Magners League - Game of the Week
Parks secures draw for Glasgow
October 30, 2009
Glasgow were forced to rely on the boot of Dan Parks
© Getty Images
The Ospreys were held to a 9-9 Magners League draw by Glasgow Warriors in Swansea, with both sides well off their best form. Three penalties from Gareth Owen were cancelled out by Glasgow's Scotland international fly-half Dan Parks as atrocious conditions dictated the style of play.
Owen partnered Liam Davies in a youthful Ospreys halfback combo, with 10 first-team regulars currently on international duty as Wales prepare for next weekend's meeting with the All Blacks at the Millennium Stadium.
Davies settled any early nerves with several nice touches, although Owen failed to gel with him early on and sliced several kicks as the rain lashed the Liberty Stadium. Both teams showed a willingness to keep the ball in play despite the conditions, with Parks the first to take control and pin the corners with two accurate kicks in to Ospreys territory.
With Filo Tiatia shifting in to an unfamiliar second-row berth the Ospreys struggled with their set-piece as Glasgow piled on the pressure at both the lineout and scrum. Nevertheless Owen slotted the first points of the night from the kicking tee after Glasgow were guilty of unnecessarily going in at the side as the Ospreys struggled with slow ball.
The home side were almost undone by more troubles at the lineout, when Cai Griffiths flailed at the ball, knocking it towards his own line before his blushes were spared by an excellent intervention by Owen.
A sharp break from Chris Cusiter put the Warriors on the front-foot, with the desperate Ospreys defence conceding a penalty that Parks, the Magners League's leading scorer, dispatched with ease. Owen restored the hosts' lead soon after as conditions continued to hamper any expansive play.
The Ospreys lost Nikki Walker following a sickening clash of heads with Tiatia, the groggy Scotland international wing requiring stitches beneath his eye.
Owen threw away a good opportunity with a knock on after Barry Davies had carved an opening in the Glasgow defence but the fullback soon produced another opportunity. Scrum-half Davies latched on to a loose pass to spark the move and the Ospreys retained possession until Davies again found a brilliant support angle to hare towards the line. He was stopped short and following a lunge from Richard Hibbard the TMO was called on to rule out a try.
The resulting attacking scrum was another disaster for the Ospreys as their front-row was splintered, with referee Peter Fitzgibbon blowing for a pressure-relieving penalty. The scrums continued to hit the deck, drawing a slow handclap from an impatient crowd, and Parks clattered an upright with a penalty to end a dismal half.
The second-half sputtered in to life in much the same vein, with Owen converting his third penalty after Ally Kellock was pinged for being on the wrong side. Some nice interplay between John Barclay and his back-row colleague Kelly Brown set the Warriors on their way in to Ospreys territory, where Parks scored his second penalty as the home side lost their discipline at the ensuing ruck.
As the weather turned from bad to worse, Davies smashed a penalty deep in to Ospreys territory. His forwards again contrived to lose the ball at the lineout and despite a Warriors knock-on returning possession another handling error stopped any further progress. Parks levelled the scores with his third kick soon after and the scores stayed level as Owen dragged an attempt to the left of the sticks with time ticking away.
The Ospreys managed to work some late possession in search of the winning score. The forwards piled ahead inch by inch but when the ball found its way to Owen on the ten-metre line he pulled his drop-goal attempt wide. Tommy Bowe managed a late burst but when the British & Irish Lion looked to offload he found only touch to end the game on a fitting note.
In the latest edition of Ask John, John Griffiths answers queries about Barbarians socks, bi-lingual referees and Lions who weren't Lions
"Here is the line-up I believe will take to the field on Saturday, let the abuse commence." Tom Hamilton has a punt at the Lions' starting XV for the first Test in his latest Tour Diary
"Drafting former Lions heroes and rising stars into your side at short notice may make for great copy but it does not make for a great side." Graham Jenkins on the lesson from the Lions' first loss