Replacements: Koree Britton, James Gibbons, Nick Selway, Ross Moriarty, Rob Langley, Grant Hancox, Billy Burns, Stef Hawley
Replacements: James Flynn, Harry Hannan, George Hymes, Ollie Parkinson, Greg Jacob, Tom Cruse, Matt Clark, Niall Crossley
The sheer strength of the wind and rain in the first half all but ruled out running rugby and the Jets will be frustrated at not taking full advantage in the first half when it was at their backs. As it was, Gloucester held a slight advantage at the interval and extended it sufficiently in a largely incident free second half until a late Jets try made things interesting.
United controlled the game for long periods, although the final try count was two apiece on the night. Superior Gloucester goal kicking proved to be the difference, although both sides missed kickable chances.
During the first half, the crowd sheltered from a torrential downpour in the aptly named Mira Showers Stand and they saw United scorn an early chance to take the lead but the normally reliable Rob Cook was off target with his penalty attempt, an effort matched by Sale's Will Cliff just minutes later.
Gloucester definitely seemed to have a slight edge up front in the early stages but couldn't make anything of the advantage and escaped when Sale's first attack was thwarted by a knock on with the line beckoning. Sale worked their way back into it, however, as their pack got a foothold in the game and Gloucester were indebted to some smart defensive work from Cook who covered a kick ahead and cleared his lines.
The heavens opened and the deadlock was broken straightaway. Gareth Evans made a telling break into the Sale 22 and offloaded to Brad Field who showed great determination to break a tackle and touch down. Rob Cook converted for a 7-0 lead. Field was enjoying a good few minutes as he followed up with an intelligent kick through to pin the Jets back deep in their 22.
The Gloucester pack promptly rewarded this piece of skill by nicking the lineout and winning a penalty in midfield, which Cook put through the posts for 10-0 after 24 minutes. The monsoon by now had assumed almost comical proportions, the rain being swept diagonally across the ground.
Gloucester were keeping the ball amongst the forwards and another powerful drive gave Cook a shot at the posts on 32 minutes but the ball held up in the wind and drifted wide right. Will Cliff had no such issues a minute later as Gloucester fielded a knock on in an offside position but the Sale fly half got under his penalty attempt and it struck the post padding.
However, a spell of intense pressure followed as the Jets laid siege to the Gloucester line and eventually an overlap was created on the left with winger Mike Haley diving in at the corner. Cliff converted in style. Gloucester had one last chance of points before the half as the pack forced a penalty out of the Sale scrum but Cook was again off target.
The rain relented during the half time interval and Gloucester came out strongly. Good work from the pack forced another penalty and Tim Taylor, who had assumed kicking duties, landed the penalty. The game went into a scrappy phase with neither team able to really gain the upper hand but, as the hour mark approached, the Gloucester pack took control. A catch and drive was halted just a metre short but Gloucester stayed patient and, several phases later, Matt Cox muscled his way over. Taylor converted for a 20-7 advantage.
Multiple replacements on both sides had by now affected the flow of the game but Sale Jets had enough spirit in them to give Gloucester some uncomfortable moments near their own line.
As the game went into injury time, Sale did finally manage to carve out a chance for replacement Tom Cruse down the left who just made the line, although Nathan Fowles was off target with the touchline conversion to make it 20-12.
There was just enough injury time remaining for Sale to chance their arm from deep but the conditions and the strength of the Gloucester defence meant that a further score was not on the cards and the home win was duly secured.
Scoring: (Gloucester first) 7-0, 10-0, 10-7 (Half Time) 13-7, 20-7, 20-12