Glasgow'S 28-Point Win Not Enough

Glasgow 33, Saracens 5 (aggregate - 39-42)Glasgow reached for the heavens tonight, and they almost touched the stars on a chilly Hughenden evening. But victory against Saracens by the handsome margin of 28 points was not quite enough to overturn the English club's 37-6 win in the Parker Pen Challenge Cup first-leg match at Watford five days ago.Saracens thus went through to the quarter-finals on a 42-39 aggregate. Their opponents will be decided on Sunday with Newcastle's visit to Montferrand.What a difference Glasgow made of those five days! Chalk and cheese, night and day, black and white, little and large, alpha and omega! To those opposites can be added Watford and Hughenden in January 2004.From the kick-off this evening Glasgow set about sharply answering those who had overloaded the criticism after Sunday's defeat. This was a Glasgow team eager to score 30 or more points, as they had already done twice against Montpellier last month in the first round of the European competition.Saracens went into the game without three international forwards, Taine Randell, Cobus Visagie, and Raphael Ibanez. But the absence of even such a talented triumvirate ought not to have made such a difference. It political election terms it was a swing of 59. Quite simply, for more than 90% of the game Glasgow did not allow Saracens to play. Here was commitment, composure (for most of the time), and control (for long phases).To fail to reach the magic margin of 32 points was no disgrace. Theirs was an outstanding performance, undoubtedly their best of the season, as Hugh Campbell, Glasgow's coach, acknowledged afterwards.He added that "lots of positives could be taken from the game. The players demonstrated they can play to a very high standard." It was a benchmark for the remaining half of their Celtic League programme.At half-time Glasgow led by only 13-5. It seemed hardly enough, especially when they had had so much of the pressure. But midway in second half thoughts were turning - at least off the field - to the possibility next weekend of a visit to France - or Tyneside.Glasgow laid down a marker earlier on. Gordon Bulloch set up ruck possession from which Andy Henderson broke through, and Cammy Mather carried on. It procured a penalty chance for Dan Parks, but he missed it.After 12 minutes, however, from Andy Hall's lineout take, Mather and Graeme Morrison made the crucial dents before Parks sent Henderson through for the opening try. Parks added the conversion from well out on the left, but soon afterwards, following Jon Petrie's thrust, the stand-off squandered a golden opportunity to cut loose, kicking ahead when a 5-2 overlap went begging.Glasgow's back three, though, made a clear statement of intent, with Gareth Maclure and Rory Kerr combining to send Sean Lamont close. But it was a Parks penalty goal that was the next score, midway in the first half, and just before the half-hour mark his forwards all but drove the stand-off over from fully 10 metres out. Glasgow were denied quick repossession by an illegal hand, Steven Sparks was sin-binned, and Parks kicked his second goal.But the prop's absence lifted the visitors to their best phase of the first half. They went close enough for Thomas Castaignede to attempt a penalty, which he missed, and Saracens" forwards then rumbled on deep into the home 22 before Morgan Williams pounced for a try.Such forward play, a mass of bodies spearing ahead, protecting the ball-carrier, like an elephant hauling a log, can look illegal. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. It is legal with opponents on contact in a maul: it is obstruction when opponents lay off unable to tackle the ball-carrier!Castaignede missed the conversion, and Williams then took his turn in the sin-bin. But in first-half added time Castaignede almost carve a try for himself on a long break that was denied by Gareth Maclure to close to the home goal-line for comfort.Only eight points ahead at half-time, Glasgow still had a lot to do, but nine minutes after the interval they had cut the aggregate margin back to 13 points. They needed two more major scores.A thrust by Sean Lamont