Cherry and Whites struggle to snatch win at death
Gloucester leave it late
Gloucester 29 Worcester 23
Kingsholm - Friday 22 February, 2013
Pricey's Piece -
I’ve never seen a game end in such a bizarre manner. Nothing left on the clock and young Ryan Mills had knocked on. I rose from my seat, seething from Gloucester’s inept performance, but then noticed the Ref talking to the Touch Judge before signaling that the TMO was to join in the discussion. Whereas the stadium announcer usually declares the name of the try scorer after the event, this time he kept us all informed by announcing ahead of any signal from referee David Rose that Claassens, the Worcester Full Back was being sent off and Gloucester had been awarded a penalty try. I didn’t wait for the conversion and left the ground still seething.
Gloucester had won by the skin of the teeth after 80 minutes of woeful decision making and even worse execution. They gifted countless possession and yards of territory by aimless kicking that spread through the team like a contagion. They gifted two tries; the result of youthful exuberance, at best and crass stupidity in truth.
It started well enough after Worcester’s initial frenzy and Gloucester created space and discovered holes in the visitors defence. Tries should have resulted but penalty goals were the lesser alternative. The young Henry Trinder decided to make a name for himself with an heroic interception attempt. Sadly it was on Gloucester’s 22 and rather than Worcester being flatly aligned, they were lined up deep; it was never on and resulted in Worcester running through the enormous defensive hole to score a try. He earned redemption however almost immediately after he straightened in classic centre style before passing to Johnny May who ran at warp speed to the Worcester half. His threat attracted the full attention of the Worcester defence who left the move instigator, Henry Trinder unmarked. As the defence closed on May, he passed to Trinder running a supreme line to score.
Hoping that the interval would restore the balance in favour of the sublime from the ridiculous, Gloucester continued to apply pressure but the nonsense continued and was epitomised by the next farce. Rather than put boot to ball at a 22 restart Gloucester went into Harlem Globetrotter mode and sought to tap and go. The Culprit on this occasion was Johnny May who tapped and went before immediately realising that he was in the deep doo doo. The ball was passed like a hot potato before Alex Grove intercepted and in for a try. And it got worse until the final throw of the dice loomed when Johnny May took the ball on the left wing. At full pace he appeared to be half tackled by Claassens and was halted with Gloucester fortunately retaining possession. The ball went right and then left and then knocked on. Game over or not as it transpired. The Claassens “tackle” was dissected bit by bit, the “Get out of Jail free” card was played and Gloucester snatched the four points.
Gloucester can play glorious rugby but they can and do play some of a maddeningly crazy variety. And there lies the rub. Nigel Davies has instilled a fantastic spirit and has encouraged improvisation. As I alluded to earlier the sublime sometimes mutates into the ridiculous. The nature of the beast it seems won the day.
As far as I am aware there were no heart attacks at Kingsholm where the Cherry and Whites snatched a dramatic late victory over Worcester in the very final seconds of the match when the visitor's full back Errie Claasens received a red card for a trip on winger Jonny May. Referee David Rose awarded the match-winning penalty try after TMO consideration which saved Gloucester from another disappointing home defeat but must have left Worcester heart-broken when they had seemed likely to have gained an unlikely win.
Heart pounding stuff indeed but you couldn't help but think that yet again, frustratingly, Gloucester had secured more than enough first-half possession and territory to take control but were quite unable to take full advantage to create the tries that should have been scored against a disruptive ill-disciplined Worcester side that appeared to be continually infringing and living off-side.
The late withdrawl of Mike Tindall meant that at times the home side's back-line lacked organisation as all too often the defence looked exposed leaking a soft first-half try whilst the suicide tactics of attempting to run the ball from deep resulted in a second-half gift try and with it, almost handed the result, to the opposition.
Not very good I'm afraid and as my old school teacher often said 'Must do better' !
R Cook, C Sharples, H Trinder, T Molenaar, J May,
R Mills, D Robson (D Lewis, 76),
D Murphy (N Wood, 53), D Dawidiuk (H Edmonds, 64), R Harden (D Chistolini, 71 – reversed 72), L Lokotui, W James, T Savage, A Qera (A Hazell, 64), S Kalamafoni.
Unused: P Buxton, S Monahan, M Thomas.
Tries: Trinder, Penalty
Pen: Cook (4), Mills
Referee - David Rose
Attendance - 14,362