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December 27, 2003

Glasgow Warriors 16 - 25 Edinburgh

Celtic League match played at Hughenden on Saturday December 27th 2003 | No comments
There are some who will see this result as the biggest daylight robbery since Brinks Mat, and certainly Edinburgh had to play at least four get-out-of-jail-free cards to collect the winning points from this Celtic League encounter.

But one inescapable fact emerged at the end of an enthralling encounter played in front of a crowd of close to 4,500 at Hughenden... that the visitors have developed something close to a winning habit. Glasgow, as their head coach Hugh Campbell would be first to acknowledge, have yet to discover this happy trait and could never find a killer blow when it was needed. This, even more than some inconsistent refereeing from Iain Ramage which enraged both coaches, has to be the reason Glasgow are still waiting for a first Celtic League win since October.

But they could, and should, have won this one. Campbell was later to reveal that he had based his game-plan on the tactics that gave Ulster the Celtic Cup against the same opposition at Murrayfield last Saturday, and stand-off Dan Parks did give a serviceable imitation of that province’s David Humphreys as he put the ball behind Edinburgh for the Glasgow chasers. At times, as against Ulster, Edinburgh looked flustered, and only reasserted themselves after half-time when they were looking at a 16-6 deficit. And Glasgow could claim to have scored one of the best tries by a Scottish side in recent times when man-of-the-match Andy Hall rose to pluck Parks’s lofted kick out of the straining hands of Craig Joiner with 12 minutes gone.

It is no exaggeration to say that both Hall and second-row partner Nathan Ross gave Nathan Hines and Scott Murray as uncomfortable an afternoon as they will have ever had, Murray’s frustration at this effrontery boiling over into a punch on Ross’s replacement Joe Beardshaw that earned the Scotland lock a yellow card.

Glasgow’s chances of causing an upset took a dent after nine minutes when Brendan Laney stepped back from a ruck inside the home 22 and dropped a neat goal. If Glasgow were fazed by this, they certainly did not show it, replying with a

fabulous try when Graeme Morrison broke straight through the Edinburgh midfield after a line-out won by Hall. The big centre’s strength took him through two cover tackles to within a yard and although Craig Smith kept out Mather’s initial drive, when the ball was released to Parks the stand-off hoisted a superb kick to the corner where Joiner found both Gordon Bulloch and the ubiquitous Hall steaming up and it was the big lock who rose to take the catch and the touchdown. When Parks converted from the touchline, Glasgow were 7-3 ahead.

Laney and Parks exchanged penalties, but although only 10-6 behind Edinburgh appeared close to disarray with even Simon Taylor dropping passes in open play. Nor did the visitors help themselves with constant backchat at Ramage, a serious piece of folly, as anyone who has watched this official down the years will testify.

At least we were seeing some fine open rugby, the highlight of which was a searing break from Glasgow scrum-half Graeme Beveridge which should have brought a try for Gareth MacLure, but Graeme Burns somehow held the wing up over the line.

Glasgow, however, had their tails up and when Murray held Beveridge back at a breakdown Parks increased the lead to 13-6 and followed that penalty by "doing a Jonny" on the stroke of half-time, dropping a sweet goal when Laney spilled the ball in midfield, and the Glasgow pack arrived en masse to turn the ball over.

One minute into the second period, Ramage made his mark on the match, yellow-carding the Glasgow openside Donnie MacFadyen for handling in a ruck. Laney kicked his second penalty and although Edinburgh were to lose centre Ali Dickson, Hugo Southwell almost got over in the corner and was only stopped by a fantastic cover tackle from Lamont.

After a prolonged spell of pressure, Laney put Tom Philip straight through a gap to touch down under the posts to make the score 16-13. Then came the game’s third yellow card, Mather having been deemed to have killed the ball and the rest of the game belonged to Laney - and Ramage - the Edinburgh stand-off being handed the opportunity to kick three more penalties, punctuated by a scrambled drop goal.

Report by Jeff Connor from Scotland on Sunday

Referee I Ramage (SCO)
Attendance 4,500
Man of the Match Andy Hall
Euan Murray
Gordon Bulloch
Lee Harrison
Andy Hall
Nathan Ross
Cammy Mather
Donnie Macfadyen
Jon Petrie
Graeme Beveridge
Dan Parks
Sean Lamont
Andrew Henderson
Graeme Morrison
Gareth Maclure
Stuart Moffat
Rory Kerr
Sam Pinder
Roly Reid
Joe Beardshaw
Andrew Kelly
Scott Lawson
Calvin Howarth
Match Substitutions
Off On
Lee Harrison Andrew Kelly
Off On
Nathan Ross Joe Beardshaw
Off On
Donnie Macfadyen Roly Reid
Off On
Graeme Beveridge Sam Pinder
Andy Hall Try 
Dan Parks Conversion
Dan Parks Penalty
Dan Parks Penalty
Dan Parks Drop

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