Bath Rugby beaten at the Stoop

Two second-half tries for Harlequins saw off Bath Rugby's hopes of victory at a soggy Stoop this afternoon, as the home side recorded a 23-9 win.

The visitors started the game brightly, pinning Harlequins back well in their own half through the boots of Stephen Donald and Ollie Devoto.

The pressure paid off in the fifth minute as Quins infringed and Donald sent the resulting penalty cleanly through the posts to give Bath the early lead.

Devoto doubled the lead in the 22nd minute with a long range penalty after the Bath pack were rewarded at scrum time. 0-6.

Replacement Ben Botica gave Quins their first score on 30 minutes with a converted penalty, and four minutes later it looked as if the home side were going to have their first try.

Nick Evans broke through the midfield and whilst the fly-half was halted, the ball was recycled quickly and, if not for a superb tackle from Kyle Eastmond, it looked as if George Lowe was through for the try. Quins had to settle for the penalty – Botica levelling the scores.

Bath kept their cool, testing the home defence and looking to stretch it wide. As the clock ticked down on the first half, Eastmond and Agulla carried well to get within five metres of the try line before the ball was lost in contact. Referee Wayne Barnes consulted his TMO for a suspected high-tackle on Eastmond in the build-up, and when it was confirmed, awarded Bath the penalty. With the last kick of the half, Donald restored the lead for Bath.

Half-time: Harlequins 6 – Bath Rugby 9.

Bath had worked hard throughout the first half to keep on top of the game, but from the start of the second-half it seemed as if the momentum had shifted to the home side. They attacked from the off, and when a solid driving maul took them within five metres of the line six minutes into the half, Danny Care sniped his way over the try-line. Botica added the extras. 13-9.

Quins' other New Zealand fly-half continued his good form from the kicking tee 10 minutes later with a penalty edging the home-side further ahead. 16-9.

Conditions worsened as the game progressed, both sides resorting to high balls to test the opposition and capitalise on any mistakes made.

Unfortunately, the mistake came from Bath, as a misunderstanding between Jack Cuthbert and Olly Woodburn saw neither claim the high-ball, and Ugo Monye was on hand to chip ahead and score. Botica was again on target, adding the conversion. 23-9.

Bath kept battling, trying to work their way up out of their half, but just couldn't break down the stern home defence. But neither did they capitulate under the pressure from Quins, and so the game finished with no further scores.

Final score: Harlequins 23 – Bath Rugby 9.

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