Precious away win made it perfect start to the year
I WAS really happy to start the New Year with a win, especially away from home and there was a lot of pressure upon us.
Hull Ionians have not won a lot of games, the clubs around us have beaten them and we had to make sure we did the same.
We really haven’t done well on the road, with no away wins until now so it was great to get that monkey off our back.
It was a really gritty performance and we put a few pieces together in the second-half that won us the game.
Mark Davies kicked his goals and kept the scoreboard ticking over so we were quite comfortable in the end.
You could see the lack of confidence in the boys against Hull. Nobody wanted to make mistakes and it was error-strewn because there was so much pressure.
But winning that game will do us a world of good and hopefully we can now push on.
Adam Balding played well after taking a bang to his neck against Coventry and we were fortunate to have a week off so he could recover.
He brings experience, is getting to know all the guys and having another voice in the changing rooms really helps. He brings physicality, especially in defence and will only get better.
There are areas of the game we need to work on and we face a very different challenge at Doncaster this Saturday which will be tough.
It’s the reverse of last week and there will be less pressure on us but we will still approach the game expecting to do something.
They’re at home and they’re outright favourites for promotion.
They’re set-up on a Championship budget, operate on a full-time professional basis.
But all the pressure is on them and they have already lost three times this season which is testament to the quality of this league.
They did a job on us at home through pure physicality but we have vastly improved as a team since then and we will go into Saturday with a lot more confidence to deliver a performance.
We can’t train at Cinderford because of the water-logged pitch but have been using the all-weather surfaces at St Peter’s and Hartpury College.
We always train at Hartpury on a Tuesday and it was quite a challenge getting 30 odd lads there with Maisemore being cut off by the floods.
But it’s a great facility to use and the boys love it there.
Lawrence Dallaglio and Austin Healey were wide of the mark
I WAS very upset with the likes of Austin Healy and Lawrence Dallaglio who were quite scathing about the Gloucester performance against Saracens.
The Cherry and Whites have some issues and are going through a tough time but their clubs – certainly Dallaglio’s – have been through the same and come out the other end.
They are paid to give an opinion but hearing Dallaglio say this is the worst Gloucester team in ten years is upsetting because it is simply not true.
And for Healy to say the Kingsholm crowd could start to walk away is a complete disgrace.
As disappointing as the match was the only time I shouted at the TV was when he started talking because it was ill-informed rubbish.
I just wish they had more respect but perhaps that’s just my perspective.
The Shed faithful have turned up to watch far worse teams with more than 10,000 every week. They are incredibly loyal, passionate, always have a voice and will always turn up in droves.
It started badly against Sarries and at home there’s a lot of pressure on Gloucester to deliver.
Mark McCall would have been drumming that into his troops ahead of kick off and telling them to pile on the pressure straight from kick-off.
I thought Gloucester would have a bit more confidence after their recent wins and you can’t escape the fact it was bitterly disappointing.
But you also have to remember they were playing the best coached and prepared team in the league, who boast 95 per cent internationals.
Saracens are one of the best teams I have seen in the professional era – their efficiency, speed, composure and willingness to work for each other is so impressive.
They are leading the way for the Premiership and if they don’t win it they will kick themselves.
The pressure is certainly mounting on Nigel Davies but I’m a huge fan and having spoken to him and heard his plans, I will always back him.
In 18-months to two years’ time Nigel will have his own team with his own stamp and only then can you judge the coaches.
One of the biggest talking points following the Saracens game was Gloucester’s apparent lack of fire and passion
Part of my Cinderford pre-match talk last week came after watching ‘Lions Roar’ over Christmas.
It really struck me how these guys are the best out there but they still have to put their body on the line and have that desire and hunger to play for the badge and history of it.
They still have that heart, desire and hunger. I’m not saying Gloucester don’t have it but there was something lacking and that certainly cannot be the case against Munster this week.
'Gentleman' Jack was a role model
IT’S the funeral of former Gloucester prop forward Jack Fowke on Thursday.
Jack was one of the great props to pull on the Cherry and White jersey, making more than 260 appearances for the club in the 1960s.
By all accounts you wouldn’t want to cross him on the pitch but off it he was an absolute gentleman – traits us fellow props are proud of.
As a friend of the Fowke family I played with his son, Gareth, at Longlevens and we have remained close.
I just want to pass on my condolences to his wife Maureen and Gareth's siblings, Sarah and Greg.
Longlevens eye Twickenham Vase final
TALKING about Longlevens it’s great to see them doing so well in the RFU Junior Vase. They’re just two games away from Twickenham and everyone is very excited.
It’s all a bit new for them and they’ve been asking me about logistics for their next game against Liskeard and Looe, and where they should stay should they make it.
They chartered two coaches for their last game and everyone had a great day and long may it continue.
I must also mention Matson, who beat Chew Valley away from home to go top of the Western Counties North table.
They’ve had massive off-field tribulations with the financial problems stemming from the roof but they have not let any of that affect matters on the pitch.
They have gone about their business quietly and to be sitting at the top of their league in the New Year is fantastic.
They have always been a great club and to have a strong Gloucester Combination, you need a strong Matson RFC.