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RUGBY: Booth disappointed by Kingsholm reverse
12:33pm Sunday 7th October 2012 in Sport
AFTER silencing Kingsholm as early as the first minute in Saturday’s West Country derby, Bath coach Toby Booth insists his troops shouldn’t have allowed Gloucester to come roaring back.
Bath made the short trip to Gloucester looking for a change of fortunes, having one just one of the last nine clashes with their fierce local rivals.
And they couldn’t have asked for a better start as Kiwi fly-half Stephen Donald touched down with 32 seconds on the clock, proving he could very well be the man to fill the boots of the departed Olly Barkley.
But despite leading 10-6 at the break that was as good as it got for Bath as Gloucester fought back to claim the victory, Freddie Burns kicking 11 points and Rob Cook’s first Premiership try doing the damage.
And Booth admitted Bath had let the chance for local bragging rights slip through their fingers after making a dream start.
“We are bitterly disappointed,” Booth said. "I am not sure if we should have won it but we had an opportunity to win it and that is very disappointing.
“In this league first phase possession is vital and we couldn't get out of our half in the second half.
“Credit must go to Gloucester but we are disappointed. We executed our game plan at the start and silenced the Shed which we had talked about and which is always good.
“But we need to play for 80 minutes and we couldn't cash in on that start. We saw the same thing happen against Northampton Saints and it has happened again.
“We are still a new side and we are learning and this is all part of that experience but we need to put in an 80-minute performance soon and turn these good starts into wins.”
There was less than a minute on the clock when Donald spotted a gap in Gloucester’s defence, bursting through it and running 40m to score the quickest Premiership try of this season.
He missed the conversion but Bath were very much on top and thought they had crossed for a second try through Nick Abendanon only for it to be ruled out after replays had shown Kyle Eastmond had just stepped out of touch on the right wing after chasing down Sam Vesty's grubber kick.
But Donald did stretch Bath’s lead with a penalty before two Burns three-pointers got the hosts back into it before half-time.
It was Gloucester’s time to be denied a try when TMO David Grashoff had adjudged that Shane Monahan did not ground the ball quickly enough thanks to same fantastic desperate defending from Tom Biggs.
But moments later Gloucester did have the break through as James Simpson-Daniel sent full-book Cook over in the left corner, Burns sealing the Cherry and Whites victory with a late drop goal after a Henry Trinder try had also been ruled out for Monahan going out of touch before offloading.
This stretched Gloucester’s unbeaten league run to five games and despite admitting his side were far from perfect, Nigel Davies insisted he couldn’t fault his side’s resilience.
"We didn't turn up in that first half, we were poor," he said. "It wasn't the type of game we'd planned to play as I think we just lost our shape a little bit in the early stages.
"I was really proud of the way the boys came back in the second half. It was a little bit more fluid and we had a lot more width and I think we showed everyone what we can do.
"We had no control of that first half; we were on the back foot everywhere and too high in the tackle which gave them easy gain line. Our set-piece was creaking so we had no control so to come away with only four points between us was lucky.
"We sorted a few things out at half-time and got things sorted out after the break.”
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