26 November 2012, 5:03pm
It Was 'Friday Night Fever' at The Rec, as the crowd danced their way out of the ground on a high as the boys in BB&W gave the performance of their lives to edge a close contest by three points.
In what turned out to be a personal battle of the New Zealand number 10s, it was World Cup winner Stephen Donald who out-kicked his compatriot Nick Evans to claim the Man of the Match award. Yet this was just one of the stories that unfolded on a night of high drama and passion.
With Quins taking an early lead, Bath were finding it hard to restrain the flowing moves of the opposition forwards and backs who were working well in maintaining early pressure. The boys had an early opportunity to strike back but Donald missed a penalty, his only miss in an extraordinary match winning performance of seven out of eight penalty kicks.
The first half was a tense battle but, despite the wet conditions, both teams played open rugby which did not result in either side scoring a try. Bath went closest to scoring when fit again Matt Banahan - looking sharp at 12 - charged down a kick, collected the ball and passed it out to Semesa Rokoduguni who struggled to collect the ball in open play and, with the try line just yards away, a great opportunity was lost. The rest of the half was a nail biting display of forward play and great defensive efforts by both teams as scoring was limited to penalty points only. A very slender lead at half time gave the crowd real belief that a great victory was on the cards
As Stuart Hooper led the team onto the pitch in the second half, there appeared to be a real gritty determination among the players. As the team went ahead 12-6, the belief amongst the fans and players grew as the Bath forwards, led by Charlie Beech, Josh Ovens and Guy Mercer, carried ball after ball through the middle of the Quins defence, punching holes in the gain line and forcing Quins onto the back foot. The Bath scrum struggled to retain the power of the opposition pack and when in the third quarter Bath were penned deep near to the try line, it took an amazing feat of counter scrummaging to get out of serious trouble and clear our lines.
As the match went into the last quarter, Bath took a 21-15 lead. Quins then threw everything at the Bath defence and when a penalty reduced the deficit to three, the crowd were incredibly nervous and were sitting on the edge of their seats. This Bath team responded to recent disappointments and fought like lions for the win, with local lion heart Guy Mercer, making the crucial turnover in the last minute to secure the result.