Despite trailing by one at half time, the Wanderers scored 29 points in the second forty to take the 2016/17 Aviva ‘A’ League title with a 36-8 win over Gloucester United in front of a noisy Franklin’s Gardens.
Twenty minutes of scoreless rugby started this year’s final before Gloucester began the scoring. Lloyd Evans broke through the Wanderers line and offloaded to his support runner Carwyn Penny for the score.
Tom Collins raced down the left wing on the restart to get the Wanderers back in contention but Gloucester were awarded a penalty at the breakdown just after.
Tom Kessell then dinked off the back of a maul before offloading to Collins. The winger dinked past Gloucester’s defence but was taken down by the last man just two metres short. At a lineout in the next play, the Wanderers mauled up to the line again and a chip and chase from Kessell nearly got them the score but Gloucester’s Ed Bogue just got a hand to the ball first.
After pressure from the Wanderers’ forwards in Gloucester’s 22 Saints Academy youngster Fraser Strachan drove through Gloucester’s defence before offloading to Rory Hutchinson for the Wanderers’ first score. Olver’s conversion saw the home side lead before Evans sent a penalty through to put Gloucester a point ahead moments later.
Evans lined up for the posts with two minutes left of the first half after Gloucester had pressured in the Wanderers’ half, he sent his kick wide, however, and the travelling side ended the half just one ahead despite dominating the pressure.
Metronome kicking from Olver got the Wanderers back ahead with three successive penalties and calmed the home side somewhat.
A brilliant turn over from Lewis Ludlam after an overthrown lineout from Gloucester. The back row barged through the away side’s defence and got the ball away to Ben Nutely for a brilliant all forwards score. Olver, on the money with the boot again, stretched the Wanderers’ lead to 15.
The Wanderers nearly got close to another score in the next play with Collins and James Wilson linking up on the right but Gloucester got back to dot down over the line.
Olver lined up for the posts on the hour mark with a scrum penalty and, as with all his others that afternoon up to this point, converted his kick.
The Wanderers scored their third through a beautiful bit of play from Kessell and Collins; the former dinking through a grubber for the latter to score in the corner.
Alex Mitchell started the Wanderers fourth. The replacement scrum half sliced through the Gloucester line before wannabe winger Michael Paterson skipped up the right. The ball eventually came wide for Collins and his second of the afternoon.
Gloucester had the last word score-wise, sending Ollie Thorley over in the final minute but the Wanderers had done enough to comfortably secure the win and the 2016/17 Aviva ‘A’ League title.
WANDERERS Grayson; Wilson, Pisi, Hutchinson, Collins, Olver, Kessell; Waller, Clare, Ilnicki, Paterson, Onojaife, Nutley, Ludlam, Dickinson
Subs – Fish, Ma’afu, Parkins, Moon, Allman, Mitchell, Strachan, Dinwall
GLOUCESTER Protheroe; Bogue, Thorley, Hudson, Robinson, Evans, Vellacott; Orr, Walker, Knight, Beckett, Batley, Safe, Thomas, Clarke
Subs – Haly, Seville, McNulty, Kalamafoni, Wilson, Randall, Penny, Seabrook
20 mins GLOUCESTER Try Penny 0-5
33 mins WANDERERS Try Hutchinson Con Olver 7-5
34 mins GLOUCESTER Pen Evans 7-8
HALF TIME Wanderers 7 Gloucester 8
43 mins WANDERERS Pen Olver 10-8
46 mins WANDERERS Pen Olver 13-8
50 mins WANDERERS Pen Olver 16-8
55 mins WANDERERS Try Nutley Con Olver 23-8
62 mins WANDERERS Pen Olver 26-8
66 mins WANDERERS Try Collins 31-8
73 mins WANDERERS Try Collins 36-8
79 mins GLOUCESTER Try Thorley Con Evans 36-15
FULL TIME Wanderers 36 Gloucester 15