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December 31, 2005

Border Reivers 24 - 13 Glasgow Warriors

GUINNESS PRO12 match played at Netherdale on Saturday December 31st 2005 | 3 comments

Rory Lamont went over for Glasgow's only try
Derbies are supposed to be parochial affairs, but this one could yet be remembered for the impact it had on Europe.

Border Reivers, by digging out only their second win over Glasgow Warriors, edged themselves in front in the race to secure Scotland’s second Heineken Cup place next season.

This victory, gruff and rough as it was, put them ahead of Hugh Campbell’s side in the Celtic League table, and implied the new year could bring with it a new order in the domestic game. Edinburgh chase the title while Glasgow continue to chase their tails, unable to bring into being the level of performance they so often hint at. The Reivers, meanwhile, look good for second best in Scottish terms precisely because that description so rarely attaches itself to their showings these days.

They have now beaten both their local rivals at home this season.

“We’re going to look to build on this for the rest of the season,” said Steve Bates, their coach. “The standard in the first half was lower than we would have liked, but we played a lot of good stuff in the second.”

If there was a positive to be found for Glasgow, it came in the shape of Jonny Petrie. The Warriors and, not so long ago, Scotland captain made his first appearance since busting a shoulder in the first Celtic League match of the season. Yet, if absence makes the heart grow fonder, it also clearly makes the legs go slower. Petrie took some time to warm to the pace of the game.

Straight from the kick-off, Semo Sititi, Petrie’s opposite number, skimmed through his attempt at a tackle to launch a dangerous break down the left. The visitors held their shape in that instance, but were unbuttoned shortly after by a canny tap-penalty from Chris Cusiter after Petrie refused to part with the ball on the deck. The scrum-half linked with Ben MacDougall, who whipped a quick pass out to Simon Danielli, and the wing tiptoed in at the corner.

In their next attack, Bates’s side rode a familiar road to the tryline, Opeta Palepoi sucking the ball in at the rear of a lineout and making himself the fulcrum of a driving maul from which Scott MacLeod almost went over. The classic execution of this catch-and-drive became something of a collector’s item as the half wore on, with the Reivers fumbling even on their own throw.

Glasgow pinched possession at one such set-piece 15 metres from the Reivers’ back door, the ball was scooted through a couple of rucks, and MacLeod couldn’t resist intruding on the final one from an illegal position. Dan Parks kicked the penalty and, soon after, a second award that could be traced back to wandering hands in a ruck.

The contracting space between the sides in the scoreline was symptomatic of a shifting dynamic to affairs, with Glasgow’s back-row, where the Johns, Barclay and Beattie, were happy to do the running for Petrie, shuddering to life in both the scrum and the loose.

An series of scrums along the Reivers’ 5-metre line should have brought greater bounty than the one-man advantage procured when Bruce Douglas was penalised twice in quick succession, but Glasgow lacked the subtlety to pick their denuded opponents’ pockets. Gregor Townsend ended the siege by butting in to a meandering cross-field move and thundering the ball downfield.

While the stand-off struggled to assert the attacking dominance required to convince the watching Frank Hadden he should be wheeled out of international retirement, his defensive work compared favourably with that of Parks, Scotland’s man in possession but who often disappears without it.

Accusatory fingers could be jabbed elsewhere in the Glasgow midfield here, where Andrew Henderson frequented too many blind alleys and Graeme Morrison, his centre partner, gifted the hosts the chance to clamber back into the ascendancy by sprawling over the ball after a tackle two minutes into the second half. Charlie Hore landed the penalty, and his boot then figured in the game’s decisive phase as Glasgow’s discipline fragment.

Sam Pinder, the scrum-half, blocked Cusiter’s attempt at another tap-penalty, and was sent to freeze on the sidelines, and Hore clinked through a further three points. His fourth penalty three minutes later gave the lead a fortified look. Epitomising Glasgow’s day, Petrie had padded out of proceedings in the 50th minute.

His replacement, Stevie Swindall, helped spark a couple of coherent moves in the home 22, and Rory Lamont, for whom they must have been sending out a search party in the second half, went over on the back of marvellous spatial awareness from Parks. The stand-off completed the conversion to lop the deficit to four points.

