WASPS 33 GLOUCESTER 29
FOUR-TRY Gloucester could not quite steal victory with a compelling late rally at the end of an absorbing Premiership thriller.
Wasps were in control at 33-17 with eight minutes to play when Nicky Robinson slotted a penalty.
But then Gloucester pulled two tries from the fire.
First Ryan Mills bundled over after a maul and a series of tight drives – two in about 20 seconds from Sione Kalamafoni.
And then Charlie Sharples raced home with just a minute left on the clock.
Martyn Thomas somehow evaded three would-be tacklers, squeezing through a gap that did not exist, before drawing the defence and popping a neat pass to the onrushing Sharples.
Mike Tindall’s rushed conversion attempt went wide – but he had hurried to give his side a chance of stealing victory, to beat the clock.
Try as they might though, Gloucester could not force an improbable turnaround.
The Cherry and Whites kept the ball alive in smart phase-play for four minutes with the time clock totally out and the game in its last play.
But they were unable to force a breakthrough, and Wasps held on for victory.
Dan Robson’s try after Akapusi Qera’s break and a Rob Cook penalty had put Gloucester in the match at half-time.
Wasps had Ashley Johnson’s power-based try and two Stephen Jones penalties and a conversion to thank for their 13-10 lead at the turnaround.
After the break Gloucester drew first blood – captain Tindall exploiting cheap defence to go over for a try.
But then Wasps found a way to link their big brutes with their rapid-fire fliers.
Christian Wade pounced after Gloucester capitulated on their own scrum hall, the impish speed man flying home from halfway.
Then Billy Vunipola stole home for his side’s third try.
And when ex-Gloucester man Robinson slotted that penalty with eight minutes to play, the Adams Park crowd thought the contest was done and dusted.
But that was without reckoning on a spirited and furious comeback that speaks volumes once again on Gloucester’s resilience under Nigel Davies.
So Wasps won this latest top-four battle.
But after claiming six match points from two away trips to Northampton and the Wycombe men, Gloucester will be rightly relatively pleased with their return.