Sunday, December 10, 2006

Props. Princes. Progress?

Gloucester 38 - Edinburgh 22

This was an exciting football match, more thrilling than it should have been considering Gloucester’s dominance of the tight exchanges and other key areas but concluding with the correct result: a win for the city and the cussed Scots departing with pride intact but lacking an important bonus point that would have flattered them. At 14-0 and with the match still in its first quarter I expected a comfortable victory for the city but the game ebbed and flowed, the opposition demonstrated considerable resilience, errors crept into the home team’s game and early in the second half, the score stood at two-and-twenty apiece with all to play for.

Gloucester’s response was necessary, marvellous but fairly unsurprising having seen glimpses of magic all afternoon. In a heady move, it all clicked. A quick-witted Oliver Morgan managed to keep a ball alive deep in the home 22, the young prince, Simpson-Daniel, was released and fifty metres and countless hapless, hopeless defenders having been left clutching air, the oval was deep into enemy territory; swift hands, flat passing and superb support play saw the ball flung right to left, inspirational skipper Bortolami took the ball close to line before an alert Anthony Allen screamed up to gather and sneak deliriously in at the corner. This proved the finest moment of the match but the countless crunching scrums that Gloucester dominated had the purists purring too. The front row of Collazo, Azam and Nieto utterly destroyed their opposite numbers and if the Scots smelt respite when Collazo was replaced on the hour, it was a short-lived sense of relief as one Christian Califano entered stage left and continued to hammer the Scots in the tight. The official man of the match gong went to the noble and stylish ‘Borts’ but my choice would have been any of the three starting front rowers who were as rugged and brutal and effective as any unit I’ve seen at my favoured stadium.

Essentially, the Gloucester club remains in the European Cup and three further wins might just see us through. Allen’s dashing sprint for the corner might well prove decisive and a score of that quality and class would deserve nothing less.

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