Planet Rugby

Parks punches drop Ulster

16th April 2010 23:14

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Dan Parks Italy v Scotland

Parks - scored a vital 20 points.

Four second-half drop goals from Dan Parks helped Glasgow to a 25-18 Magners League win over Ulster at Firhill on Friday.

Paul Marshall's fine breakaway try put Ulster ahead but Parks reduced the deficit to 5-3 with a 13th-minute penalty and that is the way it remained until the interval.

Ian Humphreys' boot matched Parks and helped Ulster re-establish their five-point cushion at 11-6 but a Graeme Morrison try and three further drop-goals from Parks put the hosts in control.

Jamie Smith crossed for a late consolation try for the visitors but it was not enough to prevent a fourth consecutive loss.

Both sides desperately needed the points - Ulster to ensure a Heineken Cup place next season above Connacht, and Glasgow to stay in the running for a Magners League play-off spot.

Kevin Tkachuk and John Beattie put Glasgow within sniffing distance of the Ulster line in the opening minutes, but it was the visitors who put the first points on the board.

Ulster scrum-half Marshall spotted the ball on the fringe of a ruck and his three hacks took the ball 80 yards before he touched down.

It took Glasgow 10 minutes to get their heads back up but finally a 50-metre break by Max Evans gave them their first threatening position and, when Ulster offended, Parks slotted the penalty.

That should have lifted Glasgow but they were getting nowhere against an Ulster defence which took full advantage of referee Peter Allan's lenient interpretation of the offside law.

After a Fergus Thomson break, another spilled ball saw Ulster hack again to the Glasgow line and only desperate cover kept the home line intact.

Parks had a chance to put the home team ahead but his penalty drifted wide and, with Chris Henry and David Pollock keeping Glasgow quiet round the fringes, the game limped to half-time with Ulster two points up.

Glasgow's frustration manifested itself in a bust-up between Al Kellock and Chris Henry at the start of the second half before the Scottish side found a more positive direction in which to channel their energies.

Colin Shaw and Bernie Stortoni got Glasgow into the red zone and Parks put them ahead with his first drop-goal.

Ulster hit back immediately with a Humphreys penalty and stretched their lead to five points after Moray Low was punished for illegal handling.

Stortoni again got in among the Ulster defence and won the penalty for Parks to pull the margin back to two points and again it was the full-back who surged into the heart of the Ulster defence to set up Parks for drop-goal number two.

John Beattie and Dougie Hall then combined to put Morrison away and the big centre burst through two tackles to go over and give Parks the simplest of conversions.

Ulster were now tiring, their second match in four days clearly taking its toll. It was all they could do to keep Glasgow at bay but they could not prevent Parks dropping two more goals.

They produced a late push which saw Simon Danielli put Smith over for a final try, with Humphreys' conversion salvaging a vital bonus point for Ulster.

The scorers:

For Glasgow:
Try: Morrison
Con: Parks
Pens: Parks 2
Drop goals: Parks 4

For Ulster:
Tries: Marshall, Smith
Con: Humphreys
Pens: Humphreys 2

Glasgow: 15 Bernardo Stortoni, 14 Colin Shaw, 13 Max Evans, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Mark McMillan, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 John Barclay, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alastair Kellock (capt), 4 Tim Barker, 3 Moray Low, 2 Fergus Thomson, 1 Kevin Tkachuk.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Ed Kalman, 18 Dan Turner, 19 Calum Forrester, 20 Chris Cusiter, 21 Ruaridh Jackson, 22 Hefin O'Hare

Ulster: 15 Simon Danielli, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Nevin Spence, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Ed O'Donoghue, 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Andi Kyriacou, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 BJ Botha, 18 Dan Tuohy, 19 David Pollock, 20 Isaac Boss, 21 Niall O'Connor, 22 Jamie Smith.

Referee: Tim Hayes (WRU)

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