
Andrew Kelly
Joe Beardshaw
Paul Dearlove
Graeme Beveridge
Calvin Howarth
Andy Craig
Match Substitutions
Off On
Gordon Bulloch Scott Lawson
Off On
Lee Harrison Andrew Kelly
Off On
Nathan Ross Andy Hall
Off On
Andy Wilson Paul Dearlove
Off On
Graeme Morrison Andy Craig
Off On
Sam Pinder Graeme Beveridge
Sam Pinder Try 
Dan Parks Conversion
Dan Parks Penalty
Posted by Phall on September 12, 2004 03:14 PM | Reply to this comment

At the moment WINNING is the ONLY thing!

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