Quinton Davids made his Kingsholm debut on Monday night
GLOUCESTER got back to winning ways in the Guinness A League on Monday night with a five-try victory over leaders Harlequins.
In a contest that was always competitive and not as free-flowing as previous matches at Kingsholm this season, a crowd touching 3,000 saw Gloucester scrap their way to a 35-24 victory.
But Harlequins were never anything other than competitive and with flanker Luke Sherriff and number eight Tony Diprose at the head of a powerful forward effort, Gloucester needed all the experience of Mark Cornwell, Quinton Davids, Nick Wood and Luke Narraway to contain them.
Harlequins opened with a second minute penalty from Adrian Jarvis but Gloucester responded when hooker Rob Elloway intercepted a pass 30 metres out and ran home clinically to score.
Brad Davies kicked the conversion and a penalty soon after to stretch the lead to 13-3 but Quins rallied and centre Mike Brown bundled himself through an alarming gap in Gloucester's midfield to score to the left of the posts after 13 minutes.
However, Gloucester struck back with their second try when Narraway charged down Luther Marais's kick from full-back, controlled the ball and scored.
The topsy-turvy nature of the game continued when Harlequins used the experience of Diprose at the tail of a line-out and lock Kevin Burke charged through on his pass to score and cut the gap to 18-17.
But Gloucester were to score again before the break when Davids tapped a line-out down to Simon Amor, Davies fed Marcel Garvey coming in off his wing into centre field. When possession came back, Davies kicked in behind the Quins defence and Olly Morgan, making his first appearance of the season following a thigh injury, steamed through to score.
The home side then took themselves 13-points clear when Amor and Anthony Allen combined to send James Bailey wriggling to the line after 51 minutes.
However, the home side could not shake Quins off and they reduced the gap to six points when winger Charlie Amesbury slid home to score following patient build up play after 66 minutes.
There was the very real danger that Quins could snatch a victory at this stage but Gloucester sealed the win when Elloway turned over possession and the excellent Will Matthews shifted a lovely pass under pressure on the short side to Marcel Garvey, who blitzed home to score.
GLOUCESTER: Olly Morgan; Marcel Garvey, Anthony Allen (Will Merrivale 66), Reuban Aiano, James Bailey; Brad Davies, Simon Amor; Nick Wood (Terry Sigley 60), Rob Elloway, Jack Forster (Nick Wood 70), Mark Cornwell (capt), Quinton Davids (Dan Tuohy 58), Will Matthews, James Merriman, Luke Narraway.
Scorers: Tries: Morgan, Garvey, Bailey, Elloway, Narrway. Cons: Davies (2/5), Pens: Davies (2/2).
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.