31 July 2014, 1:22pm
A young Bath Rugby side suffered defeat in all three of their matches in the Premiership Rugby 7s at Kingsholm this evening. Despite this, they showed much confidence and flair, which bodes well for the near future.
In their first match, they faced London Irish. Bath started with a bang: first through Rich Lane, who ran 80m to score untouched in the opening 30 seconds; then through Olly Woodburn, who benefited from some dazzling footwork by Ifereimi Vuki to score in the left corner.
Woodburn touched down again before the half-time whistle, but it was to be a game of two halves - the second much more one-sided in the Exiles' favour.
In fact, it was on the brink of half time that Irish scored their first try, and only a minute into the second half that they doubled their points to make it 19-14 to Bath. The tide was beginning to turn and there was little Bath could do as the Exiles ran in two more tries in the second half to top off a strong comeback. 19-24.
It was the (bad) luck of the draw that saw Bath take on Exeter Chiefs only 15 minutes following their previous match, and it didn't take long to see the effects the short turnaround had on the players.
Chiefs had already run into a strong, three-try lead by the end of the first half, finishing it 21-0. The second half started brighter for Bath's youngsters, with Will Homer scoring his side's try following a frantic start. 21-5.
Then came the turn of another of Bath's new Senior Academy players to make his mark. George Wacokecoke shot up the wing, cut back inside and delivered an exquisite flip-pass behind his back to Chris Cook, his captain. Cook still had the attention of two tacklers to deal with, but showed enough strength and speed to go over for the try. 21-12.
Energy levels understandably dipped thereafter, which allowed Chiefs to score two quick tries and see out the match 33-12 winners.
Gloucester Rugby had won two from two by the time they faced Bath; the hosts looking the strongest of all the evening's teams. To the partisan crowd's surprise, though, Bath went toe-to-toe with the Cherry & Whites.
For long stretches of the match, it could have gone either way, but eventually it was uncharacteristic errors - mainly wayward passes - that allowed Gloucester to build a lead of 24-0 that didn't tell the whole story. Wacokecoke and Woodburn again proved devilishly hard to pin down going forward, and the overall ability of this green squad will be encouraging to Bath Rugby as a whole.