Broken wrist means Vickery misses trip to Dublin

Gloucester 17 - Bath 16
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The Independent Online

England were dealt a double blow at Kingsholm yesterday. Gloucester's prop Phil Vickery suffered a fractured wrist during the first half of a hard-fought West Country derby and will be out for at least a month. The centre Olly Barkley pulled out of the Bath team before the match with a calf strain picked up in training on Friday.

England were dealt a double blow at Kingsholm yesterday. Gloucester's prop Phil Vickery suffered a fractured wrist during the first half of a hard-fought West Country derby and will be out for at least a month. The centre Olly Barkley pulled out of the Bath team before the match with a calf strain picked up in training on Friday.

Vickery left the field after half an hour . He was taken to hospital fairly promptly and was due for an operation as soon as possible. He will be out for a minimum of six weeks. His loss to the England front row will be felt greatly.

Much later, Vickery's team-mate Henry Paul, another member of the England squad, limped out of the action, although he did not look to be in too much trouble. He and Barkley will be examined by the England medical team at their Pennyhill Park base.

But despite the losses euphoria ruled the day, because Gloucester managed to end a horrific run against their local rivals. And they did so in dramatic fashion, the replacement fly-half Brad Davies casually landing a 45-metre drop goal in the third minute of added time. Davies had been on for two minutes as a replacement for Paul.

The relief of the home fans among the sell-out crowd was vociferously expressed. The Cherry and Whites had lost their last five Premiership meetings to Bath and a couple of times yesterday looked as if they were going to concede a third consecutive league double. But they held on, and just to rub it in Gloucester's footballers also defeated Bath, 2-1 in a Doctor Marten's League fixture.

The absence of Barkley hit Bath hard, as did the late withdrawal of their centre Andrew Higgins, so their fighting performance was all the more creditable. And they did scavenge a losing bonus point.

Gloucester had dropped their club captain Jake Boer as they tried to put their annihilation against Harlequins two weeks ago behind them. The collective punishment clearly had the desired effect, but they made hard work of victory, given the way they dominated possession and territory, especially in the first half.

For all that Gloucester's opening try was a beauty, the ball passing through half a dozen pairs of hands as the home side cut through the rookie Bath backs. Paul, who might benefit if England players keep dropping out like this - presuming he is fit enough himself - launched the move with a well timed pass to Terry Fanolua, who promptly found the left wing Seti Kiole. James Simpson-Daniel got in on the act before finding Kiole on a loop that tore a gaping hole out on the left and Fanolua wrapped up a great move. Paul missed the conversion, though.

Thereafter Gloucester allowed Bath to come back at them a little too much for their own good, and after some concerted pressure and a drive off a line-out in the 36th minute James Scaysbrook peeled off the back of a maul and scurried through an obliging hole in the opposition line. Chris Malone's conversion wrested the lead from the home team.

Paul thumped over a penalty two minutes later, but that lead went the way of the others as Malone nosed Bath ahead again in added time. The pair exchanged two more penalties after the interval before Davies struck with that telling drop goal.

Gloucester: J Goodridge; M Garvey, J Simpson-Daniel, T Fanolua, S Kiole; H Paul (B Davies, 80), A Gomarsall; N Wood, M Davies, P Vickery (capt; T Sigley 29), A Eustace, A Brown, J Forrester, A Balding, A Hazell (N Curnier, 70-76).

Bath: M Perry; A Williams, T Cheeseman, R Davis, J Maddock; C Malone, N Walshe; M Stevens, L Mears, D Bell, S Borthwick (capt), D Grewcock (R Fidler, 76), G Lewis, I Feaunati (G Delve, 76), J Scaysbrook.

Referee: D Pearson (Northumberland).

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