Individuals shine in testing arena

The Ospreys' comprehensive victory over Bristol meant that Gloucester were unable to qualify for the semi-finals of the EDF Energy Cup, despite a 30-12 win over an unfamiliar-looking Bath side at Kingsholm.

As Steve Meehan had said earlier in the week, for Bath, it was a useful opportunity for individual players to get some game time and make a case for selection, and after the match, the Acting Head Coach said he was pleased with the performance.

"I quite enjoyed that. The guys really put in, and some of our young guys had a very good match. Gloucester had a good side out there tonight. Chev Walker looked pretty comfortable at outside centre and Dave Ward is an industrious player and was very busy."

Although Bath made a lively start, the concession of a penalty allowed Gloucester to kick for a lineout in the Bath 22. The young pack just withstood the driving maul that followed but two more penalties gave the home side another chance. With a third, they opted for the scrum, and when the front row stood up, the referee awarded a penalty try, which Willie Walker converted.

Bath rallied from this early setback, and put together a number of phases that edged them closer to the Gloucester line. Unfortunately, a penalty at the breakdown allowed Gloucester to clear their lines. And it was Gloucester who scored next, through Adam Balding, after patient build-up work allowed the No 8 to muscle over.

As the half hour approached, Bath found themselves within spitting distance of the Gloucester line again, and they attacked from a five-metre scrum, but the move broke down when the ball was knocked on and played in an offside position in midfield, and Gloucester cleared the danger.

However, a lovely break by Tom Cheeseman, followed up by Michael Stephenson, took play back into the home team's 22. Malone, the match captain, had been opting to kick penalties to touch, and after two in succession, debutant Dan Parkes stretched over after a lineout to score.

Gloucester signed off the half with a successful penalty kick taken from in front of the posts by fly-half Walker, when Bath strayed offside. Walker had the opportunity to open the second-half tally, with a penalty kick for coming in on the wrong side, but surprisingly he missed. Minutes later, superb work by Dave Ward snaffled Gloucester ball as the Kingsholm crowd egged them towards the tryline, and Jonny Faamatuianu showed excellent pace and handling to take play over halfway. Unfortunately, David Bory could not hold on to the Samoan's pass.

A try for each side after ten minutes of the half set the game alight, First James Merriman finished off a move that had begun in his own territory, the ball having given Jack Adams and Karl Pryce space to get behinds the Bath defence. But they rued kicking the ball to Ian Davey, for the wing, back from injury, fielded it with ease, ran into midfield and passed to Stephenson in support. The full-back passed onto Faamatuainu, and with the defence in disarray, Cheeseman strolled over for a try, which Malone converted.

The game was breaking up rather, but Walker calmly struck a penalty for Gloucester when Ward was penalised at a ruck, and indeed sin-binned for his efforts. Gloucester did not take long to capitalise further on their man advantage, for Walker soon dived over for a try, to give his side a bonus point.

8: Penalty try Gloucester, Conversion Walker, 7-0
18: Try Balding, Con Walker, 14-0
37: Try Parkes, 14-5
40+5: Penalty Walker, 17-5
51: Try Merriman, 22-5
55: Try Cheeseman, Con Malone, 22-12
67: Pen Walker, 25-12
71: Try Walker, 30-12

BATH: 15. M Stephenson 14. I Davey (Cuthbert, 73) 13. C Walker 12. T Cheeseman 11. D Bory 10. C Malone (captain) 9. PTravagli (Williams, 56) 1. D Parkes (Barnes, 53) 2. D Ward (sin-bin: 66-78) 3. L Ovens 4. D Smith (Miller, 33) 5. R Fidler 6. H Louw 7. J Faamatuainu (Brooker, 69) 8. C Goodman (Bentall, 79)

Replacements: 16. C Brooker 17. D Barnes 18. J Bentall 19. J Miller 20. A Williams 21. J Cuthbert 22. M Mangeolles

GLOUCESTER: 15. O Morgan 14. K Pryce 13. J Adams (Simpson-Daniel, 56)12. M Tindall (captain) 11. M Foster 10. W Walker 9. H Thomas (Lawson, 61)1. P Collazo (Forster, 23-29) 2. R Elloway (McMillan, 78) 3. C Nieto 4. W James 5. J Pendlebury (Eustace, 62) 6. J Boer (Brown, 72) 7. J Merriman 8. A Balding

Replacements: 16. R McMillan 17. J Forster 18. A Eustace 19. A Brown 20. R Lawson 21. B Davies 22. J Simpson-Daniel

Referee: D Pearson
Attendance: 7,459

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