glasgow 58

ebbw vaLE 22

Glasgow went close to clinching a Celtic League quarter-final spot last night as they boosted their points differential by passing the half century mark for the second time in successive matches at Hughenden.

It was a particularly impressive performance since, having announced six changes to their side on Monday, they were forced into two more when Nathan Ross withdrew with a fractured cheekbone and Michael Bartlett pulled out with a thigh strain.

Llanelli's loss at home to Swansea opened up the chance for Glasgow of earning a home tie should the Warriors beat the Scarlets when they visit on Friday; however, that result also kept Swansea's hopes alive, meaning Glasgow have yet to secure their place in the last eight.

''Our supporters have been excellent and we can't let them down now,'' said Richie Dixon, Glasgow's coach, as he looked ahead to that match.

Last night's game was over by the interval as Glasgow demonstrated just how much their confidence has grown in recent weeks with a half of rugby in which they were even more clinical than in their last home game against Pontypridd. A long range Tommy Hayes penalty settled any early nerves and young Andy Henderson took advantage of this unexpected opportunity with some delightful work to set up the first two scores of the game.

The timing of his passes twice released Glenn Metcalfe, back at his very best just in time for Scotland's meeting with Ireland, and the full-back's pace sliced open the defence to create tries for Jim McLaren and Hayes.

After another Hayes penalty Jonno Stuart's perfectly weighted mis-pass then sent Metcalfe away again from deep in his own half and after he put Rory Kerr clear on the left he then supported the run to take the floated return pass and claim the touchdown.

The forwards got in on the act when Gordon Simpson barged his way into the 22, Lee Harrison exploding onto his pass to deliver the ball sweetly for Gareth Flockhart to roll over the line; from the re-start an Ebbw Vale back move broke down, and Kerr seized upon the loose ball to sprint in from halfway.

After the relentless pressure of the first-half, the home side did slacken off after the break, letting in Scott Mitchell for a score much too easily.

However, they re-asserted their authority with two tries in as many minutes.

First, a powerful drive then neat offload by Jason White let Hayes power into the 22, Stuart then linking well to put Henderson in. He was quickly followed over the line by Graeme Beveridge after Simpson surged down the right. When he was tackled, both Flockhart and Beveridge hacked on before the scrum-half picked up and cruised over on the right.

Metcalfe then injected pace again to put McLaren in for his second score, however Dixon and his players were rightly irritated at the way they allowed Ebbw Vale to claim two late tries which took a little of the gloss off the result. ''We weren't as ruthless as we should have been, but we showed what we can do when we keep up our pace and our intensity,'' said the coach.

Glasgow G Metcalfe; J McLaren, A Henderson, J Stuart, R Kerr (J Craig 73min); T Hayes (B Irving 56), G Beveridge (C Black 73); D Hilton, G Bulloch (G Scott 60), L Harrison (C Blades 60), A Hall, J White (C Stewart 69), G Simpson, G Flockhart, J Petrie

Ebbw Vale P Matthews; N McKim, R Shorney, D Weatherley, M Ridley; S Mitchell, G Betts (K Ellis 63); I Thomas (R Davies 79), J Evans, D Penisini, C Billen, N Edwards, K Tuipulotu, G Green, W Thomas

Referee O Trevor (Ireland)

Scoring sequence, Glasgow first 3-0, 8-0, 15-0, 18-0, 25-0, 32-3, 39-3 (half-time); 39-8, 46-10, 51-10, 58-10, 58-17, 58-22

Scorers, Glasgow, Tries McLaren (9 69), Hayes (14), Metcalfe (24), Flockhart (34), Kerr (35), Henderson (53), Beveridge (55) Conversions Hayes (14 24 34 35 53), Irving (69) Penalties Hayes (6 21) Ebbw Vale, Tries Mitchell (43 78), Weatherley (73) Conversions Mitchell (43 73) Penalty Mitchell (28)

bt cellnet cup, Rd 2 draw

HIGH-SCORING Trinity and Cambuslang were yesterday put on collision course when the draw was made for round two of the BT Cellnet Scottish Cup. Between them, the National Division One sides amassed a total of 251 points in last weekend's tournament openers. Cambuslang, who thrashed Oban Lorne 85-15, will have home advantage over Accies, fresh from their 166-3 win over Moffat.

Full draw Penicuik v Strathmore, Ross High v Kilmarnock, Carnoustie HSFP v Clydebank, Stirling University v Dalkeith, Perthshire v Kinross, Irvine v Cumnock, Whitecraigs v Howe of Fife, Highland v Lismore, Crieff v Fife Southern, Cambuslang v Trinity Accies, Lenzie v Garnock, Waysiders Drumpellier v Wigtownshire, Hawick YM v Ellon, Allan Glen's v Glenrothes, Royal High v Leith, Lochaber v Madras, Hillfoots v Dunfermline, Dalziel v Alloa, Ross Sutherland v St Andrews University, Moray v Langholm, Forrester FP v Duns, Stewartry v Cumbernauld, Aberdeenshire v Glasgow Accies, Linlithgow v Morgan, Corstorphine v Orkney, St Boswells v Cartha QP, Dumfries v Mid Argyll or Edinburgh Northern, Livingston v Earlston, Strathaven v Helensburgh, Greenock Wanderers v Ardrossan Accies, Edinburgh University v Hamilton, Hawick Harlequins v Annan

Ties to be played on October 13