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Edinburgh: 29 (7) Glasgow Warriors: 19 (7)

Every morning, I remove my works laptop from its case to meet the challenge of the day to come.  A few weeks back, I got a new laptop sleeve.  Designed by Berwick's answer to Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn - Cammy Black of that venerable rugby institution, the Scottish Rugby Blog - it depicts a beaming Mr Darcy Graham, sitting atop two vanquished English defenders during that astonishing Calcutta Cup draw at Twickenham earlier this year.  The result and the opponents are neither here nor there.  What I remember from that match is how both sides played scintillating rugby, scoring some brilliant tries, while also showing the grit to come back from seemingly impossible deficits.

Then and this evening, The Prince of Hawick personified these qualities.  He scored two fabulous tries against the Warriors.  But he also put himself about more than a bit in defence.  In the first half, I saw The Ginger Ninja, Rob Harley, seek out and run full pelt at the diminutive winger.  Both times, the tiny man with the massive heart cut down the big bully with textbook tackles.  That combination of defensive solidity and panache in attack saw the Gunners prevail with a four try, bonus point win in the second leg of the 1872.  The victory sets up the final Inter-City, at BT Murrayfield at the end of the season, perfectly.  And they are now only one point shy of PRO14 Conference B leaders Munster.

The Prince could quite easily have had the Man of the Match award.  But so could plenty other Embramen, and a few Glasgow boys too.  Matt Scott could have been rewarded for his direct running from second five-eighth, including a powerful burst that was only denied a score by an astonishing bit of scramble defence by Ruaridh Jackson.  And that was following up an impressive display from George Taylor, who he replaced.  Duhan van der Merwe's rampages off his wing did so much to create opportunities for others.  Both 'Denis' Hickey and 'Piet' van de Walt shone at first five-eighth. In the back row, future Scotland captain Jamie (T) Ritchie put himself about a bit - legally and sometimes illegally - to great effect; Hamish Watson was at his piratical best at the breakdown; Bill Mata broke the line most times he took the ball up and his sublime offload created Mr Darcy's first try.  The Toolis/Gilcho boilerhouse edged the confrontation with their opposite numbers.

But Pierre Schoeman richly deserved the award, an accolade that personified the difference between this week and last.  Then, it was a bravura performance from Zander Fagerson in tight and loose that won it for the Glasgow men.  This time, it was the Embra loosehead whose display was crucial in setting the platform for the victory.  And he would have crowned it with a second half try, had Jonny Gray not taken down an Edinburgh maul as it was heading linewards on 70 minutes.  But the penalty try that resulted, and Gray's carding, essentially swung the match decisively the Gunners' way.  Graham's late try added the icing on the cake, as well as earning a bonus point and depriving the Warriors of the losing bonus.

For Glasgow, their pack showed plenty of dog and a shiver ran through the spines of the massed Embra tifosi any time their backs had ball in space.  Frankly, I do not understand Adam Hastings' detractors.  This young man is shaping up very nicely at 10 and had some pleasing touches this evening. His injury-enforced departure was a huge blow to their hopes of victory.  Edinburgh-bound Huw Jones looks to be coming back to his imperious best, his try a thing of beauty.  Naturally, George Horne scored a try because, well, that's just what the wee scamp always does.

I thought last week's encounter at Scotstoun was a superb match with Glasgow deserved winners; I thought this week was more of the same, and the better side on the night won again. A record crowd of over 27,000 souls were in attendance at BT Murrayfield.  And they generated a fair bit of noise.  

Glasgow seemed to have the upper hand early on, with Jones looking dangerous, but both sides were probing in attack with some ambition.  It looked like this one might be more open than last week's.  Hastings missed the first scoring opportunity, on nine minutes, with a mis-hit attempt on goal from an Edinburgh penalty.  The Gunners stood tall in defence at the end of the first quarter, calm in defence as the Warriors tried to maul an attacking lineout over.