up the left touchline created the position for Parks to kick his third penalty goal, and after Mather and Nathan Ross had paved the way Morrison sent Rory Kerr flying in for Glasgow's second try. Parks converted.With the final quarter approaching, Calvin Howarth replaced Parks, and the substitute stand-off was greeted with a toe-level pass from Graeme Beveridge. It could have landed Glasgow in bother, but Beveridge recovered to save.Howarth was nonplussed, as he proved when he converted a Mather try from tight on the left touchline. For that score Maclure made the initial thrust on the right, Ross committed the midfield, and the captain finished off with a determined run from fully 15 metres. No one was going to stop him.Glasgow's lead was up to 25 points, the aggregate margin was down to six. Glasgow still needed a converted try - a draw was no use to Glasgow as Saracens had the edge on the tie-breaking try-count.A long run by Richard Haughton drew out a saving tackle by Maclure. But Glasgow kept up the hunt, and they edged even closer to their target with another Howarth penalty goal. That, though, was a far as they could manage. As one of the Glasgow medics remarked, the Watford gap was too great.Glasgow - Rory Kerr; Gareth Maclure, Graeme Morrison, Andrew Henderson, Sean Lamont; Dan Parks, Graeme Beveridge; Euan Murray, Gordon Bulloch, Lee Harrison, Andrew Hall, Nathan Ross, Cameron Mather (captain), Jon Petrie, Donnie Macfadyen . Substitutes - Rory McKay for Ross (26-36 minutes), Calvin Howarth for Parks (57), Stuart Moffat for Morrison (70), McKay for Hall (72), Andrew Kelly for Harrison (76).Tries, Henderson, Kerr, Mather; conversions, Parks (2), Howarth; penalty goals, Parks (3), Howarth.Saracens - Richard Haughton; Denis Cech, Paul Bailey, Ben Johnston, Darragh O"Mahony; Thomas Castaignede, Morgan Williams; Steven Sparks, Robbie Russell, Ben Broster, Simon Raiwalui (captain), Alex Codling, Kris Chesney, Ben Skirving, Ben Russell. Substitutes - Ryan Peacey for Skirving (half-time), Nicky Little for Bailey (79).Try, Williams.Referee - Didier Mene (France).Attendance - 2645.Glasgow 33, Saracens 5 (aggregate - 39-42)Glasgow reached for the heavens tonight, and they almost touched the stars on a chilly Hughenden evening. But victory against Saracens by the handsome margin of 28 points was not quite enough to overturn the English club's 37-6 win in the Parker Pen Challenge Cup first-leg match at Watford five days ago.Saracens thus went through to the quarter-finals on a 42-39 aggregate. Their opponents will be decided on Sunday with Newcastle's visit to Montferrand.What a difference Glasgow made of those five days! Chalk and cheese, night and day, black and white, little and large, alpha and omega! To those opposites can be added Watford and Hughenden in January 2004.From the kick-off this evening Glasgow set about sharply answering those who had overloaded the criticism after Sunday's defeat. This was a Glasgow team eager to score 30 or more points, as they had already done twice against Montpellier last month in the first round of the European competition.Saracens went into the game without three international forwards, Taine Randell, Cobus Visagie, and Raphael Ibanez. But the absence of even such a talented triumvirate ought not to have made such a difference. It political election terms it was a swing of 59. Quite simply, for more than 90% of the game Glasgow did not allow Saracens to play. Here was commitment, composure (for most of the time), and control (for long phases).To fail to reach the magic margin of 32 points was no disgrace. Theirs was an outstanding performance, undoubtedly their best of the season, as Hugh Campbell, Glasgow's coach, acknowledged afterwards.He added that "lots of positives could be taken from the game. The players demonstrated they can play to a very high standard." It was a benchmark for the remaining half of their Celtic League programme.At half-time Glasgow led by only 13-5. It seemed hardly enough, especially when they had had so much of the pressure. But midway in second half thoughts were turning - at least off the field - to the possibility next weekend of a visit to France - or