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MIGHTY HUGO DOWNS GLASGOW

Edinburgh Rugby: 18: Glasgow: 12



After Christmas bonhomie comes what used to be called the New Year sales. It is, of course, the season when elderly Morningside matrons can often be seen tussling viciously in the Jenners sale over a particularly desirable item that has been dramatically reduced in price. The language can be as blue as their hairstyles, unsportsmanlike use of the elbow is common, and general skulduggery is not unknown. Glasgow started this afternoon's match in similar aggressive vein, with Howarth slotting a penalty on three minutes after useful visiting pressure in the home 22 from the off.

In the early stages, the Lamont brothers showed that they are not only able to pronounce their surname properly - none of your faux French nonsense for them - but they can also run fast and hard. The Gunners back three had to look lively to keep them from bursting through on several occasions, and only a Hogg-Jacobsen double team halted a dangerous Shaw break after good work by one of the twins.

On the quarter hour, nice interplay by Lee and Hugo saw the Gunners threaten. Then a fabulous Gunner maul - the first of many - rumbled its way from half way to the Glasgow 22. The ball was spun to the other wing, but Lee's clever chip ran just too far. Laney made the pressure count, though, with a penalty for offside a minute later to tie the score.

Although it may seem a little odd in a first half that yielded a total of six points, the following scoreless quarter decided the game. On 25 minutes, Ali Kellock was perhaps slightly unfortunate to be adjudged to have impeded a supporting runner as Lamont (Rory) was threatening the home line. He was slightly more unfortunate to be on the receiving end of the first card of the game for his trouble. But superb Gunner defence at the succeeding maul off the five metre lineout forced the Glasgow knock on. With Glasgow keeping the pressure on, the Edinburgh 7 not only stood firm, but in fact got the nudge on in a succession of defensive scrummages.

Then Lee could have had few complaints as he too was carded on the half hour as he came in from the side of a ruck, leaving the Gunners with thirteen men on the park. But still Glasgow did not have the guile to break the home defence down, with the Edinburgh pack, Hugo, and The Grim Reaper Di Rollo snuffing out every attack in a period of excellent aggressive defence. Indeed, the latter two characters also sparked a fine attacking movement that saw Laney only just wide with a clever dropped goal attempt as Kellock returned to the fray.

And the Gunners ended the half on the offensive, with an excellent Laney break slicing through the cover on the left wing, well supported by the skipper and Callam. There seemed to be Glasgow infringements on the floor at the breakdown in a dangerous position, but the referee saw nothing wrong and blew for half-time.

Legendary yet cuddly stag, Flinty, did his bit for the home effort as he comprehensively whipped his armed Hughenden counterpart in the interval trial of rugby skill. Yet while Lee also returned after the break, it was very much déjà vu in the opening minutes of the second period, as some excellent Glasgow passing out of the tackle saw the Warriors into the home 22, where Howarth booted another simple penalty.

But it was Hugo who gave the Gunners the lead for the first time ten minutes later. From a scrum, the ball was spun quickly across to the other wing for Hugo to take the ball at pace. He crashed over the line for the unconverted try with a Lamont hanging on for dear life. Although he took a knock in the process, he was quickly back in working order, in time to hear the increasingly popular, strangely haunting local chant of "Huuuuugo-o" echo round the national stadium.

And the man with the tan was back on the attack shortly afterwards, again kicking cleverly behind the home defence to set up good field position. Just before the hour, a refereeing interpretation could have proved critical to the outcome of this important game. A clever Laney grubber made its way over the Glasgow tryline. Blair surged up the left wing at pace in hot pursuit, until he was baulked by Rory Lamont, then tackled without the ball by the wrong-footed Shaw when a try would surely have been scored.

Several thousand refereeing assessors of a black and red persuasion suggested that a penalty try should be awarded. Referee Pearson and his touch judges, however, disagreed and awarded a defensive drop out instead. Various observers were heard to remark sagely that they had "seen them given".

As is often the way of these things, Glasgow marched upfield straightaway for a Howarth penalty to regain the lead.

Happily, the lead was not to last long. The Gunners took control of proceedings, and on 72 minutes, good scrum ball was again whipped along the line at halfway. Hugo made good ground, then chipped behind the defence. While the visiting back three dithered, the alert Jackie Joiner was on hand to pounce for the try, converted by the increasingly blonde Godman, who had an authoritative spell after replacing the injured Laney on the hour.

And the Gunners sensibly made Glasgow play the game in their own half for a spell, before a super Blackadder interception saw Hugo surge into the visiting 22 once more. Donny Macfadyen had shown his class throughout the game with his undercover work at the breakdown, but this time he was spotted coming into the ruck from the side and was carded, Godman finishing the game with a penalty.

All that remained was for substitute parks to secure the losers' bonus point by kicking a penalty with the last kick of the game, leaving Edinburgh the deserved victors in a real "8 pointer". Tonight's victory will mean nothing, though, if the Gunners don't come away from Galashiels with a win on Hogmanay afternoon. Past years have seen a superb travelling support make the short trip to the Borders, and the lads will be looking for the same from you again.

MALMAISON MAN OF THE MATCH

HUGO. What more is there to say?

SCORERS:

EDINBURGH; Laney 1P, Godman 1C 1P, Hugo 1T, Joiner 1T

GLASGOW: Howarth 3P Parks 1P

TEAMS:

Edinburgh: D Lee; C Joiner, M Di Rollo, P Boston, Hugo; B Laney, M Blair; A Jacobsen, D Hall, C Smith, A Kellock, S Murray or F Pringle, T Blackadder (capt), A Hogg, D Callam. Replacements: A Kelly, A Dickinson, A Strokosch, A Macdonald, R Lawson, P Godman, B MacDougall.

Glasgow: C Shaw; R Lamont, G Morrison, A Henderson, S Lamont; C Howarth, G Beveridge; K Tkachuk, G Bulloch, L Harrison, A Hall, D Turner, A Wilson, D Macfadyen, J Petrie (capt). Replacements: S Lawson, A Kelly, J Beardshaw, J Beattie, S Pinder, D Parks, G Maclure.

Referee: Don't get me started.