Rugby Union: Dooley goes with the flow

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The Independent Online
Gloucester. . . . . .9

London Irish. . . . 10

A BIT of wood and a ton of Irish grit deprived Gloucester of their first league win of the season - the penalty that would have snatched the lead hit the post literally in the last second.

But apart from this traditional luck of the Irish, it was their sheer determination and fire which really compounded the home gloom. In truth, Gloucester never even deserved a sniff of victory. They produced not a suggestion of a coherent attack let alone a well-wrought try. All their points came from the boot. Indeed, they might be ideal contestants for Mastermind - lots of points with no passes.

London Irish produced the only flowing rugby and might well have scored two more tries than the single one that graced the game. They did not because final passes failed to go to hand in a flurry of haste.

Gloucester crumbled in the scrum. The front row was bent double, often collapsing and conceding either a penalty or a strike against the head. In the tight, they were shunted back; in the loose, they lumbered about listlessly.

The backs looked leaden- footed, never more so than when the Irish centre Dan Dooley hinted at a sidestep and threw open a gap wide enough for him to stride under the posts.

In Gloucester they are not quite panicking about the prospect of Second Division football yet. They remain convinced that the extended league fixture list still offers opportunities for victories to turn up. On yesterday's evidence, though, it is difficult to see where they will come from.

London Irish brought a bugler whose rendition of 'Cockles and Mussels' from the stand raised the biggest cheer of the day. The 'Last Post' might have been better.

Gloucester: M Roberts; T Smith, P Holford, D Cummins, M Nicholson; P Beech, M Hannaford; P Jones, J Hawker, R Phillips, R West, D Sims, R Fowke, I Smith (capt), S Masters.

London Irish: R Hennessy; R Henderson, S Burns, D Dooley, M Corcoran; P Burke, R Saunders; N Donovan, R Kellam, G Halpin, A Higgins, M Keenan, P Collins (capt), R Jenkins, A Verling.

Referee: A Spreadbury (Somerset).

Scores: Burke (pen, 4 min, 0-3); Dooley/ Burke (try/conv, 15 min, 0-10); Roberts (pen, 19 min, 3-10); Roberts (pen, 35 min, 6-10); Roberts (pen, 45 min, 9-10).

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