The first Premiership game of the New Year, and with a new tactical coach on board we can hope that it signals a fresh start for 2018. Saints v Gloucester on Saturday 6th January at 3pm, with TV coverage on BTSport3.
The last meeting between the two teams was at Castle Grim on 7th October and the Cherry & Whites were the victors by 29-24, that scoreline flattered by a late comeback by the Saints (just a bit too late to make up the deficit). This was our first defeat after a run of four victories had seen us briefly on top of the table, but it was to be the start of seven successive league losses.
Gloucester’s origins lie with the Romans, but here’s a bit of later Anglo-Saxon history, courtesy of the city’s visitor website…
After the Fall of Rome, Gloucester was captured by the Anglo-Saxons following the decisive battle Dyrham in 577. The Mercian king, Osric of Hwicce, founded an abbey dedicated to St Peter on the site of today’s Cathedral. By the tenth century, Gloucester continued to be an important centre in the Kingdom of Mercia, and was famously re-planned and re-fortified by Queen Aethelflaed (daughter of Alfred the Great) as a defence against the marauding Danes. The core street layout survives to this day. Aethelflaed also founded the New Minster church of St Oswald (c 900 AD) which became a shrine of great importance following the installation the seventh-century king and saint’s bones.