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.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

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

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific