GLOUCESTER DID IT BY HALVES.
For the first half of this match for the also-rans, Gloucester managed to make a decidedly average Glasgow team to look something like a decent side.
Fortunately after such a disappointing first half display, the home side roused themselves after the interval to give some semblance of having previously played together and were able to build something approaching momentum. Eventually a couple of tries came late in the game as James Simpson-Daniel and Olly Morgan engineered chances with touches of class which was sadly lacking.
By ensuring the fixture went ahead despite the Arctic conditions, Dave Balmer’s hard working ground staff had performed better on the pitch than the players but the fare on offer was not exactly festive.
On this showing Biarritz are in a different class from either combatants on show at Kingsholm and neither side will progress to the final rounds of the Heineken cup.
Gloucester do not lack effort or commitment but there is now a distinct lack of top quality - journeymen rather than star performers. Whether it is all down to a lack of money or shortcomings within the coaching staff is debatable but it is becoming increasingly evident that the present Cherry and White outfit is not truly competitive at top level.
The current squad is a shadow of their counterparts of last year.
Opponents Glasgow supplied only limited ambition, based on the kicking of No. 10 Dan Parks who had stuffed Gloucester in the previous fixture but this week he was confined to just six first half points which gave the Scots the lead at the interval.
Like the weather, Gloucester’s first half efforts were decidedly below par.
The hosts never got to grips with the French referee Jerome Garces who frequently pulled the home side up as the crowd became increasingly bemused with his judgement.
Gloucester lost Andy Hazell to the sin-bin but did manage a try-scoring opportunity with some good handling but ultimately the move broke down when a try seemed a mere formality.
Much of Gloucester’s early efforts lacked conviction and creativity with the pack unable to exert sufficient authority to dominate the set-piece and a stuttering line-out. The kicking out of hand achieved nothing whilst there were no phases of concerted play to put the opponents under pressure.
How we miss the flair and scoring abilities of Iain Balshaw and Anthony Allen who could turn half chances into points.
Nicky Robinson got Gloucester off to a good start to the second period with a penalty kick, courtesy of a bounce off the crossbar to reduce the arrears.
Gloucester began to dominate proceedings as Tom Voyce and Olly Morgan both went close before the pressure was finally rewarded.
Sinbad and Luke Narraway broke through and a sublime pass from the back-row man found in-form winger Charlie Sharples on hand to power his way over in the corner with defenders vainly clinging on.
Sinbad, Sharples and Olly Morgan combined in the build-up for the host’s second try with more good work from Alasdair Strokosch who put Alex Brown over by the corner flag.
Sharples crossed the line in the final minute with a superb swallow dive but the try was denied by a forward pass as the visitors were well beaten at the end.
Gloucester still do not have the aura of a top side. Too many players lack confidence and conviction - others ability at the higher level.
Gareth Delve as ever, leads from the front but as yet there is nothing to show that this Cherry and White side is strong enough to trouble the better sides.


GLOUCESTER
Olly Morgan
Charlie Sharples
James Simpson-Daniel
Tim Molenaar
Tom Voyce
Nicky Robinson
Rory Lawson
Gareth Delve
Alasdair Strokosch
Andy Hazell * Yellow Card
Alex Brown
Dave Attwood
Paul Doran-Jones
Scott Lawson
Nick Wood
Replacements
Darren Dawidiuk
Alasdair Dickinson
Greg Somerville
Adam Eustace
Luke Narraway
Dave Lewis
Eliota F-Sapolu
Carlos Spencer
Glos Scorers
Try: Sharples, Brown
Pen: Robinson (3)
Ref: Jerome Graces
Attend:. 10,172
Pricey's Postscript
It’s hard to believe how Gloucester have become a poor team so quickly. They cannot even be described as “run of the mill”; they are simply “poor”. Glasgow controlled a good 60% of the game before Gloucester cobbled together a few moves that threatened and eventually crossed the Glasgow line.
For the first half and part of the second half Gloucester served up a style of rugby that could best be described as puerile. They lacked pace, guile, nous and imagination as they packed the line with players but sadly without the ball to play with. Only once in the first forty minutes did Gloucester mount an attack that threatened the opposition line through an individual effort by Charlie Sharples. They made an average Glasgow team look like stars as they lost both set-piece plus ruck and maul ball.
Time and time again the ball was moved at a snail pace to lumbering forwards popping up at first and second receiver. Glasgow hardly broke sweat in defence. Had they been playing a motivated side Gloucester would have been dead and buried by half time.
The second half started the same as the first had ended – forwards bashing regardless interspersed by aimless kicking although Gloucester managed to claw themselves back into contention as Glasgow infringed to allow points from penalties. As the half progressed, however, the forwards started to play like forwards and contested the ball at the breakdown and the tide started to turn. The kicks had more direction and one long kick that was followed up by Olly Morgan led to the best scoring opportunity of the game only to be butchered by the careless hands of Andy Hazell as a three man overlap was spurned.
Thankfully two tries were scored to put Gloucester clear but make no mistake it was a dire performance, by a dire team, in a dire match at the low quality end of the Heineken Cup.
Big, big changes are called for at Gloucester – starting from the very top at board level, at middle management right down to the factory floor. Quite simply – a new owner, new coaching staff and new players are needed to stop what appears to be a terminal decline.

John Price 20/12/2009
A win is a win but it must be said that this current Glos side are a shadow of the teams of recent years.
I have said all season that we have lost international class players and replaced them with mediocre journeymen. The only players who have stood out so far this season are: Olly Morgan, Charlie Sharples, Sinbad, Gareth Delve, and Dave Attwood, the rest are bit players.
There was no exception to the rule in yesterdays game against Glasgow, (although there were times when the crowd were on their feet), cheering the two tries Glos somehow managed to conjure up by reverting to the running and passing game the fans were accustomed to, in the main the game was full of basic errors and no game plan.
The line-out was appalling, there was a lack of application and commitment at the ruck and ball, and what ball Glos did win was wasted by poor passing and handling.
If there are any positives to come from the last three home games they are that we have won them and the aforementioned players have brought some cheer to a crowd who are getting frustrated by an under-performing side.
Deep joy, our next fixture is Bath away!!!!!!!
Mike
The national economy is now said to be coming out of recession, although recovery make take some while to achieve - a bit like Gloucester rugby really.
T.H. 21/12/2009

Cherry and Whites second half show secures Euro win
Gloucester do it by halves
Gloucester 19 Glasgow 6
Kingsholm - Sunday 20 December. 2009
 

Attendance - 11,846