30 January 2012, 7:55pm
Centurions Club match reporter, Ben Da Costa, reviews the resounding victory over Northampton Saints in the LV=Cup.
As reported in previous despatches, it is important that the boys in blue, black and white get into the wining habit. This latest LV fixture against a Northampton team devoid of some key players, represented Bath's third home victory in a matter of just four weeks, extending our unbeaten home record in 2012 and makes it another 46 score in the LV= cup with the final score 46-14 to the West Country boys.
Stuart Hooper returned to skipper the team, who roared onto the pitch with steely determination and purpose. The first skirmishes reflected that both teams were digging in for a long hard slog on a muddy and heavy pitch. The forwards on both teams were controlling a lot of ball, before both half backs, Claassens and Myler freed up the backs to seek holes in two very strong and organised defences. This certainly appeared to be a match up of great coaching minds with Geech pitched against England coach hopeful, Jim Mallinder.
A series of hard earned penalties combined with a number of off side decisions, resulted in a ping pong of penalties and with 30 minutes gone, Bath led the penalty count 12-6. However late in the half, Ross Batty had the confidence and the measure of what was in front of him, ignoring the pass outside, doggedly went for the line and to the roar of the home crowd, rewarded all with a well taken forwards try. As is becoming customary when the TV cameras are in town, Batty's effort was referred to the TMO. The conversion by Barkley stretched the lead to 19-6 and certainly put a smile on Batty and his team mates' faces. With The Saints taking 6 out of the next 9 points as a result of a further penalty count, the Half Ended with The Boys holding a 10 point lead.
This week's half time was taken with the sun setting on our beautiful city and the crowd full of great expectation for the second half and WOW were the spectators rewarded. One of Centurions favourite overseas players, "AP" Anthony Perenise, sold a dummy, floated through the centre, then powered his way over the try line to a rapture applause from the crowd and genuine delight from his team mates. Of course Referee Davey insisted on the obligatory TMO, which only served to replay "AP's" amazing dazzling try, which the crowd simply lapped up.
Alex Waller forced a deserved try for The Saints, to momentarily narrow the score and possibly put doubt into the Bath players' minds. However, it appears that Coach Brad Davis has drilled a new sense of belief into the team, who immediately responded to Northampton's try with a penalty, followed by an Olly Woodburn spectacular effort, supported by great handling skills from Vesty and Donald. Sean Davey, who yet again referred to the TMO, however enjoyed the banter from the crowd as he watched the multiple efforts of his try on the Big Screen.
The return of Duncan Bell, brought with it a big heart, a big presence and big performance, which with his tackling and rucking, further inspired the team and clearly demonstrates the depth and quality of the squad. With the ever improving and impressive Charlie Beech scoring late on, this represented try scored from two of the day's props and of course Ross Batty.
Stephen "Stevo" Donald also went over for a deserved try and incredibly for the third LV match in a row Bath scored 46. Bath now need a point next week at Exeter to assure our boys of a home semi-final and the possibility of Silverware and a Heineken spot for next season.
Centurions Club man of the match had to be Anthony Perenise for his overall contribution to the team and his impressive try.