Typically with Campbell’s men, though, giving themselves a sniff was the signal for it all to turn cold. Steve Scott, a replacement, scored his first try of the season following a breakneck burst from wing Nikki Walker. A minute previously, Gregor Hayter had completed a hat-trick of yellow cards.

“That was our worst performance of the season,” Campbell dutifully conceded.

Report by Mark Palmer of The Times.

Referee P Allan (Watsonians/SRU)
Attendance 2,107
Kevin Tkachuk
Scott Lawson
Euan Murray
Tim Barker
Dan Turner
John Beattie
John Barclay
Jon Petrie
Sam Pinder
Dan Parks
Rory Lamont
Andrew Henderson
Graeme Morrison
Hefin O'Hare
Graydon Staniforth
Fergus Thomson
Lee Harrison
Gregor Hayter
Steve Swindall
Graeme Beveridge
Andy Craig
Match Substitutions
Off On
Euan Murray Lee Harrison
Off On
Tim Barker Gregor Hayter
Off On
Jon Petrie Steve Swindall
Off On
Sam Pinder Graeme Beveridge
Off On
Dan Parks Colin Gregor
Off On
Scott Lawson Fergus Thomson
Off On
Hefin O'Hare Andy Craig
15 minsDan Parks Penalty
19 minsDan Parks Penalty
71 minsRory Lamont Try 
71 minsDan Parks Conversion
Posted by jim on January 1, 2006 04:23 PM | Reply to this comment

The above article talkes about Henderson's journey up too many blind alleys. What it does not articulate is the fact that he was only marginally above walking pace on these half hearted trips. While Graeme Morrison did drop one almighty clanger, he did at least try to penetrate the midfield at pace, his partner in crime however, would have struggled to beat sleep, never mind the borders mid-field.

I have always been proud of the Warriors work ethic in the past, but I must admit to feelings of embarrasment and anger when the likes of Pinder and Parks saw fit to laugh off woefull handling errors when behind in the points and a mile out in terms of work ethic. Dan did show some intent, albeit very occasionally, but passed the ball inside far too often, but then again, who can blame him when he had an inside centre that looked like a snail with cramp.

It was clear to even the blind in the crowd that Glasgow were struggling up front and chances were few, but did they move the ball wide where the borders backs looked!

The above article talks about JP struggling with the pace of the game, he will no doubt be glad it was not a game against a French, Irish or Welsh side. Nevertheless, at least JP tried, this is more than could be said for his mainly absent backline. Hefin O'Hare being the exception that proved the rule, he was tackling and covering for the proliferation of absentees.

The questions remain...why was John Beattie, who dominated the Edinburgh game, pushed around like a schoolboy? Why did Graydon Staniforth, not intimidate by attacking from deep, as we have previously seen to good effect? Why did it take Bev, Fergus and Stevie to come on before Glasgow could find another gear and attack with some conviction.

Finally, from a genuine supporters point of view, not a good use of a day to spend a lot of money taking your family to watch less than half the team play.

Posted by johnny on January 9, 2006 03:33 PM | Reply to this comment

Think your criticism of Henderson is out of order. Can only remember him getting the ball twice. The first of which he made very good yardage with about 4 men on his back, the second of which he straightened when there was men outside but there was no sign of an overlap and the ball was constantly going from side to side with no effect. Can understand your frustrations in the sense that it was a poor performance, I thought in general the backline got very little ball, and most of it they got on the backfoot, with slow ball. I don't understand you saying the backline didn't try becauase that was not the case.

Posted by ballinj on January 2, 2006 12:40 PM | Reply to this comment

Have to agree - it is embarassing at times watching Glasgow play. On Saturday 3/4 of the team could of done with looking up the meaning of professionalism. It is not good enough to turn up with 20 minutes to go and the game practically lost.

The most telling criticism of Glasgow on Saturday is that BOrders were poor and yet won the game at a canter.

What makes it worse is that the derby games are in effect trials for the international team. Yet neither team made any effort or even looked interested. Hadden will be wholely justified if he selects the entire Scotland squad from just exiles and Edinburgh on the basis of that performance.

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