Bath United were unable to record their first win of their A league season as they travelled to London Irish where they faced a powerful and well drilled side. Two tries and a penalty was the difference as United's defence was tested to the limit and wet and windy conditions made handling conditions tricky. Final Score from Sunbury-on-Thames, London Irish A 15 Bath United 0.
Irish started strongly with their large pack keeping the ball tight and making their way up the pitch. However, despite this early possession, United's defence proved cohesive and made it difficult for the home side to capitalise.
United's strong defence frustrated the Irish attack and soon handling errors began to creep in allowing the away side to launch a handful of attacks. Numerous breaks were made as the Bath backs exploited the spaces out wide but a lack of support prevented any early advantages from being gained. The deadlock eventually broke with 15 minutes played when a handling error by United just outside their 22 provided the home side with the possession they needed. As Irish piled on the pressure, United were forced to concede an early penalty as they came offside at the ruck allowing fly half Ben Stevenson to strike the ball and take his side ahead 3-0.
As Irish seemed to be finding some cohesion, their phase plays were making considerable ground. Another penalty, quickly taken by scrum half Jack Moates nearly provided the first try except for a great covering tackle to take him down just metres short of the line. As Irish flooded the ruck, full back Jamie John Kilmartin killed the ball preventing the quick ball for Irish and after no advantage came, Kilmartin was sent to the sin bin. With United now a man down, Irish turned the screw and despite more determined defence, the attacking side prevailed and prop Max Lahiff powered over the line from close quarters. Centre Luke Peters added the extras. 10-0.
The tables seemed to have turned just at the close of the first half as a well recycled ball enabled United to break the Irish line and as Irish came offside Bath gained the advantage. Scrum half Chris Cook tapped and went putting the disorganised defence offside, and after he was taken down early, referee Matt Carley reached for the second yellow card of the evening sending winger Liam Gibson to the bin. United had weathered the blustery wind in the first half and were keen to take some points into the changing room so opted for the three points. Fly half Tom Heathcote stepped up, and from a few metres in from the touch line, he struck the ball well with the kick seemingly on course. However, the wind snatched at the ball at the end of the flight to pull the kick just wide of the uprights making the half time score 10-0.
The second half seemed another close affair and after two failed penalty attempts by Irish, the score remained the same as it had at half time. A further great display of scramble defence was shown as young Irish fullback, Anthony Watson showed his blistering footwork and turn of speed as he carved his way towards the try line. Tackled just inside the 22, Bath again were deemed to have slowed the ball down and the referee once more reached for the yellow card, as it was this time shown to prop Nathan Catt. Irish opted for the scrum and after a handful of resets, their number 8 broke away from the back of the scrum to bundle over and score. 15-0.
The second half didn't develop a great deal more - United's spells of possession weren''t making the ground required whereas Irish looked the more dangerous and would have scored a lot more tries was it not for the dedicated defence of the Blue, Black and Whites. Whilst it was overall a low scoring game, the low score was representative of United's impressive defence and a determined and passionate effort from the whole team. Even though Bath United are still looking for their first Aviva A league win of the season, glimpses of brilliance showed Bath Rugby academy's young talents have plenty to offer with much more to come.
15. Jamie John Kilmartin, 14. Nick Scott, 13. Ben Mosses, 12. Paul Roberts, 11. Alex Brown, 10. Tom Heathcote, 9. Chris Cook; 1. Nathan Catt (Capt), 2. Max Anderson, 3. Duncan Bell, 4. Nick Morris, 5. Jamie Collins, 6. Tom Ellis, 7. James Stephenson, 8. James Tyas
16. Jake Fields, 17. Max Ashcroft, 18. Kane Palma-Newport, 19. Max Wilson, 20. Sam Weier, 21. Matt Keyte, 22. Brad Barnes, 23. Freddie Gabbitass