Bath Rugby take losing bonus point from Firhill

Despite six kicks out of six from Academy fly-half Tom Heathcote, and a late penalty from debutant Stephen Donald, a devastating last minute try from Richie Gray meant Bath Rugby were only able to gain a losing bonus point from their opening Heineken Cup game against Glasgow Warriors. Final score 26-21.

Bath started well, and were ahead after just a minute and a half, when Heathcote was given the first of his penalty opportunities. Glasgow were found guilty of not releasing, and the fly-half calmly sent the ball through the posts. 0-3.

Glasgow equalised moments later, but Bath were on the front foot for the majority of the opening quarter. First Dan Hipkiss and then Francois Louw broke free of the Glasgow defence, and the ball was recycled quickly out wide, but the move came to nothing as Olly Woodburn was bundled into touch on the right wing. The pressure continued, as wave upon wave of Bath attack came up against solid defending from the home side. The pressure paid off though, with another successful penalty from Heathcote as the clock approached 20 minutes, this time after Glasgow were guilty of collapsing the scrum. 3-6.

The scrambled defence continued for Glasgow, as the visitors were unrelenting in their attempts to cross the try line. However, it was the home side who took an unexpected lead into half time, after two quick successive penalties from fly-half Duncan Weir equalised and then over took Bath's efforts. Half time 9-6.

Glasgow attempted to pick up in the second half where they had finished the first, but Weir's attempt at goal was shy of the centre. Heathcote however made no mistake with his next attempt – his second storming 50 metre kick of the game, which he sent sailing through the centre of the posts to level the scores. He struck again on 55 minutes to regain the lead for Bath, this time from the far touchline. It would be the first of six lead changes as the two teams battled out the later stages of the match.

Glasgow scored their first try of the match to take the lead on 60 minutes, with full-back Stuart Hogg slipping through a gap in the defence from 15 metres out to touch down. Weir converted, taking the lead to 16-12. Heathcote clawed back three points minutes later, after Glasgow were again penalised for not releasing, and then took the lead once more after another penalty at the scrum proved fruitful for the visitors, 16-18. It was Heathcote's last contribution to the game though, as he was soon after replaced by Donald, making his debut in Bath colours.

Glasgow enjoyed their own spell of pressure from the kick-off, and the home side turned it into points when Weir was once more successful with the boot after Bath were judged to have used their hands in a ruck. 19-18.

With just 90 seconds left of the game, the home side were penalised for once more infringing at the scrum, and up stepped Donald to try and regain the lead once more for the visitors. His kick was as straight and true as Heathcote's had been before him, and he looked to have sealed the victory for Bath. However, Glasgow regained possession from the restart and steadily worked their way up field, with Weir settling himself into the drop-goal pocket. Whilst he got the kick away, it took a wicked deflection off a Bath hand, and the ball bounced awkwardly for full-back Nick Abendanon, who was unable to gather it to safety. The awaiting Gray pounced, and Weir had the final say with the conversion. Final score 26-21.


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