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September 05, 2004

Connacht 31 - 15 Glasgow Warriors

Celtic League match played at Galway Sportsground on Saturday September 4th 2004 | 2 comments

Dan Parks went over for Glasgow's second try (Photo by J Thomson)
You wouldn't be sure whether to celebrate wildly when you win with the lamb's share of possession, or to be concerned that the lion's share of it produced any number of try-scoring chances for the opposition.

On another day it could have been different, and Glasgow will be targeting that day as 17 December in Hughenden. For the re-match, Glasgow will be steaming. They left a truckload of points behind them, not because of weak running or wayward goal kicking, but through an apparent obsession with spoiling their own good work.

They just kept dropping the ball. Which made for a strangely lopsided scoreline in favour of the home side who got the bonus. Connacht defended well when it was really needed, but not that well.

This was the first competitive run for some of the new faces in the Connacht side and despite the points haul by Australian Paul Warwick it was his partner, Tom Tierney, who had more to be pleased about. He did nothing special but when you're trying to relaunch your career it helps to start with the basics, and his passing was consistently good. Elsewhere James Downey had a good game at inside centre, complementing the physical stuff with a well executed set-up for Matt Mostyn's important try early in the second half.

It was just as well Connacht got that start to the second period; indeed it was a repeat of the opening minutes of the match. Warwick had an early opportunity for three points only to pull the kick badly from the left of the posts. When he was handed another chance a couple of minutes later he opted to punt to touch for what has become a standard Connacht play, featuring the close-in finishing skills of flanker Matt Lacey. John Fogarty floated the lineout to the tail where John O'Sullivan collected and from the maul Lacey smuggled his way over.

Warwick succeeded with the conversion for a seven point lead, which was a good return just seven minutes into the game. It should have settled him a bit too as he doesn't look the most comfortable kicker to wear the No.10 jersey. Midway through the second half for example, with Connacht effecting another escape, he failed to find safety with a penalty to touch, inviting yet another Glasgow attack. Connacht had to make enough tackles as it was.

Glasgow's response to that Lacey try saw them use well the strong running of second rows Joe Beardshaw and Andrew Hall and it gave then good ground. In that first half the Scots were also adept at opening up Connacht through the middle of the field where Andrew Henderson at outside centre was doing plenty of damage.

It could have been fatal had their finishing been as good as their approach work. Regularly they were able to free quick ball going forward only to put it down in the Connacht 22. While a late lapse before the break allowed Kenny Logan to get in for a try, leaving the scores 14-8 at the break, for coach Hugh Campbell it must have been maddening.

The nadir would come in the final minute of the match when a quick interchange of passes saw replacement Graeme Beveridge get over in the corner for what seemed a certain try. It was a bit late to affect the outcome but every bit helps. Then Ted Robinson somehow managed to get underneath him whereupon Beveridge spilled the ball forward. They looked relieved when referee Phil Fear blew for the last time.

By then Connacht were nearly double scores ahead. Mostyn's strike in the second half stretched a half time lead of 14-8 to 21-8. Andy Park pulled back seven points

When he sliced through the cover on the hour mark, but a few minutes earlier captain Kevin Tkachuk had spilled on the line and it was all getting to the Glasgow players. Instead of closing the gap further they handed another three points to Warwick, when Rory Kerr was penalised for not releasing, and then John Fogarty killed the contest, when he got over from a maul.

It looked comprehensive on the scoreboard but was anything but. The good news for Connacht is that they will have more of the ball to play with. It remains to be seen if they can translate it proportionately.

Report by Brendan Fanning of The Scotsman

Referee P Fear (Wales)
Kevin Tkachuk
Gordon Bulloch
Lee Harrison
Joe Beardshaw
Andy Hall
Paul Dearlove
Donnie Macfadyen
Jon Petrie
Sam Pinder
Dan Parks
Kenny Logan
Scott Barrow
Andrew Henderson
Sean Lamont
Rory Kerr
Scott Lawson
Andrew Kelly
Dan Turner
Andy Wilson
Graeme Beveridge
Calvin Howarth
Graeme Morrison
Match Substitutions
Off On
Scott Barrow Graeme Morrison
Off On
Dan Parks Calvin Howarth
Off On
Sam Pinder Graeme Beveridge
Off On
Lee Harrison Andrew Kelly
Off On
Joe Beardshaw Dan Turner
Off On
Paul Dearlove Andy Wilson
Off On
Gordon Bulloch Scott Lawson
Kenny Logan Try 
Dan Parks Try 
Dan Parks Conversion
Dan Parks Penalty
Posted by Vicki on September 5, 2004 01:06 PM | Reply to this comment

How frustrating! The boys' performance was much improved on last week, with some great runs from Pinder, Logan and the rest of the backs. The line out was also improved. Basically, it was a case of white line fever - the match could have been stitched up in the first half, but the points just weren't scored.

After the game, the players who spoke to the travelling fans seemed realy disappointed, and couldn't believe they had let the result slip through their fingers.

They now need to focus on converting the pressure they put other teams under, and on their own lines, into tries, and well deserved points!
Well done to Kenny on his first try for Glasgow Rugby since his return!

Posted by jenni on September 5, 2004 01:13 PM | Reply to this comment

The result did not reflect the day!

The boys just didn't manage to convert pressure into points on the board. Camping on the Connacht 22 for prolonged periods failed to bring about tries as the Irish scrambling defence was great, and the Glasgow players let their frustrations get the better of them. Some fantastic individual breaks, but sadly a lack of support didn't help. When we iron out these mistakes I hope this team will give us something to cheer about!

Don't let the critics get you down !

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