Bath United opened their Aviva Premiership A League account with a 36-16 win over the visiting London Wasps A.
United scored four tries to Wasps' two in a back-and-forth encounter that was won by sheer dint of the home side's ability to make the most of the opportunities presented to them.
Wasps fly-half Joe Carlisle's successful ninth-minute penalty kick saw an immediate response from the United backs. Captain Kane Palma-Newport, a constant thorn in Wasps' side, was quick to turn-over a loose ball, which was spun wide by inside centre Gavin Henson to his outside man Max Clark.
Fullback Ludi Hopkinson perfectly judged the line through which to take Clark's soft pass, drawing the last man in Wasps' defence to pop to rampaging wing Tom Biggs, who hared under the posts to score the opening try. With fly-half Tom Heathcote successfully converting, it was 7-3 to United.
Ten minutes later – following some tense moments for United as Wasps constantly probed their defence out wide – came United's next try, second row Will Spencer making the most of his pack's good work by popping up near the wing to score. Heathcote missed the conversion, but a successful penalty five minutes later made it 15-3 to United.
With another Heathcote penalty giving United a 15-point lead, Wasps desperately needed to claw their way back into the game. Respite came from outside centre Alex Harrison, who followed up the great inroads into the United 22m made by flanker Nathan Hughes and tighthead Taione Vea to score in the left-hand corner.
Thankfully for United, another Heathcote penalty gave them a further buffer going into half-time, after Hughes was sin-binned for persistent infringement at the breakdown.
Half-Time: Bath United 21 – Wasps A 11.
A high-tackle on replacement United wing George Trick kick-started the points affair for the home side in the second half, as Heathcote notched up a further three. However, sustained pressure on the home side by the visiting attackers was relieved by a splendid turnover from the lively Palma-Newport on 55 minutes.
Moments later, to further strengthen United's resolve, a huge hit from replacement centre Rory Jennings on Wasps wing Tom Howe sent the ball flying from his grasp, not to mention eliciting a sharp intake of breath from the crowd.
Wasps were unable to convert their presence in Bath's 22 into points, and soon after found themselves penned in the red zone of their own half. Trick showed great strength and awareness to surge up his wing, delaying the pass just enough to offload to the incoming supporting runner. The United backs wasted no time in exploiting Wasps' disjointed back-tracking defence as Hopkinson ran in the third try.
The visitors did manage to score a second try in the 75th minute, through wing Howe, to make it 29-16. Suffice it to say, the comeback was short-lived, as captain Palma-Newport topped off a strong display (sin-binning aside) with a close-range try. Heathcote's sixth successful attempt at goal made it 36-16 to United, sealing the win and ending the game.
Final Score: Bath United 36 – Wasps A 16.