Sunday, January 27, 2008


Gloucester 18 - Wasps 17

Afore the three of the clock kick-off time, I had resigned myself to defeat. A series of lacklustre performances, including last weekend’s rather stilted victory against Ulster – a whole province – had led to a pessimistic disposition and a furrowed brow. Wasps’ recent ejection from the Heineken Cup worried me too: an angered striped and buzzing insect oft spells danger. As it happened, the noble city club known fondly as ‘Gloucester’ performed admirably and with commendable passion. The bullish William James enjoyed a splendid match of chargin’, carryin’ and doin’ the basics extremely well. His colleague Gareth Delve aided and abetted in the strong-arm stuff superbly and it was marvellous to watch the scampering terrier Andrew Hazell back in action. The match proved almost to be the proverbial ‘game of two halves’. Gloucester’s half-time 12-3 lead edged upwards to 18-3 almost immediately after the orange segments had been devoured. Then appeared the long-awaited Waspish backlash, swarms of nasty attacks bamboozling the hosts, leading to a brace of well-taken tries. With a quarter of an hour remaining, the Kingsholm outfit led 18-17 and the hearts of lions were called for. Sterling defence kept the visitors out, especially five minutes from the end when a raid almost reached the tryline. A penalty awarded for – I believe – holdin’ onto the oval was cleared for touch, the resulting line-out was snaffled and a series of pick ‘n’ drives succeeded beautifully in running the clock down. The baying noise emanating from the popular side was mighty as a triumphant crowd urged its heroes to victoire. Hurrah indeed!

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