Reality cheque can wait as Gloucester dream for a day

They may not to have a pot to pee in, but Gloucester do have the Powergen Cup to fill with champagne, scrumpy or whatever nectar of their choosing. Northampton arrived at headquarters with two captains, one for each handle of the trophy, but it ended up in the safe hands of Kingsholm's oldest scrummager in town, Andy Deacon.

At 37 years old, Deacon was a record-breaking elder at the cathedral of the game, and after being sent up to receive the cup, he was joined by team-mates young enough not to remember, or even be on the planet for, Gloucester's last victory in England's most venerable knockout competition. Wet behind the ears they may be, but James Forrester, Marcel Garvey and James Simpson-Daniel knew the way to the goal-line all right, four times over, and Northampton crumbled chasing shadows in the springtime sun.

Forrester had come to Twickenham muttering worrisome words of concern for his clubmates. The top players would be okay, he said – and goodness knows he is surely in that category now after a rip-roaring back-row performance – but those of, say, a middling nature are living season to season: a taped-hand-to- bloodied-mouth existence. The Premiership leaders are in line to complete the double if they survive through to the new play-off final back here on the last day of May, yet are laying off a third of their backroom staff' and reportedly withholding bonuses from their players.

Only in sport.

Tom Walkinshaw, 99 per cent stakeholder and 100 per cent subject of the Gloucester rumour factory, afforded a smile at the final whistle, even if he may be able to afford little else after the collapse of his motor-racing concern. The Scot has insisted the two operations were mutually exclusive. The vista before him was full of familiar chequered flags, though these were in the cherry-red and white of Gloucester's fantastic supporters – 25,000 or thereabouts. It must have been Twickenham's noisiest day, even if the stadium was suffering from truck-driver's syndrome, with half of it getting sunburnt.

Walkinshaw has grown strangely less voluble since relinquishing the chair of Premier Rugby last year, and running his fast cars into a pit-lane. Instead the Scot's mouthpiece has been the doughty director of rugby, Nigel Melville, who wrote Gloucester's "message" in yesterday's programme, whereas Northampton's owner, Keith Barwell, penned the Saints'. Melville only left Wasps when he tired of the state of flux, ditto his assistant Dean Ryan, from Bristol. They have forged a wonderful team in the flight from frying pan to fire.

Undeniably the neutral was happy for Gloucester at the end; extraordinary that they were castigated for their dull, 10-man approach after sharing the cup with Moseley back in 1982. Forrester, who was a year old then, Simpson-Daniel and Garvey still at the twinkling-eye stage, were prepared yesterday to run from anywhere, and it was thrilling to watch. Certainly you had to get by without one of the other senses, with the massed West Country hordes ratcheting up the racket from all sides accordingly. Walkinshaw and the Premier clubs tried to kill off the cup a few seasons ago, since when around 220,000 people have watched the last three finals. Get the picture, chaps?

Beforehand, one Gloucester fan of the big-day-out variety eyed up a Richmond riverside pub, and promised: "I'll be in there later for three pints of that Pimm's stuff." The drinks were on him last night, and, who knows, with the odd nip from Walkinshaw thrown in too.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?