Sunday, May 08, 2005

Playing the Wild Card

Gloucester 23 - Newcastle Falcons 16

This was a gritty, determined performance from the Cherry and Whites and, it has to be stated, a match we would probably have lost on the form of six or seven weeks ago. There seems a greater spirit in the team in recent weeks and a great deal of this is down to the return of the no-nonsense McRae at ten who, today, dug deep and sniped away at the Falcons in the second half to carve a rugged victory for the home fifteen. Plenty of other players merit a mention. Adam Balding led from the front bravely and with passion. He carries the ball with vigour and is never content until every last inch has been gained from his possession of it. Adam Eustace appears to have grown in stature in the last few weeks and is putting in more disciplined and mature performances as a result. I enjoy the centre pairing of Simpson-Daniel and Forrester, a lively couple of wires who are always going to create chances. The boy Forrester knows the way to the try line and his brace today proved crucial. The front row won the spoils for the city this afternoon. Nicholas Wood continues to impress, Mefin Davies was his usual consistent self and Gary Powell snatched the man of the match award for his fine all round play.

It was interesting to watch the match on television and witness Mr Tindall sat with Mr Vickery outside a hospitality box. Next season will be fascinating with four new signings – five if one includes the lad Allen, a centre of huge promise it seems - all capable of adding so much to our promising team. The names of Hernandez and Casey keep popping up and if they, too, were added to our roster then we would have a squad to rival that of our league and cup double winning season. I’m reasonably ambivalent about the whole Wildcard scene but feel that our sixth place does merit a Heineken berth. With a stronger bunch of players at the ‘holm for 05/06 I hope we can clinch a win against Saracens next weekend.