Hicks wins applause from coach
LOCK Tom Hicks is growing into his Kingsholm career, believes Gloucester United coach Rob Thirlby.
The former Northampton Saints second row capped a smart A League performance with a try in Monday night's 44-7 Newcastle Falcons A demolition.
The Cherry and Whites second string blasted eight tries past the Tyneside club at Hartpury College.
Captain Will James, Gareth Evans, Ryan Mills and Hicks secured Gloucester's bonus point inside the first quarter.
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Flanker Matt Cox added a fifth before the break, with wing Drew Cheshire claiming a brace and hooker Ryan Charles scoring after the turnaround.
Replacement prop James Hallam notched Newcastle's sole score, with Phil Godman converting on a bleak night for the North East men.
United coach Thirlby hailed 21-year-old Hicks for making big strides since joining Kingsholm in the summer.
Hicks has impressed in A League action while also doubling up with his dual-registration deal at Cinderford.
Thirlby (inset) said: "Tom is starting to make big progress now, he is calling the lineouts at points when Will James is not there, and he's doing extremely well.
"The whole side are improving all the time too, and Tom only underlines that.
"We talked about the club needing a performance with intensity and desire, and that's exactly what they gave.
"If you play with passion, pride and intensity then you fall into good patterns.
"We stepped up and the speed, intensity and tempo in the first 20 minutes, Newcastle couldn't live with it.
"The majority of the team has been together for four or five weeks now, and it's starting to show."