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James Hook earns Gloucester a draw at Bath

Ex-Wales playmaker James Hook converted a 78th-minute try by replacement scrum-half Ben Vellacott to snatch a draw for Gloucester and deny Bath their first win in this season's Anglo-Welsh Cup.

The home side thought they had clinched victory just a few minutes earlier when Aled Brew went over in the corner but Rhys Priestland's missed conversion left the door open. The fly-half had kicked four penalties.

Bath had needed highly improbable mathematics to stay in the competition, anyway, and Gloucester also needed other results to go their way to reach the quarter-finals.

A penalty to the corner and a catch-and-drive gave Gloucester hooker Darren Dawidiuk the opening try after 10 minutes, with Hook adding the conversion.

Gloucester skipper Callum Brayley then broke dangerously supported by David Halaifonua and flanker Dan Thomas, and it took Brew's scrambling tackle to snuff out the danger.

A Priestland penalty on 34 minutes finally rewarded Bath's efforts to establish a foothold in the Gloucester half.

Roving Kiwi No 8 Paul Grant had been at the heart of much of that good work but then knocked on when trying to gather a long kick upfield. Bath were penalised at the scrum but Gloucester spurned the kick at goal only to lose the line-out.

Bath began the second half with more purpose, winning an early penalty at the breakdown and another for interference at a line-out. Second time around, Priestland opted for goal and cut Gloucester's lead to 7-6.

Hook and Priestland swapped penalties in quick succession, and the 12,608 crowd came to life as Ben Tapuai and Brew made clean breaks.

The TMO ruled out a try for scrum-half Chris Cook in the corner but Bath still had the advantage from a high tackle in centre-field and Priestland kicked his fourth penalty to give Bath a 12-10 lead just short of the hour.

With lock Elliott Stooke coming off the bench to face his old club, Bath looked more solid in the tight and Cook's kicking kept his forwards on the front foot.

Priestland was just wide with a drop goal before Bath finally created a 74th-minute try by Brew. Jeff Williams looked as if he might score on the right but was hauled down by Henry Purdy. Tapuai rescued the move and Harry Davies flicked the ball inside to left wing Brew.

There was still life in Gloucester, though, and they won a penalty to the corner before working Vellacott over by the posts.


From Belfast Telegraph