Four-Try Bonus Point Less Than Glasgow Deserved

Llanelli Scarlets 36, Glasgow 26So near, yet so far away. Glasgow matched Llanelli Scarlets in so much on this balmy evening at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, but all they came away with was a Celtic League bonus point for four tries.As a result, it will go into the mash of statistics as a defeat. As a performance of rugby, it will live long in the memory.Sean Lamont, Sam Pinder, Andrew Henderson, and David Millard scored the Glasgow tries. Lamont's was a beauty of individualism drawing others into liaison. Pinder's was a true solo score, and Millard's was the epitome of opportunism allied to pace. It was the final touch to what could well be the introduction to a new career as a centre.Gaining a bonus point kept Glasgow four points clear of the Borders in the contest to join Edinburgh as Scotland's Heineken Cup representatives next season. That margin has to be maintained or extended in Glasgow's two remaining games this season - against Edinburgh at Meadowbank on Friday, and against Ospreys at home at Hughenden a week later.Going into that finale, Glasgow may have depleted propping resources, adding to the absence of Lee Harrison and Euan Murray this evening. Andrew Kelly sustained a long, deep wound on a leg late in the second half here, an injury that required hospital treatment.For two minutes tonight, all so briefly, Glasgow held the lead at 14-13 midway in the first half. Until well into the final quarter they were no more than seven points adrift - the range which, as a final margin, would have been qualified as narrow-defeat bonus point.All that was a measure of how well Glasgow competed throughout the match. They gave as much as Llanelli to an enthralling, entertaining contest.Sadly, however, the referee, Donal Courtney, was not on the same wavelength. His inconsistency was totally unacceptable in a match official at this level, and too often the imbalance in his game went against Glasgow. It was beyond credibility that this was a man who had refereed international rugby.As early as the first minute Glasgow were caught on the referee's wrong side. Llanelli used Salesi Finau as a stand-off battering ram off lineout ball to charge at Dan Parks, and at the ensuing ruck Glasgow were penalised for killing the ball. Parks, captaining Glasgow for the first time, seemed to complain that Finau had used a short-arm "hand-off," and the referee - rightly refusing to accept questioning of a decision - added 10 metres to the penalty. Stephen Jones kicked the goal.Thereafter Finau seemed intent on taking Parks out, regardless of whether either of them had possession of the ball. However, the Llanelli wing's most severe damage on Glasgow was when he denied Rory Kerr in the right corner. The injured Kerr had to be replaced by Glenn Metcalfe.Glasgow's response to Llanelli's opening penalty goal was for Parks to fire a couple of long passes for the wide game that was to typify Glasgow's rugby. Lamont attacked the left flank, and from a quick switch Stuart Moffat sent Kerr almost to the line, and Jones was penalised for going into the maul there from the side. It was there that Kerr was injured.Glasgow opted for a corner lineout instead of going for goal, but nothing came from it. Instead, Llanelli hammered away at the other end for Chris Wyatt eventually to finish off with a try between the posts. Jones converted.Glasgow were 10 points down after as many minutes, and they were also forced into that personnel change - Metcalfe for the injured Kerr. But Glasgow's response was swift. Lamont was instigator and finisher. He gathered loose ball at halfway and weaved his way deep into the Llanelli ground, and with vital help from Pinder and Matt Proudfoot, the wing finished off between the posts. Parks converted.Jones kicked another penalty goal midway in the first half, and when Parks, attempting to reply in kind, struck a post it seemed that fortune still would not favour Glasgow. But Henderson's follow-up pinned Llanelli to their line, and Pinder sliced the blind side for a try that Parks converted from well out on the left. Glasgow led 14-13 after 24 minutes.But within two minutes Llanelli had regained the lead with a try by David Hodges. That left the interval score at 18-14 to Llanelli, who stretched the margin by 10 points in as many minutes into the second half. Jones kicked a third penalty goal, and despite a Llanelli scrummage that turned well over 90 degrees Dwayne Peel ran through for a try that Jones converted.However much Glasgow were aggrieved that the referee accepted that twisted scrum, they still came back. Pinder broke up the right with an exchange with Moffat, Paul Dearlove was denied on a drive to the posts, and Henderson finished off with a try that Parks converted.Fate was to turn against Glasgow again. Andrew Hall was sin-binned, seemingly ruled as offside in denying Llanelli clear access to ruck possession. But the ball was clearly out of the ruck when Hall came round the side.Courtney may have had a lapse of memory in allowing a scrummage to turn more than 90 degrees before Peel's try. But he remembered that law when he ordered a reset scrum against Glasgow about 25 metres out. Glasgow were penalised there, and Peel ran away into the corner for his second try. It was frustrating that Hall's 10 minutes in the sin-bin ended immediately after that score.Gareth Bowen, stand-off replacement for Jones, added a