Clark leaves Cato clutching turf as United reach the last four
Gloucester United 30
Northampton Wanderers 24
NOAH Cato is the latest established Premiership star to get the Ian Clark treatment.
Standing up the former Saracens full-back, Clark gleefully accepted a near non-existent gap between defender and touchline – and scooted home for his second try.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The score proved just as crucial as Gloucester United's second-half stubbornness – and helped booked their place in the Aviva Premiership A League semi-finals.
Andrew Stanley and Rob Thirlby's side edged out Northampton Wanderers at Kingsholm on Monday night, and now have to wait until next month to discover their opponents in the last four.
United's bonus-point win ensured they finished second in the A League's Northern Conference.
Wanderers claimed both try-scoring and losing bonus points, to top the pool.
But Tim Taylor's two first-half penalties proved the difference on the final scoreboard.
Powerful hooker Tommaso d'Apice capped a fine driving maul for the game's opening try, that score sandwiched between Taylor's two penalty goals.
Cato was sin-binned for pulling back George Boulton off the ball, but Northampton hit back despite numerical disadvantage.
Scrum-half Alex Day finished an all-too easy line break, to pressurise the home side.
Clark latched on to a cross-field kick for his first score, but United came under further pressure.
Cato atoned for his yellow card by finishing smartly in the left corner, and the Wanderers threatened to take control.
But then came 20-year-old Hartpury College man Clark's standout stand-up finish, to leave Cato clutching turf and Gloucester well-placed with a 23-12 lead at the break.
United could not sustain their advantage, though, and spent the entire third quarter defending their 22.
Tom Collins went over just past the hour, to drag Northampton back into the clash.
But the introduction of replacement scrum-half Brad Field re-energised Gloucester, and impressive young lock Elliot Stooke finished a series of tight drives with United's fourth try.
Northampton chased an unlikely turnaround, even grabbing that bonus-point score through replacement hooker Matt Williams.
But United held on, to book their fully-deserved place in the competition's knockout stages.