GLOUCESTERSHIRE WARRIORS 7 – 42 LEICESTER STORM
Gloucestershire Warriors’ season began in disappointing fashion with a 42-7 loss to Leicester Storm but there was much to admire about the performance.
The Warriors defended their line with tenacity and commitment and showed some good touches in attack but lacked the cutting edge that the Storm showed as they ran in nine tries
A new-look Warriors side playing their first game of the season took time to settle down as the Storm started strongly and took the lead on four minutes from a typical Simon Anniss short-range try converted by Tom Knott but once they had found their feet, they kept possession well despite being penned in their own half for most of the first quarter.
Prop Mahmood Saad’s barnstorming run from halfway brought the Storm’s second try after 14 minutes but the Warriors hit back and hooker Matt Williams took advantage of confusion in the Storm defence to power over from 20 metres. Ash Lewis banged over the goal and the Warriors were in the game.
Lewis was causing chaos out wide with some strong running and the Balti Hut man of the match Mike Rowley
took the ball up strongly, challenging the defenders every time.
However, it was the Storm who increased their lead before the break, Anniss again going over from a couple of inches out. Knott’s goal made it 16-6 at the break.
The Warriors handed the initiative to the Storm straight from the restart by dropping the kick off and the visitors needed no second invitation. Saad went over for his second try and from their next set, Knott slid over out wide.
The Warriors earned a penalty from the restart but could not break through and Alex McEwan
slotted a drop goal to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
But that only eased the pressure on the Storm and they rampaged back upfield and Josh McLaurin went over followed shortly afterwards by Adam Jones. Five minutes later, Anniss grabbed his third score and the Storm were home.
The Warriors continued to apply pressure but the final score of the day came from the Storm, Greg Harris diving over in the corner.
Head Coach Steve Lee
was upbeat after his side’s first outing. “I was quite impressed,” he said. “That was a very promising start. We completed our sets and defended hard on our own line but their offloads caused us problems and their halves created space out wide well.
“There’s a few things to work on in training but the guys have experienced what the game at this level involves and can now build on that. We have a few guys to come in who will add to the side over the next few weeks and I’m confident our results will improve as we go”.
WARRIORS: Zac France, Scott Eastwood, Ash Lewis, Simon Cook, Des Gahan, Russell Morris
, Alex McEwan
, Ben Brinkworth (Capt.), Matt Williams, Mike Rowley
, Kirk Lewis
, Chris Hall, Joe Toft
. Replacements: Paul Beach, Chris Benjamin, Tom Askew, Jerome Moore, Arron Almond.
Scorers: Tries; Matt Williams (24). Goals; Ashley Lewis
1 from 1. Drop Goal: Alex McEwan
STORM: Jack Boothby, Dan Linacre, Greg Harris, Scott Castell, Tom Fletcher, Ben Stokes, Adam Jones, Josh Hull, Simon Anniss (Capt.), Mahmood Saad, Liam Barnes, Josh McLaurin, Tom Knott. Replacements: Dan Hay, Ty Watson, Patrick Thomson, Sandy Addison.
Scorers: Tries; Simon Anniss (4, 32, 61), Mahmoud Saad (14, 43), Tom Knott (45), Josh McLaurin (52), Adam Jones (56), Greg Harris (70). Goals; Tom Knott 2 from 3, Ben Stokes 0 from 1, Adam Jones 1 from 4, Liam Barnes 0 from 1.
Referee: Stewart Orton (RLC Appointment)