Bath Rugby edged out by table toppers Harlequins

Bath Rugby suffered defeat at the hands of table toppers Harlequins this afternoon, with the London side edging out the visitors 14-6.

The first half was a battle of the fly-halves as Tom Heathcote and Nick Evans traded penalties. Heathcote drew first blood within the first five minutes after Quins were penalised for not rolling away. Quins put pressure on from the restart however, and Bath were penalised for the same offence, giving Evans the opportunity to draw level. 3-3.

The home side started to try and run the ball, but the Bath defence stood firm and forced a vital turnover, allowing them to clear the lines. David Wilson broke away, setting up a barrage of attack on the Quins try line, with Simon Taylor inches from scoring. Staunch defence forced an error from Bath though, and the Londoners cleared.

This continued for the majority of the first half, with attacks from both sides being quickly snuffed out by huge defensive efforts. With just under ten minutes left of the half, Quins were reduced to 14 men after Joe Marler saw yellow for a high tackle on Tom Biggs. Bath surged forward, and after James Johnston was penalised, Heathcote stepped up to double the lead for the visitors. 3-6.

Evans had the chance to come back and take the lead twice before the end of the half, but the Kiwi sent both kicks wide, and so Bath went in ahead at half time.

The pace of the game picked up after the break, and Olly Barkley burst through the field. The centre passed out wide to Olly Woodburn, who looked to be away, but for a last ditch tackle from Ugo Monye to stop the young winger from scoring.

Bath were awarded a penalty soon after, but Heathcote was unable to find his angle. They were on the attack moments later though, as Nick Abendanon sprinted away from the defence and chipped the ball ahead for Woodburn to chase onto. The winger looked to have scored, but when referee Wayne Barnes consulted the TMO, the try was ruled out as Woodburn had knocked on under pressure from Quins flanker Luke Wallace.

A penalty at the scrum allowed Evans to draw level on the hour mark, and another successful kick put them ahead for the first time in the game five minutes later. 9-6.

A yellow card for Jack Cuthbert reduced the visitors to 14 men going into the final 15 minutes, and Quins took advantage, Maurie Fa'asavalu crashing over from short range. 14-6.

Hero turned villain for Quins moments later after the try-scorer saw yellow after tackling Heathcote without using his arms. The young fly-half left the field, and with Barkley having been replaced earlier in the game, Cuthbert, his sin-bin having expired, stepped up to take the kick, only to see it rebound off the upright. Another chance for the losing bonus point presented itself at the death, with another penalty being awarded, but Cuthbert couldn't find his angle.

Final Score - Harlequins 14 Bath Rugby 6.

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