Edinburgh levelled the 1872 Cup series in front of a record-breaking crowd of 27,437 at BT Murrayfield as wing Darcy Graham bagged a brilliant brace.
Following last weekend’s tight 20-16 win for Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun a tight rematch was expected and so it unfolded. The game, and the trophy, hung in the balance heading into the closing quarter but it was Richard Cockerill’s side who dealt the clinical blow to take the three-match series down to a decider back at BT Murrayfield at the end of May.
Graham had the first and last words of the afternoon with the opening and closing tries of a compelling encounter. His side were already ahead and defending a lead with a couple of minutes left but still precarious when the 22-year-old flying Borderer scorched down the East Stand touchline to send the bumper capital crowd into raptures and put the gloss on a win which, on balance, was well deserved.
After a benign opening 15 minutes, with only a long-range missed penalty opportunity to report, the game sparked into life with a thrilling trademark charge from Duhan van der Merwe which carved Glasgow open.
The South Africa-born wing who becomes Scotland-qualified in the summer was eventually stopped but the Edinburgh press kept coming and Bill Mata’s delicious offload was gleefully unwrapped by wing Graham, who had enough time for a bit of teasing before dotting down to break the deadlock, Simon Hickey converting,
The match was soon levelled as Glasgow hit back in the 24th minute, running Edinburgh ragged through the phases, milking the gap until centre Huw Jones had an easy feed to score and Hastings added the extras.
Edinburgh had an opportunity to nudge ahead again when awarded a penalty in the Glasgow 22 but opted for a kick to the corner which resulted in a turnover.
Home skipper Stuart McInally limped off before the break, replaced by Mike Willemse, in a period of sound and fury which amounted to little as the first 40 minutes petered out with the score 7-7.
The second half continued in the same nip and tuck, trench warfare style which wasn’t exactly enlivening the record 27,437 crowd. An offside infringement gave Edinburgh stand-off Hickey a simple opportunity to take the points and move Edinburgh ahead by three.
You know it’s a tight game when cheers for penalty awards are as loud as you’d expect for tries and that came soon after as Edinburgh seemed to have been relieved on their own line.
However, referee Mike Adamson went to the TMO and a no-arms tackle by flanker Jamie Ritchie on opposition openside Callum Gibbins was spotted to see the decision reversed.
Glasgow made the most of the opportunity, bearing down on the Edinburgh line until lock Scott Cummings made the final breach and Hastings converted for 14-10 lead.
The Edinburgh crowd were off their feet minutes later when Scotland centre Matt Scott made a brilliant contribution fresh off the bench to surge through the Glasgow defences. It looked like he had notched the try against the right post protector but TMO reviews showed a brilliant piece of last-gasp defence from Warriors full-back Ruaridh Jackson to get his arm inbetween.
The respite was short for Glasgow as Edinburgh pressed again and got their just rewards as replacement scrum-half Henry Pyrgos piled over and Hickey added the extras to move the scoreboard back 17-14 in the home side’s favour.
That provided the spark the game needed and things got cooking and it was Glasgow who forged ahead again when George Horne burrowed over in the left corner.
Jackson, taking over the playmaking and goalkicking duties after Hastings had been replaced by Nick Grigg, fell short with the wide conversion.
Edinburgh hit back swiftly and hard and a rampaging drive gained not only a penalty try but also a yellow card for Glasgow talisman Jonny Gray.
The man-down Warriors nibbled back but you felt the game was now Edinburgh’s and they made sure with a quite sensational try to finish off proceedings, the electric Graham leaving all in his wake down the right touchline to secure not only the local bragging rights, keep the cup alive, but also five precious Guinness Pro14 points - denying their rivals anything - that puts them in great shape in Conference B heading into the new year.
Scorers: Edinburgh: Tries: Graham 2, Pyrgos, penalty try; Cons: Hickey 2; Pen: Hickey.
Glasgow: Tries: H Jones, Cummings, G Horne; Cons: Hastings 2
Edinburgh: B Kinghorn; D Graham, M Bennett, G Taylor, D van der Merwe; S Hickey, N Groom; P Schoeman, S McInally, WP Nel, B Toolis, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, V Mata. Subs: M Willemse, J Bhatti, S Berghan, L Carmichael, M Bradbury, H Pyrgos, J van der Walt, M Scott.
Glasgow: R Jackson; R Tagive, H Jones, S Johnson, DTH van der Merwe; A Hastings, A Price; O Kebble, F Brown, Z Fagerson, S Cummings, J Gray, R Harley, C Gibbins, R Wilson. Subs: G Turner, A Seiuli, A Nicol, A Ashe, T Gordon, G Horne, N Grigg, N Matawalu.
Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)