Tyneside.Glasgow laid down a marker earlier on. Gordon Bulloch set up ruck possession from which Andy Henderson broke through, and Cammy Mather carried on. It procured a penalty chance for Dan Parks, but he missed it.After 12 minutes, however, from Andy Hall's lineout take, Mather and Graeme Morrison made the crucial dents before Parks sent Henderson through for the opening try. Parks added the conversion from well out on the left, but soon afterwards, following Jon Petrie's thrust, the stand-off squandered a golden opportunity to cut loose, kicking ahead when a 5-2 overlap went begging.Glasgow's back three, though, made a clear statement of intent, with Gareth Maclure and Rory Kerr combining to send Sean Lamont close. But it was a Parks penalty goal that was the next score, midway in the first half, and just before the half-hour mark his forwards all but drove the stand-off over from fully 10 metres out. Glasgow were denied quick repossession by an illegal hand, Steven Sparks was sin-binned, and Parks kicked his second goal.But the prop's absence lifted the visitors to their best phase of the first half. They went close enough for Thomas Castaignede to attempt a penalty, which he missed, and Saracens" forwards then rumbled on deep into the home 22 before Morgan Williams pounced for a try.Such forward play, a mass of bodies spearing ahead, protecting the ball-carrier, like an elephant hauling a log, can look illegal. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. It is legal with opponents on contact in a maul: it is obstruction when opponents lay off unable to tackle the ball-carrier!Castaignede missed the conversion, and Williams then took his turn in the sin-bin. But in first-half added time Castaignede almost carve a try for himself on a long break that was denied by Gareth Maclure to close to the home goal-line for comfort.Only eight points ahead at half-time, Glasgow still had a lot to do, but nine minutes after the interval they had cut the aggregate margin back to 13 points. They needed two more major scores.A thrust by Sean Lamont up the left touchline created the position for Parks to kick his third penalty goal, and after Mather and Nathan Ross had paved the way Morrison sent Rory Kerr flying in for Glasgow's second try. Parks converted.With the final quarter approaching, Calvin Howarth replaced Parks, and the substitute stand-off was greeted with a toe-level pass from Graeme Beveridge. It could have landed Glasgow in bother, but Beveridge recovered to save.Howarth was nonplussed, as he proved when he converted a Mather try from tight on the left touchline. For that score Maclure made the initial thrust on the right, Ross committed the midfield, and the captain finished off with a determined run from fully 15 metres. No one was going to stop him.Glasgow's lead was up to 25 points, the aggregate margin was down to six. Glasgow still needed a converted try - a draw was no use to Glasgow as Saracens had the edge on the tie-breaking try-count.A long run by Richard Haughton drew out a saving tackle by Maclure. But Glasgow kept up the hunt, and they edged even closer to their target with another Howarth penalty goal. That, though, was a far as they could manage. As one of the Glasgow medics remarked, the Watford gap was too great.Glasgow - Rory Kerr; Gareth Maclure, Graeme Morrison, Andrew Henderson, Sean Lamont; Dan Parks, Graeme Beveridge; Euan Murray, Gordon Bulloch, Lee Harrison, Andrew Hall, Nathan Ross, Cameron Mather (captain), Jon Petrie, Donnie Macfadyen . Substitutes - Rory McKay for Ross (26-36 minutes), Calvin Howarth for Parks (57), Stuart Moffat for Morrison (70), McKay for Hall (72), Andrew Kelly for Harrison (76).Tries, Henderson, Kerr, Mather; conversions, Parks (2), Howarth; penalty goals, Parks (3), Howarth.Saracens - Richard Haughton; Denis Cech, Paul Bailey, Ben Johnston, Darragh O"Mahony; Thomas Castaignede, Morgan Williams; Steven Sparks, Robbie Russell, Ben Broster, Simon Raiwalui (captain), Alex Codling, Kris Chesney, Ben Skirving, Ben Russell. Substitutes - Ryan Peacey for Skirving (half-time), Nicky Little for Bailey (79).Try, Williams.Referee - Didier Mene (France).Attendance - 2645.