Bath Rugby came out on the losing end of a fascinating game of rugby at the Rec on Saturday afternoon in a match that saw nine tries scored in a 34-42 thriller.
The opening minutes of the match belonged to the home side. Olly Barkley got the score ticking with an early penalty and then an Andrew Higgins break from his own half culminated in the winger scoring thanks to an unlikely assist from Wasps Tom Palmer. Higgins' intended pass to Joe Maddock was blocked by the lock but then fortuitously fell back into Higgins path and allowed him to pick the ball up and score. Olly Barkley hit the conversion.
The next period of the game then belonged solely to opposition fly-half Danny Cipriani who first hit a penalty from 40 meters out in the 7th minute and then minutes later produced a great chip over the Bath defense, re-claimed the ball and evaded Bath fullback Nick Abendanon to score. He then converted the try.
In the 26th minute, Bath nearly scored a second try after a period of pressure close to the Wasps try line looked to have resulted in a Shaun Berne try, however after referee Rob Debney consulted the television match official, the fly-half was judged to have dropped the ball over the line.
Olly Barkley was able to extend Bath's lead moments later with a successful penalty kick but Cipriani hit one of his own minutes later to level the scores at 13 all.
Bath finished off the second half on a high. An Abendanon break from a Bath scrum saw the fullback break through several tackles to score. Barkley converted the try to give the home side a 20-13 lead going into the break.
The second half could not have started on a worse footing for Bath. Two tries in nine minutes from the visitors turned the game on its head. Firstly Palmer was able to draw his opposite man and give a winning pass to James Haskell and then Fraser Waters was on hand to put Josh Lewsey away in the corner. Cipriani only converted the first try.
In the 50th minute a Cipriani penalty made it 20-28 to Wasps. Then in a similar fashion to his earlier try, Josh Lewsey was once again put away in the corner, this time by David Doherty who came off the opposite wing before firing a pass into the path of the oncoming Lewsey. 20-35 to Wasps. Cipriani converted.
After a number of substitutions, Bath were given fresh impetus. After a great break by Faamatuainu and then quick play from Michael Claassens at the bottom of a ruck, Eliota Fuimaono broke through the Wasps defense to score. Barkley hit a successful conversion.
Wasps pressure then resulted in a Daniel Leo try and a Cipriani conversion before Daniel Brown was able to hit back for Bath and score the blue, black and whites fourth try which gave the home side a bonus point.
With time up on the stadium clock, Bath realised that another bonus point was available for coming within seven points of Wasps. they tried time and again to run the ball but the Wasps defense hemmed them in and prevented the home side breaking out of their own half enabling the visitors to claim victory.
Bath: Abendanon, Maddock (Banahan 54), Crockett, Barkley, Higgins, Berne (Fuimaono-Sapolu), Claassens; Barnes, Mears (Dixon 59), Stevens (Jarvis 75), Short, Grewcock, Beattie (Faamatuainu 54), Lipman, Feaunati (Browne 54).