Five tries from their guests proved too much for a young Northampton Wanderers side as they fell to Gloucester United in round two of the Premiership Rugby Shield.
Gloucester dominated in the first half at Franklin’s Gardens with scores from Charlie Chapman and Harry Butler putting them ahead at the break, with Wanderers only able to get on the scoreboard through a Tommy Mathews penalty.
The home side galvanised in the second forty, with tries from Robbie Povey and Harry Graham putting them back on the front foot. But Gloucester returned Wanderers’ efforts with scores of their own from Josh Gray, George Barton and Aaron Hinkley sealing the win for the West Country team.
A first defeat of the season for the Wandies.— Northampton Saints 😇 (@SaintsRugby) December 16, 2019
Gloucester were the first to make a sustained attack, working the phases deep in Wanderers’ 22 early on but the home side held firm and after holding them up over the whitewash, regained possession and worked their way up to the pitch.
Mathews knocked a penalty over on the 15-minute mark to get the scoring started but it was Gloucester that crossed the whitewash first – with Henry Walker intercepting off the back of a lineout and feeding Chapman for the score out wide.
In a back and forth first half neither side really found their stride again until just before the break and a series of penalties earned Gloucester territory and eventually the push over score, Butler dotting down the ball over the line with the clock in the red.
The conversion from George Barton took the game into half-time but Wanderers hit straight back after the break with a brilliant score of their own; silky hands from the home side saw the ball move through Mathews and Ryan Olowofela before Povey shot through the middle to score under the sticks.
Mathews added the conversion to bring the game within two but a penalty from Gloucester’s Barton extended the away side’s lead once more.
Wanderers did level things as the game entered the final quarter, with the skipper Mitch Eadie slicing through Gloucester’s line on halfway and finding Graham on his shoulder to finish the job under the posts.
Mathews' conversion to put Wanderers ahead for the first time that evening but the lead was short-lived as Gray powered his way over from short range and Gloucester had the final word on the match too, sending Aaron Hinkley over in the 80th minute to seal the win.