Seven cards issued as Bath edge out Gloucester

A late penalty try helped Bath to an 17-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Gloucester at Kingsholm in a match that saw five yellow cards and two red handed out.

England internationals Billy Twelvetrees and George Ford exchanged penalties
in the early stages at Kingsholm as space and try-scoring opportunities were
at a premium in the customary heat of a West Country derby.

Carl Fearns’ absence for 10 minutes for interfering illegally in a ruck threatened
to create a bit more room for the home side just before the half hour mark but
still the only points came from the boot as Twelvetrees added two more penalties
to one from Ford.

Bath have not won away at Kingsholm since February 2006 and the task of overturning
that sequence of results was made even more difficult as another yellow card
was brandished in the direction of Matt Garvey just moments after Fearns had
returned and right on the stroke of half-time with the score at 9-6.

Those two yellow cards were just the start of the disciplinary issues in an
ill-tempered match that exploded into action in the second half but not, perhaps,
for any of the right reasons.

Garvey had no sooner returned to the fray when Gloucester’s replacement prop
Sila Puafisi was given a straight red card for a dangerously high tackle on
Nick Abendanon.

The visitors immediately took advantage of their one-man advantage as they
produced a textbook catch and drive from a line-out and captain Stuart Hooper
rumbled over the line with ease at the back of the rest of his pack.

Dave Attwood was the next man – the third Bath player – to be sent to the sin
bin after conceding a penalty that Twelvetrees kicked to put Gloucester back
in front and then a rare moment of quality put the hosts further ahead.

The ball was spun wide after a turnover and Mike Tindall showed all of his
experience to hold his man before offloading to his centre partner Henry Trinder
and giving him enough space to get over the line out wide.

Crucially, Twelvetrees missed the conversion to leave the Cherry and Whites
just six points in front, but nobody could have foreseen the pandemonium that
occurred in the game’s closing stages.

First, both Tindall and Huia Edmonds were sent to the sin-bin within seconds
of each other to leave Gloucester desperately defending their line with just
12 men.

That was a task that would prove impossible and referee Tim Wigglesworth’s
decision to award a penalty try with two minutes left on the clock sparked a
mass brawl, which pretty much summed up this ill-tempered and ill-disciplined
West Country derby.

Replacement scrum-half Tavis Knoyle, who was the instigator as he threw a series
of punches, became the second recipient of a straight red card and Gloucester
finished the match, somewhat embarrassingly, down to 11 men.

Amid all of the controversy and chaos, at least one man managed to keep his
head as 21-year-old George Ford calmly slotted over the conversion to the penalty
try from in front of the posts to give Bath a vital win.

The victory not only gives them the bragging rights and a first away win in
the West Country derby for eight years but also means they retain some breathing
space above Harlequins in the fight to make the playoffs and rivals Gloucester
lose ground in the race to finish in the now all-important seventh place in
the Premiership.

Final Score Gloucester (9) 17 Bath (6) 18

Scorers

Gloucester
Tries: Trinder
Pen: Twelvetrees 4
Yellow cards: Tindall (foul play), Edmonds (maul infringement)
Red cards: Puafisi (high tackle), Knoyle (punch)

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