The Warriors' lineout mis-fired early on and the Embramen's first score came from it.  They plundered Glasgow ball on their own 22 and Duhan van der Merwe broke out, running roud, over and away from would-be tacklers to deep in enemy territory.  The ball was moved quickly right where the galloping Bill Mata flipped an offload that was almost - but not quite - as good as That Offload to wee Jimmy last term in Toulon, this time to Mr Darcy.  The Prince scooted away, stepping round the tackle attempt by Tagive to touch down under the posts.  7-0 Embra after Hickey added the extras. 

The lead did not last long, mind.  While 'Big' Ben Toolis stole another Glasgow lineout ball in defence, Jones was on the scoreboard a few minutes later.  This time, after a few tight phases had drawn the cover in, the ball was shipped right.  Off a cute pop pass from Jacko, the classy centre breezed through a gap in the line then bamboozled Blairhorn to cross to tie the match at seven apiece.

I remember at the time looking at the big screen and being startled to see someone who looked suspiciously like Sam Johnson, Europe's best back on current form according to some, packing down on the flank as Glasgow had the put-in to a defensive scrummage five metres out from their own line.  Subsequent research indicates that was indeed the case.  Harley was standing among the backs, ready to take the ball up to set up an exit, no doubt.  Cute, I grant you.  But given what Schoeman and co did to the Warriors' scrummage later in the match, maybe they would have been better off concentrating on the day job.  Just a thought.

Anyway, the remainder of the half was dominated by two suffocating defences.  Both sides had their moments in attack, but just could not break down the other side.  The ferocity of the encounter was exemplified by a body count that made BT Murrayfield look like a particularly melodramatic episode of 'Casualty'.  Both Stuart 'Rambo' McInally and George Taylor withdrew injured before the break.

Shortly after the resumption, Fagerson was pinged at the breakdown and Hickey nudged the home side ahead with a penalty.  This was shapping up to be a tight game, so taking the points on offer was a sensible move. 

Ritchie was penalised for a no arms tackle in defence and the Warriors kicked to the corner.  This time, they just about won their own lineout and set up the phases.  Scott Cummings then powered over at pace, Hastings' conversion putting the visitors 14-10 up.

In this see-saw match, it then looked like Scott must have scored running a great line off Ritchie that saw him head towards the posts from some distance, surrounded by would-be tacklers.  At the time, he seemed to me to be tackled high, then to be prevented from touching the ball against the post protector, but in fact both were perfectly legal.  And the Gunners did still have an attacking scrummage.  They had the Glasgow pack under huge pressure then Mata broke from the back of the advancing scrum.  It took three defenders to haul him down just short, which only opened up the gap for veteran half back Pyrgos to scoot through to regain the lead with the Gunners' second try.  17-14 Edinburgh as both Hickey and Hastings departed.

The Warriors' response was immediate.  They marched down into the Edinburgh red zone, pummeling the line repeatedly before diminutive try poacher extraordinaire George Horne reached over to notch his legally mandated try of the match with just over 10 minutes left to run in this thriller.  17-19 Glasgow after Jacko's failed conversion.  Plenty of time for the Embramen to snatch this one, but only if they kept their nerve.

Once again, it was Matt Scott who set the platform with another superb break that took the Gunners deep into Glasgow territory. The Warriors coughed up a penalty.  A successful kick would have regained the lead, but The King kicked to the corner instead.

That's ballsy.

And it proved to be the correct call.  They won the lineout and drove the maul inexorably goalwards.  It would have corssed - and Schoeman would have scored - had it not been for Gray's infringement.  Penalty try, yellow card and a 24-19 Edinburgh lead with the clock ticking down.

The final act in this dramatic match saw replacement centre Nick Grigg lose possession in attack.  Nico Matawalu did gather, but was then stripped of the ball by van de Walt.  The playmaker saw the space on the right wing and sent a great pass to Scott, who released Bennett on a trademark high speed run.  The centre committed his man beautifully to put Mr Darcy away, speeding up his wing around the Glasgow 10 metre line.  He skinned DTH and the cover defence to bring home the bonus point with a try that was, if anything, even better than his first.

The match ended 29-19.  The Embramen had proven that - as Richard 'Cockers' Cockerill sagely observed after no-side - they're a bit more than a kick-chase team.  A great end to the old year, heralding good things for the new.