A try from Ollie Devoto and three penalties, a conversion and a drop goal from Tom Heathcote secured victory tonight in a spirited performance over a strong Saracens Storm side.
Both teams took their time to establish themselves in the game. A Heatcote penalty was the only thing to separate the sides for a good portion of the first half, before the game sprung to life on the 20 minute mark. A great break through the midfield from Olly Woodburn allowed the ball to be recycled out wide to Ollie Devoto who was able to sprint away from the Storm defence and score. Heathcote stepped up to convert to make it 10-0 to United.
Nils Mordt managed to reduce the deficit by three with a penalty before Saracens began to use their physical advantage to try and establish themselves in the game. They were camped on the United five metre line and their pressure showed as Devoto was shown yellow for a killing the ball. This led to a series of scrums with the referee finally awarding a penalty try that Mordt converted to level the scores.
Just before half-time a huge driving maul from the United forwards led to Saracens being found offside, the resulting penalty was slotted over by Heathcote and gave the home side a slender three point lead going in.
Half time Bath United 13-10 Saracens Storm
As the second half started, the Bath forwards had begun much like they'd ended the first. Another big maul forced Storm to infringe again and Heathcote extended the lead, 16-10.
Saracens were not about to let the match slip away and they began to use their superior experience to dominate the game. Their pressure on the Bath five metre line led to another yellow card, this time for Semesa Rokoduguni, who had put in a huge defensive effort all evening but was deemed to be offside and headed for the sin-bin.
Soon after, Saracens appeared to be heading for a certain try. James Short broke the line and looked as if he would go over in the corner until Woodburn, who had seemingly come out of nowhere, was able to make the tackle and sent Short and the ball into touch.
More Storm pressure brought about another yellow card, flanker Joe Buckle being seen to have prevented release of the ball and therefore joined Rokoduguni for a spell on the side lines.
Bath were down to 13 men and it appeared the game could only go one way but the disadvantage galvanised the team and forced them into a huge defensive effort. They did extremely well not to concede in this period and if anything, were unlucky not score again. Heathcote missed a penalty opportunity and then Richard Lane, having just entered the game as a substitute, was just short of scoring a try. Heathcote had put up a huge kick that bounced awkwardly and caught out the Saracens fullback, Lane latched onto the ball but was denied by the recovering fullback whilst diving for the line.
United hadn't finished there though, the forwards applied pressure to the Saracens try-line, which allowed the ball to be recycled to Heathcote who dully added the final points of the evening with a well struck drop goal.
Final Score Bath United 19 – 10 Saracens Storm
15. Ollie Devoto, 14. Jack Cuthbert (Richard Lane, 73), 13. Semesa Rokoduguni, 12. Luke Adamson, 11. Olly Woodburn, 10. Tom Heathcote, 9. Chris Cook; 1. Charlie Beech (Tom Dunn 54), 2. Will Tanner (Jake Fields, 69), 3. Kane Palma-Newport (Max Maidement, 54), 4. Will Spencer (Jake Oldaker, 73), 5. Freddie Clarke, 6. Joe Buckle, 7. Guy Mercer (c) (James Tyas 73), 8. Josh Ovens
Replacements not used: 21. George Drury, 23. JJ Kilmartin
15. Benjamin Ransom (Nathan Earle, 60), 14. Joe Maddock, 13. Sam Stanley, 12. Kameli Ratuvou (Nick Tomkins, 73), 11. James Short, 10. Nils Mordt, 9. Ben Spencer; 1. Nick Auterac (Val Rapava, 66), 2. Jamie George, 3. Lorenzo Romano (Biyi Aly, 60), 4. George Kruis, 5. Eoin Sheriff, 6. Nick Fenton-Wells, 7 Andy Saull (Matt Hankin, 73), 8. Jono Ross.
Replacements not used: 16. Max Crumpton, 19. Tom Jubb, 21. Ali Price