Callard kicks life into Bath

Bath 19 Gloucester 10

RICHARD HILL has pulled many rabbits out of the hat since he left Bath to become director of rugby at Gloucester, but he has not yet produced any genuine ferrets. Gloucester gave the favourites a good run around in the second half, leaving them worryingly dependent on the penalties that Jonathan Callard had kicked to buttress their lead. But although Gloucester kept harrying Bath, they did not have sharp enough teeth to wound them fatally.

Nor, it has to be said, were they quite fit enough to keep up the pressure on a Bath side which looked rather as though they had been through a little too much rugby this season. This could be the first time that Bath reach the final without coming away with the Cup.

This was a great West Country occasion. Bath and Gloucester have much the same affection for each other as Cardiff and Swansea, Liverpool and Manchester, and Edinburgh and Glasgow. Gloucester would dearly have liked to be playing this tie in the close-packed fervour of Kingsholm, where no opponent's motives are pure and no referee has ever been born in wedlock. But they brought their own atmosphere with them, and since the home crowd at the Rec is not totally dispassionate, the growling roar that greeted the sides would have done justice to the Coliseum. And not the one in St Martin's Lane.

The early stages, as might be expected, brought work for the physios and points for the kickers. The worst clash, of heads, was between the two Gloucester props, Tony Windo and Andy Deacon, and the most improbable disagreement came when Callard was penalised for grappling with the Gloucester second-row Dave Sims. But Callard's reinstatement as full-back, with Mike Catt a reluctant stand-off for the indisposed Richard Butland, paid for itself when he kicked a sure-footed penalty on either side of Martyn Kimber's drop goal for Gloucester. Callard added another two before the interval when Bath, for all the increasing involvement of their backs, led 12-3, all from the boot.

The second half was another game. Bath got a penalty out of the kick- off, mis-tapped it along the ground, and from these unpromising beginnings Adedayo Adebayo barged through Sims and on down the left touchline for a try in the corner. Callard, who could do no wrong - this is not a moral judgement - converted from the widest angle, and it looked as though Gloucester were about to be swamped.

But only for a minute. Immediately Gloucester worked their way back upfield, and again from a tapped penalty, but closer to the line, their scrum-half, Scott Benton, burrowed his way over. Mark Mapletoft converted to restore the situation. For a spell it was Gloucester who forced the pace, and if Mapletoft had brought off his next two penalty attempts, and Kimber his second drop at goal, they would have had Bath in real trouble.

As it was, Bath kept Gloucester out in a state of barely controlled nervousness, anxious to improve their position without taking the elementary precautions to clear their line. Gloucester, though, did not have the armoury to take advantage of Bath's near-paralysis, or the confidence to persist with kicks at goal. So the last period of play passed almost by default.

Bath: J Callard; J Sleightholme, P de Glanville (capt), J Guscott, A Adebayo; M Catt, A Nicol; D Hilton, G Dawe, V Ubogu, M Haag, N Redman, A Robinson, S Ojomoh, B Clarke.

Gloucester: M Mapletoft; M Peters, D Caskie, M Roberts, M Lloyd; M Kimber, S Benton (B Fenley, 55); T Windo, P Greening, A Deacon, R Fidler, D Sims (capt), P Glanville, I Smith, C Raymond.

Referee: E Morrison (Somerset).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss