Cavaliers went clear at the top of the Premiership Rugby Shield Northern Conference with a breathless third straight bonus point win over previously unbeaten Gloucester United at Kingsholm.

A try from captain Tom Dodd saved Cavaliers who saw a 21 points first half cushion eroded by Gloucester after the break.

Fly-half Lloyd Evans kicked Gloucester ahead for the first and only time with a penalty after 70 minutes but he was then short then wide with two more penalty attempts in the dying minutes which helped Cavaliers to hold on for the win.

Cavaliers looked like being comfortable winners when they swept Gloucester aside  in the first half and they had the try bonus point wrapped up before the break.

But Gloucester’s driving maul caused problems for Cavaliers in the second half and a mounting penalty count meant they had to defend doggedly for long periods, much as Warriors had done on the same ground the previous evening.

It took Cavaliers only four minutes to make their intentions clear, running the ball at every opportunity and playing with pace and precision, which have been hallmarks of their season so far.

Tom Howe broke free down the right, drew his man and slipped the ball to Scott van Breda who raced clear and converted his own try.

Noah Heward, who impressed on his Warriors debut against Dragons two weeks ago, made several probing runs with one of them slicing open the home defence. Heward could have scored himself but he unselfishly slipped the ball inside to the supporting Jono Kitto who dotted down closer to the posts and left van Breda with a more straightforward conversion.

The third try soon followed with Howe again prominent in the build-up as he proved the link man between the impressive Morgan Monks and Heward who finished off a team score.

Gloucester hooker Henry Walker went over for an unconverted try from a 32nd minute lineout but Warriors secured the bonus point on the stroke of half-time when Kai Owen went over after a sustained and patient attack.

But there was a dramatic momentum swing in the second half as Gloucester responded with a try from lock Simon Linsell from another driving maul.

When Cavaliers lost Kitto to the sin bin for impeding a Gloucester attack, the hosts capitalised with centre Jack Reeves crossing for a brace of tries in four minutes.

Evans converted both which pulled Gloucester level and then struck with a penalty which gave them the lead but only briefly.

Cavaliers regained their composure and attacking edge when van Breda and Howe combined effectively and this time it was Gloucester who went offside.

Cavaliers spurned the chance of three easy points and instead went for the corner and for victory, a bold decision which was justified when James Scott snaffled the line out, the pack shunted Gloucester back and Dodd ploughed over for an unconverted try.

Cavaliers are next in action on Monday December 30 when Northampton Wanderers are the visitors to Sixways (kick-off 7.30pm).

Cavaliers | 15 Noah Heward, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Scott van Breda, 12 Luke Scully, 11 Nick David, 10 Gareth Simpson, 9 Jono Kitto, 1 Kai Owen, 2 Isaac Miller (Cutting 70), 3 Richard Palframan (J Morris 64-78), 4 Justin Clegg, 5 Andrew Kitchener, 6 Morgan Monks (Scott 65), 7 Matt Cox, 8 Tom Dodd (C).
Replacements | 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Lewis Holsey, 18 Joe Morris, 19 James Scott, 20 Jack Forsythe, 21 Callum Morris, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Seb Atkinson.

4m | Van Breda try 0-5
5m | Van Breda con 0-7
19m | Kitto try 0-12
20m | Van Breda con 0-14
27m | Heward try 0-19
32m | Walker try 5-19
39m | Owen try 5-24
40m | Van Breda con 5-26
44m | Linsell try 10-26
45m | Evans con 12-26
56m | Reeves try 17-26
57m | Evans con 19-26
60m | Reeves try 24-26
61m | Evans con 26-26
70m | Evans pen 29-26
76m | Dodd try 29-31