independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Gloucester’s crossbar challenge as pre-match incident delays kick-off

GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22:  The cross bar on the post lies on the ground, after being damaged during the pre match entertainment during the Aviva Premiership match between Gloucester and Worcester Warriors at Kingsholm Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Gloucester, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
The cross bar on the post lies on the ground, after being damaged during the pre match entertainment during the Aviva Premiership match between Gloucester and Worcester Warriors at Kingsholm Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Gloucester, England.

Kick-off was delayed in Gloucester's Aviva Premiership clash with Worcester at Kingsholm by half an hour after one of the crossbars was pulled down during a bizarre pre-match incident.

Two sets of fans raced from the halfway line to be the first to put a giant inflatable rugby ball over the posts at the Kingsholm Road end of the ground, as part of the pre-match entertainment.

They tried and failed for five minutes to complete their tasks before somebody thought it would help to pull the crossbar down. So down it came, leaving the crossbar dangling on the ground, with one side attached to a post and the other pointing to the pitch, just minutes before the teams were due to come out to kick off.

It did seem that the bar had sheered off a bracket on the post but, fortunately, it was only dislodged from its moorings in a 'slot in' connection.

However, with television ready to show the game live and the packed crowd anticipating the crucial league basement derby for both sides, it meant Gloucester groundsman Dave Balmer and his three staff had to try and effect repairs pretty quickly.

They discussed the situation and, after nine minutes, an orange tractor came onto the pitch and drove under the posts for Balmer and a colleague to hitch the bar back into place, an achievement which was greeted by a rapturous cheer.

But it was not quite over as Worcester director of rugby Dean Ryan and referee J P Doyle wandered across to inspect the problem themselves.

Satisfied, they wandered back, with Doyle announcing that kick-off would be delayed until 2.30pm, to the dismay of the crowd.

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