Friday, October 25, 2002

Work damn you
Glasgow 29 - Connacht 7

Wet. Really, really wet. Cranky had an umbrella and he's still soaked, his jeans weight is three times what they should be. It's been raining in Scotland for the last week, it had been raining today, it was.... wet, that's the only word I can use to describe the sheer amount of water coming from the sky. The pitch looked excellent though, full credit must go to the Hughenden ground staff for keeping the surface in such excellent condition despite such terrible weather.

Onto the game though. If you're short of time heres the summary:

Glasgow, Glasgow, Glasgow, Connacht, Glasgow, Glasgow, Halftime. Glasgow, Glasgow, Glasgow, Glasgow, Glasgow, Glasgow.

The first half was all Glasgow apart from one small blip where Connacht scored a try of a rolling maul after the ball squirted sideways out of it. Calvin Howarth however was having a terrible night with the boot. After stroking the first penalty for handling on the floor/offside he contrived to miss a further 3 very gettable, shots at goal before putting over his second. Then Connacht got their try and Cranky was worried that we were about to see Glasgow completely dominate the game only to lose due to poor kicking. However at the sixth time Connacht killed the ball in the ruck the, excellent, referee sent Elwood to the bin. A side note of the ref: fantastic, brooked no silliness at the breakdown, got a hold of the scrum after it looked a bit dangerous and should great sympathy in letting the game flow in such appalling conditions. Connacht now realised that they weren't going to be able to get away with lying offside at the ruck so stopped and Glasgow gripped hold of the game by the throat. From a scrum the ball was moved right across the line, Howarth broke a tackle and the place a beautifully judged grubber through the defense for Bartlett to touch down. Conversion missed but Glasgow had a 11 - 7 lead. Elwood came back on a promptly missed a shot at goal and that was effectively Connachts last contribution to the game. Jon Petrie was binned for Glasgow for handling on the floor and although Cranky didn't see the incident (on the other side of the pitch) he trusted that refs judgment so much Petrie deserved to go.

The rain had started and stopped during the first half but at halftime it started and kept on getting heavier and heavier. Last year Glasgow's last CL pool match was against Llanelli in terrible weather, this year there was less wind but way more rain, you could have irrigated a small African nation for a year with the volume of rain that fell.

Into the second half and Glasgow opened with a try and a penalty to take it to 21 - 7. Cranky started to feel more relaxed and even let his mind think about the bonus point. Connacht just weren't playing the correct game for the weather. They were still looking to pass out of the tackle which is simply a non-starter when there is more water in the air than oxygen. Glasgow were content to smash the leather of the ball and chase aggressively waiting for Connacht to make mistakes, which they did, in abundance. Time and time again Connacht were knocked back in tackles and let the ball slither forward from their hands. Given that Elwood is a metronomic kicker and punter of the ball Cranky was amazed they did apply leather to leather more often. Another penalty took it 24 - 7 and into the last few minutes of the game. Connacht were reduced to running from their own 22 in conditions that no-one should be asked to run the ball with and anxiety made the waste possible overlaps as they tried to force it. Aggressive defense from Glasgow saw them get a 5m lineout in the last seconds of the game which they drove over for the final try of the match. The ref correctly identifying that there had been no injuries and thus no injury time promptly blew for the end of the game.

A highly satisfied Cranky saw his team beat not only the opposing team but the elements to produce a highly entertaining game of rugby. The referee was excellent and you got a free donut with every specialty coffee ordered. The night couldn't have been any better.