penalty goal that stretched Llanelli's lead to 36-21. It seemed a margin too much from which Glasgow might claw back a narrow-defeat bonus point. But the other option was still within range, and Millard found the means when he hacked ahead from loose ball around halfway. He won the race, gathered the bounce close to the line, and dive over.It was a fourth try. Glasgow had a bonus point.How different it might have been if Glasgow had not suffered outrageous misfortune in the referee's sub-standard performance! Would Llanelli have scored as many as four tries, matching the Glasgow tally?That is not a comment squeezed from sour grapes. Please consider a few of the facts. The detail of Hall's unacceptable sin-binning is listed above. So is the inconsistency in the interpretation of the 'twisted scrum" law.Also, the "playing the ball on the ground" law too often went against Glasgow. Worst of all, however, was the referee's reaction when Henderson, chasing through on the restart from the Hodges try, misjudged the ball's flight and collided with Chris Wyatt. A penalty against the Glasgow centre would have been acceptable. But a couple of Llanelli players took exception to what Henderson had done, and several punches had been swung at the centre before he tried to hit back.Courtney spoke to Llanelli players and Henderson. But the penalty against the Glasgow centre remained. It was a statement that, with impunity, those Llanelli players could take the law into their own hands. That was totally unacceptable.Llanelli Scarlets - Barry Davies; Garan Evans, Mark Taylor, Tal Selley, Salesi Finau; Stephen Jones, Dwayne Peel; Iestyn Thomas, Robin McBryde, Jon Thiel, Adam Jones, Chris Wyatt, Simon Easterby (captain), David Hodges, Ian Boobyer. Substitutes - Scott Quinnell for Boobyer (half-time), Matthew Watkins for Taylor (half-time), Gareth Bowen for Jones (69 minutes), John Davies for Thiel (73), Dale Burn for Peel (73), Aled Gravelle for McBryde (74), Bryn Griffiths for Cooper (74).Tries, Peel (2), Wyatt, Hodges; conversions, Jones (2); penalty goals, Jones (3), Bowen.Glasgow - Stuart Moffat; Rory Kerr, David Millard, Andrew Henderson, Sean Lamont; Dan Parks (captain), Sam Pinder; Andrew Kelly, Scott Lawson, Matt Proudfoot, Joe Beardshaw, Andrew Hall, Andrew Wilson, Paul Dearlove, Donnie Macfadyen. Substitutes - Glenn Metcalfe for Kerr (11), Roland Reid for Dearlove (32), Dearlove for Macfadyen (40), Macfadyen for Reid (half-time), Ben Prescott for Proudfoot (51), Reid for Wilson (65), Proudfoot for Kelly (70), Rory McKay for Beardshaw (70), Graeme Beveridge for Pinder (78), Calvin Howarth for Henderson (78).Tries, Lamont, Pinder, Henderson, Millard; conversions, Parks (3).Referee - Donal Courtney (Ireland).Report by Bill McMurtrieLlanelli Scarlets 36, Glasgow 26So near, yet so far away. Glasgow matched Llanelli Scarlets in so much on this balmy evening at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, but all they came away with was a Celtic League bonus point for four tries.As a result, it will go into the mash of statistics as a defeat. As a performance of rugby, it will live long in the memory.Sean Lamont, Sam Pinder, Andrew Henderson, and David Millard scored the Glasgow tries. Lamont's was a beauty of individualism drawing others into liaison. Pinder's was a true solo score, and Millard's was the epitome of opportunism allied to pace. It was the final touch to what could well be the introduction to a new career as a centre.Gaining a bonus point kept Glasgow four points clear of the Borders in the contest to join Edinburgh as Scotland's Heineken Cup representatives next season. That margin has to be maintained or extended in Glasgow's two remaining games this season - against Edinburgh at Meadowbank on Friday, and against Ospreys at home at Hughenden a week later.Going into that finale, Glasgow may have depleted propping resources, adding to the absence of Lee Harrison and Euan Murray this evening. Andrew Kelly sustained a long, deep wound on a leg late in the second half here, an injury that required hospital treatment.For two minutes tonight, all so briefly, Glasgow held the lead at 14-13 midway in the first half. Until well into the final quarter they were no more than seven points adrift - the range which, as a final margin, would have been qualified as narrow-defeat bonus point.All that was a measure of how well Glasgow competed throughout the match. They gave as much as Llanelli to an enthralling, entertaining contest.Sadly, however, the referee, Donal Courtney, was not on the same wavelength. His inconsistency was totally unacceptable in a match official at this level, and too often the imbalance in his game went against Glasgow. It was beyond credibility that this was a man who had refereed international rugby.As early as the first minute Glasgow were caught on the referee's wrong side. Llanelli used Salesi Finau as a stand-off battering ram off lineout ball to charge at Dan Parks, and at the ensuing ruck Glasgow were penalised for killing the ball. Parks, captaining Glasgow for the first time, seemed to complain that Finau had used a short-arm "hand-off," and the referee - rightly refusing to accept questioning of a decision - added 10 metres to the penalty. Stephen Jones kicked the goal.Thereafter Finau seemed intent on taking Parks out, regardless of whether either of them had possession of the ball. However, the Llanelli wing's most severe damage on Glasgow was when he denied