Back to List Next PageGloucester edge out Bristol for hat-trick victory

Memorial Ground                       Zurich Premiership                              Sunday 21 April 2002
Bristol 40 Gloucester 41

THE bad news is that Gloucester conceded 40 points for the third match in a row. The good news is that this time the Cherry and Whites managed a win away from home - even if it was by the narrowest of margins - in a point a minute match. After the debacle at Northampton Gloucesterís defence was in better shape this week and although Bristol managed four tries, two of them were simple gifts, scored more by luck than judgement.
    Nine tries in any match generally leads for entertaining end to end rugby and this West Country local derby was no exception. The lead changed hands five times, with Bristol in front three times, before Gloucester sealed victory through two late long range drop goals from Ludovic Mercier.
    Coming on top of two tries from top man Junior Paramore and after having previously beaten Bristol in the Powergen Cup, this was just enough to earn the visitors their second victory at the Memorial Stadium and Gloucesterís third deserved win over their local rivals this season.
    When it really mattered the home side could not contain the Gloucester forwards. How good it is to see Woodman, Azam and Vickery back in the starting line up once again as they really do make a big difference and produced true Herculean efforts. Gloucester did what they do best. They drove hard through the forwards and set up their tries from close quarters.
    Koli Sewabu starting a Premiership game for the first time in a long time - his previous start versus Leeds at Kingsholm back in the first week in December - produced another strong game in the back row.
    The match started at a frantic pace and there were soon bodies littered all over the field as play was frequently interrupted by stoppages for injuries. Fly half Shane Drahm was the first Bristol player to depart within ten minutes bringing Felipe Contepomi from the centre to replace him.
    The Cherry and Whites took an early lead from a controlled scrum for a push over try for Koli Sewabu to score. Ludo added the conversion and shortly afterwards slotted a penalty. After some Bristol pressure Comtepomi got Bristol on the scoreboard with a penalty before the home side profited with some large chunks of good fortune.
    Firstly a pass from full back Lee Best rebounded off winger David Rees to way down-field. Gloucesterís players waited for the referee to blow up for a knock-on. Referee Tony Spreadbury thought otherwise and Best ran through unopposed to score under the posts.

    Comtepomi duly converted and then proceeded to intercept a pass from Andy Gomarsall meant for Ludo on the blind side, to score in the corner. He converted from the touchline and suddenly Bristol were in front at 17-10.
    Gloucester then worked hard up front to get their act back together with powerful drives to the Bristol line before Andy Gomarsall dived over the pile up to secure an unconverted try. Contepomi and Ludo exchanged further penalties before the end of a prolonged injury strewn first half with the home side in front at 20-18.
    Bristol soon added to their lead with a well worked converted try for centre Jamie Williams before he too left the field nursing an injury.
    Gloucester cranked up their forward effort and pressure on the Bristol pack was finally rewarded when skipper Phil Vickery forced his way over to get a try in his first start since March 9. The strong wind was enough to deny Ludo the extra points.
    Gloucesterís pack was really on song and no one more so than No.8 Junior Paramore who gave an inspired performance to claim two tries and so nearly a third, to put the visitors back in the lead.
    Comtepomi added another penalty but it was then up to the left foot of Ludo. Twice he missed out with attempted drop goals before two long range efforts found the mark to give Gloucester an eight point lead going into injury time.
    Bristol did come back at the death with a score for the highly rated Phil Christophers but Gloucester were not to be denied as both sides earned their bonus points. After a week when the Gloucesterís team let themselves down in London and Northampton, the side seems to have recovered an appetite for the game and the desire to win.
    Nigel Melville now seems to have instilled some semblance of team discipline and order back in the side after the shambles of last week, Gloucester now need to concentrate and be consistent.


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