Gray steals win for Glasgow
November 13, 2011
Bath's Simon Taylor comes under pressure against Glasgow
© PA Photos
Richie Gray's stoppage-time try saw Glasgow Warriors upstage Bath and World Cup winner Stephen Donald with a stunning 26-21 Heineken Cup Pool Three win at Firhill.
Tom Heathcote kicked six penalties before being replaced with 11 minutes to go by Donald, the New Zealand fly-half who was making his Bath debut and his first appearance since lifting the World Cup three weeks earlier.
Donald kicked a last-minute penalty to put his side 21-19 ahead but then Gray, who last week announced he will be leaving Glasgow for Sale Sharks at the end of the season, scored a shock try.
Duncan Weir's attempted drop goal was charged down but Glasgow somehow stole the ball back behind enemy lines and it was all 6ft 10in and 20st second-row Gray who raced through to touch down under the posts. Weir converted to take his personal tally to 16, while fullback Stuart Hogg also scored a try for the hosts.
After Leinster and Montpellier drew yesterday, the result took Glasgow top of the pool. Despite Gray's departure, the Warriors appear to be on the up and are now in pole position to qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time.
The Warriors have now won five straight games - a sequence which began at Cardiff on October 1 - and Bath joined Gloucester and London Wasps in falling to defeat at Firhill. Historically and presently Bath - led by director of rugby Ian McGeechan and featuring number eight Simon Taylor - have a strong Scottish connection but they lost a key England international before kick-off.
Matt Banahan was replaced by Sam Vesty at centre following the warm-up and Scotland cap Jack Cuthbert stepping up to the bench. Undeterred, Bath took an early lead with a Heathcote penalty following a succession of errors by the hosts inside their own 22 on receipt of the kick-off.
Weir replied with the boot with Glasgow's first foray into opposition territory after Bath killed the ball. A collapsed scrum presented Heathcote with another penalty opportunity from halfway which he converted to restore Bath's lead.
Weir missed an effort before Bath openside Guy Mercer was penalised on the floor which presented him with a close-range attempt as Glasgow drew level. Weir booted Glasgow into the lead for the first time with his third successful penalty before half-time but missed an attempt early in the second period and Heathcote levelled two minutes later with a kick from halfway.
Heathcote edged Bath in front with a penalty after referee Christophe Berdos ruled against Glasgow at the breakdown. But no sooner had they gone behind than Glasgow burst into the lead with the first try of the game.
Gray took the lineout and Hogg ghosted through a gap in the Bath defence to latch onto a pass from substitute Troy Nathan. Weir converted.
The four point advantage was reduced to one, though, when Berdos ruled the Warriors had strayed offside in pursuit of a kick and Heathcote booted his fifth penalty. The fly-half kicked a sixth penalty after 69 minutes before being replaced by Donald for the All Black No.10's Bath debut.
Donald, who kicked the penalty which helped New Zealand edge France in Auckland on October 23, booted the ball dead with his first action. The error led to a Glasgow scrum and Weir burst into the 22 before Bath were penalised at a later breakdown and the fly-half restored the hosts' lead.
A scrum in Glasgow territory crumbled and Berdos penalised the hosts, leaving Donald to stroke over what appeared to be the winning points before Gray's intervention.
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