Having driven all the way to Bristol I thought it’d be rude not to check what else was happening in the rugby world in the general area.the local derby between Gloucester and Bath was too good to miss. I bought a ticket in the Mira Stand for £36 a similar sum had bought me a seat on the halfway line at Ashton Gate at Kingsholm I was in the corner beyond the dead ball line.
That proved to be a bit of a nuisance as there were people walking around from minute one of the game blocking the view, having had a bad experience with home fans a couple of years ago I have to say those sitting around me were all lovely, but wow I wished their compatriots had been more interested in the rugby than the beer!
Bath had run into the 2016-17 season without a Head Coach and had lost a number of players in key positions. Todd Blackadder was named as coach at the end of July meaning he was having to hit the ground running. His team certainly did that winning 3 of their first 4 games, including a victory against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens.
Gloucester hadn’t had the best of starts to the season having a draw against Worcester and a Friday night win against Sale Sharks to show for their 4 games. I was at the game as a total neutral and just hoped I’d see a good game, especially considering some of the talent on the field.
The first half certainly didn’t serve up a rugby delight, it did however serve up far too many collapsed and non completed scrums, had this been your first experience at a rugby union game I imagine you wouldn’t be rushing back. Neither team looked like scoring a try and that was in part due to some top defence by the home team. The score was Gloucester 3 Bath 0 at Half time.
With the line up available to Bath, including George Ford it was unlikely to stay that way, he scored a drop goal to bring his team even after 45 minutes before Greig Laidlaw added a penalty to push the home team ahead.
We had the standard kick fest as neither team could break through, George Ford missed a penalty before Bath battered the Gloucester line, the ball came out to Anthony Watson waiting patiently on the line and he stormed in to score the first try of the game and to put Bath ahead for the first time.
Greig Laidlaw missed what looked like 2 kickable penalties 3 minutes apart, I understand he is the main kicker for Gloucester but having missed the first I can’t understand why James Hook who’d made the first penalty didn’t take the second. A try looked unlikely for the home team and bonus points or what would have been winning points at the time are key.
Bath sealed the win with a Matt Banahan try as he found himself unmarked after a scrum, Ford converted the try, having missed the kicker the Watson try and a less than exhilarating game finished with the score on Gloucester 6 Bath 15. Khan Fotuali’i shone for the visitors alongside George Ford, he’s clearly settled in the South West.
One of the bets parts of the afternoon was seeing the Bath players giving autographs and photos to their fans, a real added bonus for those lucky enough.