Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's not the sort of job I'd do myself, but then I'm not him...

A cataclysmic mix-up involving the hasty texting of a Wedding Present song title to a comrade has dominated the weekend. I meant well. The fall-out may eclipse even the notorious Bryan Adams/Ryan Adams confusion of 2006 that rocked the very fabric of society and still haunts me. The Beth Orton/Beth Gibbons misunderstanding between me and S of four or five years ago came close. Now, that was embarrassing. Ouch.

Gloucester 18 - Newcastle 18

I forlornly meandered to the rugby on my own yesterday and found myself, completely sans self-consciousness, leaping about like a crazed tapir as, ten minutes into injury time, the young prince they call ‘Simpson-Daniel’ scampered cheerfully over for a try that tied the match for the Gloucester club of Gloucester. The EDF Cup fixture against Newcastle ended in an 18-all draw and I would suggest that the home side would feel more satisfied with a result that flatters a lacklustre display. It was, nonetheless, a thrilling ending to a match especially as the Cherries found themselves 18-3 down with less than a quarter of the match remaining. The brave and bloody-minded fight back proffered a rare positive on a day where little else gave cheer. Karl Pryce has surely played his last match for the noble club; the colossal winger lacked pace, positional sense and, seemingly, any tangible clue as to what his job required. He conveniently limped off after thirty minutes and was replaced by the lively and sharp James Bailey but had the coaches dragged him off after ten, I would not have complained nor experienced a modicum of surprise. The line-out was shocking but I suppose that fielding a hooker who was residing in a different hemisphere until midweek helped not. The introduction of the waspish Titterrell after the break improved matters to an extent but this is an area that requires urgent action. There were positives though. Chris Paterson enjoyed his first start in the ten shirt and produced a no-frills display of sharp and considered passing and intelligent kicking. He should remain first choice with the steady Walker as back-up; the youngster Lamb has produced a series of fairly interesting cameos but has failed to really ‘boss’ a match for a good while. The fabulous match against Wasps where his prodigious skills lit up Kingsholm took place the season before last; since then this scribe has felt rather underwhelmed by the fellow. The mature Paterson is a class above and I felt authentic relief that now we actually have a stand-off who can dominate matches and bring out the best in the massive talent that surrounds him. Elsewhere I enjoyed Balshaw’s skill and confidence at full back and some of his work with the incredible Simpson-Daniel was electrifying. Lines-out aside, the pack produced a fairly no-nonsense performance but we miss the terrier Hazell badly; the Fijian Qera produced a couple of scintillating runs but, possibly, didn’t do as much of the dirty work that ‘Haze’ gets down to with such unselfishness. I think the team needs to improve a great deal to do itself justice in the Heineken Cup and the addition to the matchday 22 of such luminaries as Tindall, Morgan, Nieto, Buxton and Azam will help.

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