Gloucester battled to a crucial 15-11 win against local rivals Bath in Aviva Premiership on Friday evening at the Recreation Ground
A Dominic Day try plus three points from Tom Homer gave Mike Ford’s men a narrow 8-3 lead at the break
James Hook’s five penalties were enough to secure the win for the Cherry and Whites
BY STEVEN SMITH
James Hook kicked five penalties to deliver Gloucester a crucial win against Bath in the West-Country derby, which was the Cherry and Whites first away win in the Aviva Premiership since on the opening day.
Bath, who were sat pretty in second at this point last season, are winless in 2016 and went into the match in ninth, 15 points off the top four, and although they started positively, they ultimately failed to capitalise upon their first half chances.
Tthe Black, Blue and Whites managed to play the way they love with the ball in hand but despite their dominance went into half-time with just a narrow 8-3 lead compliments of a Dominic Day try and Tom Homer penalty
Gloucester, who during the opening 40 were sloppy in defence and clumsy in attack, steadied themselves after the restart, playing some combative rugby to win a series of penalties, which Hook kicked to give the away side a somewhat unexpected victory.
Both sides were missing players to due to the Six Nations but the disappointed individuals left behind appeared fired up as Bath especially played with a relentless intensity from the very start.
Gloucester, who were under pressure, were then reduced to 14 men after 10 minutes with Tom Savage paying the penalty for the visitors conceding multiple penalties inside their own 22.
The hosts, with the man advantage, only took one minute to profit with Dominic Day dotting down his first Premiership try following a great lineout drive. Homer’s conversion attempt though cannoned off the posts, 5-0.
The fullback though made up for his miss as he slotted over a penalty from in front of the posts to extend the hosts lead to eight points after 20 minutes
James Hook though narrowed the gap for the Cherry and Whites from the tee, closing the deficit to just three points heading into the break, 8-3.
The Cherry and Whites mate a bright start to the second period as Hook fired a second penalty between the posts four minutes after the restart, 8-6.
Homer responded soon after with a strike of his own from 28m out to take Bath’s total to 11 and increase the hosts lead to five points once again.
Hook though steadied himself and sweetly struck the ball between the posts on the 51st minute to once again reducing the deficit to two points, 11-9.
The fly-half again did the business from in front of the posts, 45m out, to give Gloucester a narrow one-point lead before edging the visitors four points clear with yet another penalty.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Gloucester: James Hook
Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Tom Ellis, 21 Alafoti Faosiliva, 22 Niko Matawalu, 23 Max Clark.
Gloucester: 15 Billy Burns, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Bill Meakes, 12Billy Twelvetrees (c), 11 Steve McColl, 10 James Hook, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paddy McAllister.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Nicky Thomas, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Mark Atkinson, 23 Ross Moriarty.
Date: Friday, February 5
Venue: Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Andrew Jackson, Simon McConnell
TMO: Sean Davey