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Glos v Bath

ZP February 8th 2003

I forgot to say when penning my piece on last week's match (Sarries v Glos) that the line-out had been spot on, with Glos winning 100% of their own throw-ins and even nicking a couple of Sarries'. Back to normal this week unfortunately. The line-out used to be one of our strong points but these days it's well below par in most matches. Just as well we're good at everything else.

This game was top versus bottom but you would hardly have thought so from the strong display from Bath. Who would have dreamt even as recently as a couple of years ago that Bath would ever be at the bottom of the table at any point in a season!
Well, from this performance it's hard to figure out why. The Bath forwards matched Glos in all the set pieces and the maul. Their line-out was excellent, much better than ours, and when Mike Catt had the ball he was virtually unstoppable, scoring 2 drop goals in the process.

Glos dominated the first quarter and had several spells of pressure in the Bath 22. Stout defence from Bath plus the occasional lackadaisical moment however prevented Glos from crossing the try line. Ludo landed 2 penalties and the ever alert Mike Catt dropped a goal to take the score to Glos 6 - Bath 3.
In the second quarter, Glos had a series of attacking scrums very close to the try-line. At one scrum Gomars was caught napping but was let off the hook by a Bath knock-on. You wouldn't have thought he'd fall for the same mistake twice but at the next scrum the same thing happened and Bath took the ball way down field with a superb Mike Catt break. Glos scrambled back and seemed to have stopped the try but Borthwick scored from the next passage of play. The conversion took the score to Glos 6 - Bath 10. The match was closely fought from this point to the break. Ludo landed one more penalty but missed another from almost half-way to take the half-time score to Glos 9 - Bath 10.

At the start of the second half Glos looked more alert and used their one man advantage (Mallet had been sin-binned in first half injury time) to score a push over try from Azam. Ludo (who was having an excellent day with all aspects of kicking play) slotted the conversion. Mike Catt landed another drop goal to take the score to Glos 16 - Bath 13. Bath continued to fight hard and play good rugby. Another exchange of penalties took the score to Glos 19 - Bath 16. With full time approaching, Ludo landed another penalty; but at only 6 points adrift it was still feasible for Bath to take the game and cause a major upset. However it wasn't to be their day. Just into injury time, Marcel score a try. Even though the conversion was from very wide, Ludo landed the 2 points. Bath continued to play for another score, but time ran out and they were denied the losing bonus point.

Final score : Glos 29 - Bath 16

The score slightly flatters Glos. Bath were unlucky not to leave with at least a point. They played very well and Mike Catt was outstanding. In fact I make him the man of the match even though he was on the losing side and it's very rare that I award man of the match to the opposition.

Glos didn't play badly. They had some good spells of play and certainly the "dog"was there. Ludo had an excellent game. His kicking was brilliant and he was very alert in the loose. In fact he ran Mike Catt a close second for man of the match. The Glos team on the whole though did looked a tad tired and it's good that they now have a well earned rest (3 weeks) before their next match. The next match being the Powergen Cup semi final against Leicester which will be every interesting.

Finally, on this evidence I think Bath will escape relegation and I certainly hope they do. We couldn't do without playing them at least twice a season.
Last words of all - well done Mr. Spreadbury, good refereeing.

Ernie C.