5 years ago
19 December 2009, 9:59am
Following a nail-biting win against Edinburgh in the first leg of Bath Rugby's back-to-back games against the Scottish side, Head Coach Steve Meehan was confident that the team would be able to improve yet further at Murrayfield.
However, with the weather at times doing its best to impersonate arctic conditions, Bath were unable to clinch the win and instead slipped three points behind the victors.
"I don't think I have ever seen a game played with that amount of snow falling," said Meehan post-match.
"It certainly affected the style of play. As we saw last weekend, both sides like to play rugby, so it affected everybody's mindset. But the fact of the matter is that after half-time Edinburgh came out and executed their territory game far better than we did."
Speaking earlier this week, Meehan felt that whilst the match was always going to be a challenging one, the team had made enough progress over recent weeks that it was far from impossible for the team to leave Scotland with a further win in the bank.
So, with this in mind, it was hardly the start that Bath had been aiming for when Chris Paterson booted Edinburgh into a three-point lead after just two minutes following an offence on the 22 metre line and Nicky Little was unable to equalise three minutes later when a long range kick fell just short of the posts.
However, the next 10 minutes failed to offer Edinburgh an easy ride as Bath put pressure on the hosts, pushing them back towards their own territory and holding them up when they went on the attack.
With 20 minutes past, the score still at 3-0 and with the snow beginning to fall again, the teams went down for a scrum. The result offered Little the chance to make amends for his earlier miss as Bath, with the dominant scrum, forced a penalty on Edinburgh's put-in and this time the Fijian made no mistake, slotting the ball perfectly between the sticks to equalise.
Ten minutes later and Bath remained with their hands on the steering wheel, even though the pitch was rapidly turning white and visibility was declining. After Edinburgh made repeated offences, Little was handed the chance to take his team into the lead with another penalty which he executed successfully. However, with Edinburgh remaining hot on their heels, Paterson followed suit and equalised within two minutes to take the score to six all.
Heading towards the end of the first half, Bath put pressure on Edinburgh in their own 22 and an Edinburgh defender timed his tackle on Michael Claassens perfectly, forcing a turnover after which the referee blew his whistle for the interval.
The first five minutes of the second half were predominantly owned by Edinburgh, however Michael Stephenson halted the home sides' charge by marking a kick from Phil Godman and booting the ball back to the halfway line which enabled them the opportunity to make up the ground lost and Luke Watson chipped and chased to head into Edinburgh's 22.
But, whilst the snow had eased, the pressure being put upon Bath had not and Edinburgh made the most of a Bath offence to boot the ball down the pitch to get out of their danger zone and made a concerted effort to gain, what had been the elusive five points.
Driving hard just feet away from the try line, it took all of Bath's impressive defensive efforts to prevent the Dark Knights from grabbing five and the English team turned the fortunes to their favour after a series of scrummages resulted in the Bath captain offloading the ball to Nick Abendanon and, in turn, Tom Cheeseman to clear the ball. At 56 minutes, the score line remained unchanged.
The stalemate continued until 60 minutes when Watson and Claassens failed to deal with a high ball from Edinburgh, Danny Grewcock was penalised for being offside and the Edinburgh full back Paterson was offered the ball to kick three points, taking the men in black and red into the lead with 9 to 6. Following the pattern for this match, the points looked set to be match by Bath who made an aggressive charge towards their opponents 22.
And, as the saying goes, 'if at first you don't succeed, try, try again' - and that is exactly what Bath did. With the pressure mounting on Edinburgh, the boys in white and blue forced two offences, but sadly for Bath neither replacement Ryan Davis nor Jack Cuthbert could quite reach the posts and as the clock counted out the team were unable to grapple back the points to walk away with the win.
"Given the game we saw last weekend, which was great theatre, it is disappointing that we didn't get the chance to double up on that," admitted Meehan. It is a pity for the supporters, and there were a lot of Bath supporters that travelled, because we would have liked to have shown them a better performance than that and a more entertaining game."
Other results for this match are not available.
Lineups for this match are not available.