30 April 2005
Key decisions go against Gloucester
sneak win at the end
Gloucester 13 Saracens 14
KINGSHOLM’S PROPOSED NEW
STAND and the outcome of the key relegation battles up and down the
country, were the main topics of conversation before the match with
Saracens, the Premiership’s side-show attraction .
When referee David Rose blew the final whistle for no-side, his name
was on everyone’s lips. Referees are frequently the butt of derisory
criticism from fans—very often unfairly it must be said but on this
occasion not without some justification. Gloucester’s defeat at the
hands of Saracens—their first league win in fifteen visits to Kingsholm—was
not unexpected on recent form but the result hinged on two key decisions.
The first after just ten minutes of the first half when an ill directed
Gloucester kick deep into the visitors’ half was run back 50 yards
by Thomas Castaignede who provided a very suspect pass to fellow Frenchman
Raphael Ibanez who in turn off-loaded to winger Ben Johnston who got
the first try under the posts.
The second hard decision was ten minutes before the end when Gloucester
were penalised for pulling down a driving maul and although no warnings
had previously been issued and a try was by no means a certainty,
this particular official, unlike some others, immediately awarded
a penalty try, which effectively handed the match result to Saracens.
It should be said that the touch-judges were of little assistance
to Mr Rose throughout but all in all the referee looked out of his
depth, just as he did at Newcastle! It makes you realise just how
good the top officials such as Messrs Lander, Pearson, Spreadbury
and White really are.
The frustrating part for Cherry and White fans was that once again
the goal kicking was woeful as three straight-forward penalty chances
went begging and that ultimately cost the match.
found it difficult to understand some of the referee’s interpretations
throughout the game and consequently the whole match was disjointed
with very little continuity at all in an error strewn encounter.
Duncan McRae did give Gloucester an early lead with a successful penalty
kick before the first suspect Saracens try.
Saracens seemed content to play to a very limited simple game-plan
based around their robust pack and made few attempts to string any
moves together and were happy with a 7-3 lead at the break.
Gloucester were less happy with even more injuries, losing outstanding
forward Andy Hazell, being replaced by Luke Narraway and full back
Jon Goodridge with a shoulder injury was replaced by Olly Morgan,
and James Forrester moved into the centre on the half hour.
Terry Fanolua was
also replaced in the second half by scrum half Alex Page who went
on the wing.
There was no shortage of spirit or effort from Gloucester on this
occasion and when Sarries’ captain Hugh Vyvyan was sin-binned the
home side did conjure up a try to add to McRae’s second penalty.
The ball was moved along the line where Forrester found just enough
room for impressive young winger James Bailey to create the vital
break for Olly Morgan to score in the corner. McRae added the conversion
to put Gloucester back in the lead at 13-7 after 65 minutes.
However inside the final ten minutes Forrester was sent to the sin-bin
and shortly after Saracens got their harshly awarded winning score
and Gloucester suffered an undeserved sixth defeat at Kingsholm .
The Premiership league programme is now completed and it is over to
the little loved Wild-card competition with Newcastle next to visit
After this injury ravaged, sad and sorry season, I wonder if Gloucester
will be able to field a fully competitive side?
This season has been most notable for too many key players having
been crocked, allowing too many journeymen and young hopefuls, yet
to fulfil their potential, to play but fall short of the required
On a happier note, it was good to see Duggie Woodman, with Phil Vickery
at the match. Those two, with Ollie Azam, really did make up a strong
front row to be reckoned with - a true powerful physical presence.
How times have changed—now is the time for a few team changes.
Clearly the present squad is not strong enough.
J.Goodridge rep.J Forrester
O.Morgan, J.Simpson-Daniel, T.Fanolua rep.A.Page, J.Bailey
N.Wood rep.T.Sigley, M.Davies rep. OAzam, G.Powell
J.Boer rep.P.Buxton, A.Balding, A.Hazell rep. L.Narraway
Referee - D.Rose
Attendance - 13,000
Gloucester 30 Saracens 7 -
Saturday 27 September 2003