Glos 40 - Matt 22

I'm late back reporting with this one because we made a weekend of it and spent a couple of days in the Metropolis. An excellent result. A great display from Glos. Twickers was rolling. The best atmosphere I've ever encountered there. One of the Sunday papers commented (possibly the Express) that this was one of those rare times when a capacity Head Quarters was full of genuine rugby supporters. Couldn't have had a better view either. I requested tickets in the middle tier as close to the halfway line as possible. My seat was right on the halfway line and in the third row of the middle tier. So well done and thank you to our admin staff at GRFC.

Early on Saturday morning, as it was such a sunny day we set off to walk the 4 miles to Twickenham from where we were staying. En route a Twickenham bus arrived just as we were passing a bus stop so we hopped on. As I got to the top deck to take a seat there was a huge cheer (I've never had that effect on people before). I was wearing my Glos shirt and I suddenly realised there were about half a dozen Glos fans (also sporting Glos shirts) already on the bus. This set the mood for the day as everyone was laughing and joking and already enjoying themselves. Such was the mood, I think even if we'd lost it would have only slightly marred the weekend.

The West Car Park was a sea of food and beer tents. There was a variety of fare on offer. You could even have had a bottle of bollie if you were willing to fork out upwards of 40 quid. Fish & chips followed by beer sufficed for us.

We took our seats around 3:20 and watched the last quarter of the Orrell - Exeter game. Despite a spirited comeback from Exeter, Orrell ran out 26-20 winners. Orrell deserved their win but it would have been nice to see an Exeter victory as ex Glos player & legend Dave Sims was in their side.

After this match we had about 45 minutes to wait before the big one. As the players came out to warm up the noise from the Glos fans was tremendous. The amount of cherry and white in the stadium was spectacular. It looked and sounded like at least half the sell-out crowd was made up of Glos fans.

On to the match itself. A display of fireworks greeted the teams then after the National Anthem it was down to business. Both teams were alert and very keen to play running rugby. The first score was a Grayson penalty for Northampton. Almost immediately afterwards an uncharacteristic mistake form Dawson and a bit of confusion amongst the other Saints players allowed James Simpson-Daniel to pick up the resulting loose ball and score a very easy try which Ludo duly converted. A Ludo drop-goal then took the score to Glos 10 - Saints 3. Although Glos had the majority of possession and territory, a succession of fumbles and silly penalties allowed Saints to close the gap to 10-9 due to the ever-reliable boot of Grayson. Then Fidler got sin-binned for killing the ball and Saints scored a try. Grayson made a fine break then Nick Beal evaded the Glos defence to score under the posts. This gave Saints a 16-10 lead and with Fidler still off the park I thought perhaps they'd pile on the points. They scrapped well on any loose ball and stole a lot of ball in turnovers, but apart from the Nick Beal try they didn't make many forays into the Glos 22.
Forrester had a great game evading tackles and he set up Garvey for the second Glos try. Again Ludo converted for Glos to retake the lead at 17-16. Ludo had a good day with the boot all round although he did miss touch on a few occasions in the first half when Glos were playing into a strong breeze.
After 2 more Saints penalties and one from Glos the half time score was 22-20 in Northampton's favour.

Just a few minutes into the second half Forrester scored a try, which was converted by Ludo. Such was the defence from both teams that the score remained at Glos 27 - Saints 22 until the final quarter. Paul Grayson of all people was sin-binned for an early tackle on Henry Paul. Ludo landed the resulting penalty but then missed another. Glos were awarded yet another penalty just into their own half and Ludo decided to go for the sticks. He landed a monster kick to take the 3 points and with only 10 minutes remaining Glos had opened up an 11 point lead.
Northampton then proceeded to apply pressure in the Glos 22, but the game was taken out of their reach by a 4th Glos try. Ludo intercepted Dawson's pass to run from the 22 unopposed into the Saints half. He was beginning to run out of steam when JSD was on hand to collect the pass and score the try. With the conversion landed again, it took the final score to Glos 40 - Saints 22.

It was a thrilling game and both teams played well. Glos though had the upper hand throughout the match and the final score is a true reflection of their superiority on the day.

Before the event I'd thought that the match could have gone either way as Northampton are such a good team, and in light of their 3 previous Cup finals I thought they may be so up for this game that there'd be no stopping them. However Glos were magnificent, outscoring Northampton 4 tries to 1. All our tries came from 3 ex academy players. Just 2 years ago I watched them play in an academy cup final against Bath. Just proves the importance of the academy therefore that these guys are now in the senior side scoring the tries in the Senior Cup.

Man of the match : The whole squad - I cannot single out anyone after such a brilliant performance.
Most memorable part of the day : seeing the lads let Andy Deacon collect the trophy - nice touch.
A couple of records were set re Twickers Cup Finals:-
Deacs is the oldest player to play one and Marcel is the youngest player to score a try.

Finally ….. This current Glos squad is superb and has been for nigh on 3 years. This season has been terrific so far and it will end as the best ever season if Glos manage to maintain their No. 1 spot in the league right to the end. What a shame therefore that there are problems behind the scenes (redundancies at the club and rumours of financial problems). It would be a real travesty should any of that jeopardise future success.