I congratulate my favoured rugby union team on a hard-fought but merited victory over a spirited and hard-running Newcastle this afternoon. Gloucester are much improved from the ramshackle rabble that proffered mediocre fare earlier this term and I am delighted to note a considerable improvement in handling skills, commitment and forward grunt. Despite a tricky twenty minute period in the first half when the visiting side conspired to play some keen and incisive football, the city club won plenty of the key confrontations and offered a fairly simple gameplan that lacked a touch of ambition but made the hard yards, forced mistakes and clinched crucial penalty decisions. Oliver Morgan made a pleasing return to the side and this supporter welcomed his strong running, purposeful chasing and trademark catching acumen. We’ve missed him. Elsewhere, Rory Lawson enjoyed a busy match and linked generally well with half-back partner Nicky Robinson. The ebullient centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu was probably the outstanding back with several sniping runs at the heart of the Newcastle defence while ‘Big’ Dave Attwood took a further stride towards a deserved ‘Player of the Season’ gong with another towering performance in the ‘engine room’. I am encouraged but not carried away by my side’s recent form. The spectre of relegation appears to have abated for the time being and has been replaced by the mundane but comforting cosiness of mid-table respectability. Time will tell if a top six finish beckons; if Gloucester can salvage Heineken Cup qualification from such an unpromising autumn it shall be an achievement of epic proportions.