Glasgow 13, Scottish Exiles 34

PLAYING district rugby at Murrayfield is akin to holding a John Major

fan club meeting in a repair shed at Rosyth Dockyard, but the Scottish

Exiles have not been averse to promoting their rugby before the barren

wastes of the international cathedral's towering stands. They have won

their two games there so far this month.

After victories against the South and Glasgow, respectively

title-holders and runners-up, the Exiles are halfway to winning the

McEwan's 70/- district championship trophy for the first time. Their

remaining games, too, are at Murrayfield, but, more important to them,

they have already proved that never again can they be left out of the

district series, as they were from the truncated knock-out championship

last season.

It may mean that one of the home districts would have to be omitted

from the projected Super Twenty championship. So be it . . . unless all

five can be included.

Alastair McHarg, the Exiles' coach, was clear in expounding the value

of a team of Scots from across the Border. After their victory against

Glasgow -- the district through which he was originally promoted to

international rugby more than 25 years ago -- he named a selection of

Exiles who have beneficially appeared on the Scottish stage.

Alan Sharp and Andy Reed, McHarg said, have come from the Exiles in

the past couple of years to play for Scotland. Reed even had a Lions

tour within a year of his first district game, and the coach added that,

more recently, back-row players such as David Blyth, Eric Peters, and

Simon Holmes might not have been seen here but for the team that

currently encompasses Scots from England, Ireland, and France and has

included Wales in the past.

Peters looked to be a No.8 on the way up, as he had done for the

Scottish Select against the South Africans in Aberdeen last month.

Blyth, too, had an impressive work-rate, and one or other of them, if

not both, had a hand in each of the Exiles' four tries in Saturday's

wet, wild weather.

Malcolm Kemp opened and closed the game's scoring with tries. Derrick

Patterson and Peters had the others, and Stuart Laing, the stand-off

born of Scottish parents in Ireland, not only converted all four but

also kicked two penalty goals in the third quarter -- six successes in

all out of seven attempts. David Barrett managed only three from eight

for Glasgow.

Indeed, Glasgow might have been ahead at half-time instead of 3-14

down if Barrett had been in the groove. Even so, it would have been an

uneasy lead. The Exiles looked the probable winners even before Kemp ran

in his first try after 24 minutes.

Reed and Damian Cronin held a slight edge in the lineout. The Exiles'

advantage, however, was accentuated in the quality of touchline


A scrummage mix-up between Jim Brough and Cameron Little led to the

Exiles' first try. Mark Appleson scampered infield, Ronnie Eriksson and

Blyth laid down rucks for a switch of direction each time, and Murray

Craig put Kemp in. Barrett soon countered with a penalty goal, but

Peters's scrummage pick-up, Blyth's link, and Eriksson's inside pass let

Derrick Patterson in.

Glasgow clawed back from 3-14 to 13-20 midway in the second half, but

the Exiles made certain when surges by Blyth and Iain Morrison sent

Peters charging over. Another No.8 pick-up, Patterson's wide run to the

right, and his inside pass made Kemp's second try.

Glasgow had moments, not least two instances of creativity by Matt

McGrandles off Exile punts in the first half, but such pieces rugby by

them were rare. The only Glasgow scores were Barrett's two penalty goals

and his conversion of the penalty try that Ray Megson awarded when Kemp

obstructed Kenny Logan.

One shuddering tackle by Eriksson on Ian Jardine summed up the Exiles'

hold on the game. It was the sort of finality in stopping that the

Stirling centre is used to dishing out.

Yet Glasgow refused to lie down. Even with the game gone from them at

13-27, they sprung a breakout almost from one goal-line to the other.

Little cleverly kept the ball in play on the left, Barrett escaped from

his own twenty-two, Alan Watt rumbled on to set up ruck ball, Gordon

Mackay and McGrandles linked on the right, and Brian Ireland chipped

ahead, but Patterson denied Mark McKenzie.

Why do teams not unleash such initiative as an early gambit instead of

a belated desperation ploy?

Glasgow -- D N Barrett (West); M McGrandles (Stirling), C T Simmers

(Glasgow Academicals), I C Jardine, K M Logan; M McKenzie (all

Stirling), C E Little (GHK); J T Gibson, K D McKenzie (captain), G B

Robertson (all Stirling), A G J Watt, D S Munro (both GHK), G T Mackay,

J Brough, B Ireland (all Stirling).

Scottish Exiles -- G Fraser (Waterloo); M J Kemp (Saracens), M P Craig

(Waterloo), B R S Eriksson (London Scottish), M E Appleson (Sale); S

Laing (Instonians), D W Patterson (West Hartlepool); D I W Hilton

(Bath), B W Gilchrist, A P Burnell (both London Scottish), D F Cronin

(Bourges), A I Reed (Bath), captain, D Blyth (Waterloo), E W Peters

(Bath), I R Morrison (London Scottish). Replacements - R Scott (London

Scottish) for Cronin (79).

Referee -- R J Megson (Edinburgh Wanderers).