Rory Kerr in the right corner. The injured Kerr had to be replaced by Glenn Metcalfe.Glasgow's response to Llanelli's opening penalty goal was for Parks to fire a couple of long passes for the wide game that was to typify Glasgow's rugby. Lamont attacked the left flank, and from a quick switch Stuart Moffat sent Kerr almost to the line, and Jones was penalised for going into the maul there from the side. It was there that Kerr was injured.Glasgow opted for a corner lineout instead of going for goal, but nothing came from it. Instead, Llanelli hammered away at the other end for Chris Wyatt eventually to finish off with a try between the posts. Jones converted.Glasgow were 10 points down after as many minutes, and they were also forced into that personnel change - Metcalfe for the injured Kerr. But Glasgow's response was swift. Lamont was instigator and finisher. He gathered loose ball at halfway and weaved his way deep into the Llanelli ground, and with vital help from Pinder and Matt Proudfoot, the wing finished off between the posts. Parks converted.Jones kicked another penalty goal midway in the first half, and when Parks, attempting to reply in kind, struck a post it seemed that fortune still would not favour Glasgow. But Henderson's follow-up pinned Llanelli to their line, and Pinder sliced the blind side for a try that Parks converted from well out on the left. Glasgow led 14-13 after 24 minutes.But within two minutes Llanelli had regained the lead with a try by David Hodges. That left the interval score at 18-14 to Llanelli, who stretched the margin by 10 points in as many minutes into the second half. Jones kicked a third penalty goal, and despite a Llanelli scrummage that turned well over 90 degrees Dwayne Peel ran through for a try that Jones converted.However much Glasgow were aggrieved that the referee accepted that twisted scrum, they still came back. Pinder broke up the right with an exchange with Moffat, Paul Dearlove was denied on a drive to the posts, and Henderson finished off with a try that Parks converted.Fate was to turn against Glasgow again. Andrew Hall was sin-binned, seemingly ruled as offside in denying Llanelli clear access to ruck possession. But the ball was clearly out of the ruck when Hall came round the side.Courtney may have had a lapse of memory in allowing a scrummage to turn more than 90 degrees before Peel's try. But he remembered that law when he ordered a reset scrum against Glasgow about 25 metres out. Glasgow were penalised there, and Peel ran away into the corner for his second try. It was frustrating that Hall's 10 minutes in the sin-bin ended immediately after that score.Gareth Bowen, stand-off replacement for Jones, added a penalty goal that stretched Llanelli's lead to 36-21. It seemed a margin too much from which Glasgow might claw back a narrow-defeat bonus point. But the other option was still within range, and Millard found the means when he hacked ahead from loose ball around halfway. He won the race, gathered the bounce close to the line, and dive over.It was a fourth try. Glasgow had a bonus point.How different it might have been if Glasgow had not suffered outrageous misfortune in the referee's sub-standard performance! Would Llanelli have scored as many as four tries, matching the Glasgow tally?That is not a comment squeezed from sour grapes. Please consider a few of the facts. The detail of Hall's unacceptable sin-binning is listed above. So is the inconsistency in the interpretation of the 'twisted scrum" law.Also, the "playing the ball on the ground" law too often went against Glasgow. Worst of all, however, was the referee's reaction when Henderson, chasing through on the restart from the Hodges try, misjudged the ball's flight and collided with Chris Wyatt. A penalty against the Glasgow centre would have been acceptable. But a couple of Llanelli players took exception to what Henderson had done, and several punches had been swung at the centre before he tried to hit back.Courtney spoke to Llanelli players and Henderson. But the penalty against the Glasgow centre remained. It was a statement that, with impunity, those Llanelli players could take the law into their own hands. That was totally unacceptable.Llanelli Scarlets - Barry Davies; Garan Evans, Mark Taylor, Tal Selley, Salesi Finau; Stephen Jones, Dwayne Peel; Iestyn Thomas, Robin McBryde, Jon Thiel, Adam Jones, Chris Wyatt, Simon Easterby (captain), David Hodges, Ian Boobyer. Substitutes - Scott Quinnell for Boobyer (half-time), Matthew Watkins for Taylor (half-time), Gareth Bowen for Jones (69 minutes), John Davies for Thiel (73), Dale Burn for Peel (73), Aled Gravelle for McBryde (74), Bryn Griffiths for Cooper (74).Tries, Peel (2), Wyatt, Hodges; conversions, Jones (2); penalty goals, Jones (3), Bowen.Glasgow - Stuart Moffat; Rory Kerr, David Millard, Andrew Henderson, Sean Lamont; Dan Parks (captain), Sam Pinder; Andrew Kelly, Scott Lawson, Matt Proudfoot, Joe Beardshaw, Andrew Hall, Andrew Wilson, Paul Dearlove, Donnie Macfadyen. Substitutes - Glenn Metcalfe for Kerr (11), Roland Reid for Dearlove (32), Dearlove for Macfadyen (40), Macfadyen for Reid (half-time), Ben Prescott for Proudfoot (51), Reid for Wilson (65), Proudfoot for Kelly (70), Rory McKay for Beardshaw (70), Graeme Beveridge for Pinder (78), Calvin Howarth for Henderson (78).Tries, Lamont, Pinder, Henderson, Millard; conversions, Parks (3).Referee - Donal Courtney (Ireland).Report by Bill McMurtrie