LIFE at Cinderford is never dull and the drama certainly continued at Fylde, where our valuables bag was stolen.
We have a kit-man and he works very hard to get the changing rooms set-up and all along at Fylde there was a guy helping us carry the bags and equipment, he was friendly enough and we thought he was just an official.
It was a real conman type job and it’s just really sad that this kind of thing can happen.
You think a rugby club is a safe environment where people can just enjoy the game.
There was a lot of stuff taken; mobile phones, wallets and watches but it’s not just the monetary value it’s the inconvenience of it all and the loss of personal things which are irreplaceable.
We had to give a lot of statements to police after the game and didn’t get back until late with a three and a half hour journey back home to Gloucestershire afterwards.
If anything it serves as a wake-up call for local clubs, across all sports, that no matter where you travel you have to be very cautious.
From now on we will place all our valuables on the secure team bus.
Two points against all odds showed our spirit
WE PICKED up two valuable points on our travels last weekend and I was very pleased with the attitude of the boys and how they stuck in there.
Fylde – especially at home – are a very good side. We haven’t got good history against them and did really well to get the two points.
Tom Hicks, Nev Codlin, Chris Bundy and Adam Balding were all out injured and during the warm-up we lost our captain George Evans to a knee injury.
Mark Davies also hurt his quad and while he was able to start, he lasted just two minutes.
So that was six of our starting line-up out, which makes the achievement of picking up those two bonus-points against a top four team even more commendable.
They’re not long term injuries so we should be okay and if anything it focussed the boys’ minds in Fylde because they knew they were even more up against it.
But the players who stepped in were brilliant and it shows the depth we have here and the benefits of running two squads with United playing a great standard of rugby as well.
But like I said the boys’ attitude was fantastic, they played some good rugby.
The scrum and lineout went very well and they really bounced back with a performance following the disappointment of the previous week.
We had a penalty at the end of the match and could have gone for the match-winning try but kicked the ball out to take the two.
We received a little bit of criticism for that, but earlier in the match we had already got ourselves two points in the bag and conceded an interception try to take us back to one.
We worked very hard to get back within seven, the boys were out on their feet and it wasn’t worth taking that risk.
We are an ambitious team but sometimes you have to be realistic and a bit pragmatic.
If you had offered me two points before kick-off I certainly would have taken it. All the results around us, apart from Tyndale, went our way so our destiny is still very much in our own hands.
This week the bottom six all play against each other so something will happen and there could be a good deal of movement.
We play Loughborough, while Worthing take on Henley and Hull Ionians face Tyndale.
It will be a pivotal weekend but we can only look after what is in front of us and we will do everything possible to get the result.
We are at home so as always we will be confident and just have to put in a performance we know we’re capable of.
They will be up for it, they like to keep the ball and don’t kick a lot. But I’m hopeful that we will get quite a few guys back.
Five reasons why Gloucester should be more than happy
GLOUCESTER have had a lot of issues scoring tries this season but they bagged five and got the win at the weekend, so despite the last 15 minutes they should be happy.
They got what they wanted, which was the win, and picked up a bonus-point as well which will do them a lot of good. They played a lot of good rugby with Jonny May coming back and scoring with his first touch.
You can’t forget the defensive lapses at the end and they have to address them early on but it’s important that they focus on the positives.
You can’t be too negative because the position they are in and the stick they have had this season. I would be looking to encourage the guys and make sure they are still motivated.
Exeter will be smarting from their loss on the weekend and are always very strong at home. Last time Gloucester played them, they were physically bullied, especially in the back-row so they will want to put that right.
But Gloucester can go there with confidence and can leap-frog the Chiefs with a win. It’s a West Country derby so there will be a great atmosphere and hopefully a performance to match.
It's official, I am an oil painting
I LAUNCHED a hunt for memorabilia ahead of the Rugby World Cup with city council leader Paul James and Gloucester mayor Chris Chatterton last Friday, which is being led by local artist Russell Haines.
I used to go to school with Russ, so I know him very well and was honoured to be the first person he has painted in his collection of rugby players with Gloucester heritage ahead of the World Cup.
They’re massive large-scale paintings, which will be exhibited at the City Museum in Brunswick Road. I can say I never expected to see my face exhibited in a museum and was quite shocked when I saw it because of the size of the thing – even for my head!
Adam Balding is the next candidate and hopefully many more Gloucester legends past and present to follow.