They conceded five tries in the first 45 minutes to trail by 25 points but then finally caught the speed of the game to dominate the remainder and have Glasgow the more eager to hear the final whistle.
Close range driving tries by props Thomas du Toit and Ntuthuko Mchunu helped the Sharks ‘win’ the second half 14-7 as they chipped away at the lead, but Glasgow’s slick opening half and individual errors by the Cell C Sharks meant it was too little too late.
Perhaps it was the novelty of the 4G surface for the Sharks, but they were left gasping in the Warriors’ wake as the home side racked up four tries in the first 40 – two of them while the Cell C Sharks were down to 14-men after the quick-fire yellow carding of looseforward Dylan Richardson.
Welsh referee Ben Whitehouse showed him the yellow card in the 13th minute as the result of three penalty infringements in one phase of play. Flanker Ryan Wilson scored under the crossbar from a close-in drive from the penalty possession, followed by prop Jamie Bhatti from a similarly microscopic range.
Flyhalf Ross Thompson converted both to add to his own converted try, which had come after 90 seconds as the Sharks made a disastrous start. Glasgow ran back the kick off from the Sharks down the blindside of the first ruck; forced a penalty five metres out and from second phase from the lineout possession, Thompson looped round a dummy runner to score under the posts.
The return of Richardson coincided with the Sharks’ opening try – scored by lock Le Roux Roets from a close range barge from a tapped penalty – but the Warriors looked the more dangerous when they moved it down their back division. That was emphasised when fullback Cole Forbes got the fourth try shortly before the break after sharp handling and running involving the entire backline.
He grabbed a second at the start of the second half from broken field possession. He picked up outside the Sharks’ 22 and his chip ahead bounced back over Curwin Bosch’s head and into Forbes’ hands for an easy finish.
Bu that was it for the Warriors. They remained scoreless for the remainder of the match as the Sharks got stronger and stronger with some smashing ball carries and improving lineout – their Achilles Hell in the first half.
The tries by Du Toit and Mchunu raised the possibility of claiming two bonus points – especially with Glasgow down to 14 for the final seven after Warriors lock Lewis Bean was yellow carded for a maul offence.
Alas, time ran out for the Sharks, although they could take encouragement from their second half showing.
Glasgow Warriors 35 (28) – Tries: Ross Thompson, Ryan Wilson, Jamie Bhatti, Cole Forbes (2). Conversions: Thompson (5).
Cell C Sharks 24 (10) – Tries: Le Roux Roets, Thomas du Toit, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2), Ruan Pienaar. Penalty: Bosch.