DESPITE a second half try from Terry Fanolua, Gloucester's Guinness A League hopes were dashed by London Irish tonight.
The Exiles won the match 12-7 thanks to two first-half tries from centre Rodd Penney and winger Dominic Feau'nati in horrendous conditions at Hartpury College.
The contest was switched late from Kingsholm because of the weather conditions with Saturday's European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Brive in mind but Gloucester never recovered from going two scores down against the wind.
Despite a brave a committed second half reply, led by skipper Mark Cornwell and Fanolua's try, Gloucester's hopes of finishing top of the southern Conference have now ended.
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).