21 January 2012, 4:48pm
Bath Rugby finished their Heineken Cup campaign on a high as they held on to see off Glasgow Warriors at the Recreation Ground – Final score – Bath Rugby 23 Glasgow Warriors 18.
Bath were put under immediate pressure from the kick-off as a lineout just inside the home side's half provided an attacking platform for the Scottish outfit. Superb defence from Bath proved impenetrable and stood strong in the face of a relentless period of attack. However, some over exuberance from the Bath defence saw them give away a penalty, which fly half Duncan Weir converted. 0-3.
However, Weir turned from hero to villain as in the midst of another Glasgow attack, the young fly half threw a reckless pass out wide, which Tom Biggs intercepted and plucked from the air, sprinting in from 40 metres to score the first try of the game. Olly Barkley converted. 7-3.
Glasgow did claw back another three points shortly after the restart as further attacking pressure forced Bath to concede another early penalty, with Weir successful once more. However, the tables turned as Bath applied some pressure of their own and this time it was Glasgow who couldn't handle the intensity at the breakdown, with Barkley stepping up to slot the kick from in front of the posts, extending the home sides lead. 10-6.
The remainder of the first half continued in similar fashion. Both sides looked relatively dangerous with ball in hand, however, a combination of dropped ball and kicking away possession prevented either side wholly capitalising on their phases of play. A long range penalty attempt from Weir just before half time could have closed the gap to a single point, however the penalty just drifted wide, so as the players ran in at half time, the scores remained 10-6.
The second half started well for Bath, who looked invigorated after the half time break. A great little chip from centre Matt Banahan put the Glasgow winger under great pressure who played the ball into touch, giving Bath an attacking line out just outside the 22. A superb catch and drive rumbled towards the line and with Glasgow massively on the back foot, the home side couldn't be stopped, and number 8 Ben Skirving dotted down for the try. Barkley struck the ball well to add the extra two points. 17-6.
The game seemed to have had its spark lit as a superb line in the Glasgow backs, follow by some slick hands seemed to have earned the visitors with a great try, however, much to delight of the home fans the referee called it back for a forward pass. Frustrated with their try being disallowed, Glasgow came back harder and more determined. A number of phases passed, and Bath defended bravely, with notable tackles from Biggs and fullback Jack Cuthbert. Despite the defensive efforts however, Glasgow's intensity eventually found a hole and an offload out of the tackle allowed winger Tommy Seymour to score, which was followed by a successful conversion from replacement fly half Scott Wight. 17-13.
Bath suffered insult to injury as they went a man down with scrum half Chris Cook sent to the bin following a number of infringements at the breakdown.
Glasgow were thriving on the Rec's wide pitch and launched a further assault on the Bath try line with more great defensive work preventing a second away try. Despite Bath holding out and resisting the pressure, they were stunned when a dropped ball allowed centre Stuart Hogg to break away and sprint down the wing. With just replacement wing Sam Vesty to beat and Rob Harley in support, there was nothing Vesty could do. A well timed offload to the supporting Harley set up the Warriors' second try with just over 15 minutes remaining, and giving them the lead for the first time in the match. 17-18.
With the pressure on, Bath had less than a quarter of an hour to ensure their early lead had not been in vain, and it happened with just over ten minutes left. A Bath attack proved too much in the contact and Glasgow infringed just inside their half, providing Barkley with a long range effort to take Bath ahead again. The ground was silent all for a minute as the crowd held their breath as Barkley stuck the ball, and the centre sent the ball flying through the posts, taking his side ahead by two points. Barkley coolly added another three points with five minutes left as the home side looked to be gaining a late bit of momentum. The game ended deep in the Warriors half and brave defence and a determined attitude to win had rewarded the Bath players with a hard-earned victory. Final score 23-18.
By Rob Breckon
|21/01/12||Castres||13 - 16||Scarlets|
|21/01/12||Northampton||36 - 51||Munster|
|21/01/12||Leinster||25 - 3||Montpellier|
|21/01/12||Clermont Auvergne||19 - 15||Ulster|
|21/01/12||Leicester||33 - 6||Aironi|
|FB||Jack Cuthbert||15||Rory Lamont||FB|
|W||Matthew Carraro||14||Tommy Seymour||W||1|
|3||2||C||Olly Barkley||13||Stuart Hogg||C|
|C||Matthew Banahan||12||Graeme Morrison||C|
|1||W||Tom Biggs||11||Colin Shaw||W|
|FH||Stephen Donald||10||Duncan Weir||FH||2|
|SH||Chris Cook||9||Chris Cusiter||SH|
|P||Charlie Beech||1||Jon Welsh||P|
|H||Pieter Dixon||2||Pat MacArthur||H|
|P||Dave Wilson||3||Ed Kalman||P|
|L||Dave Attwood||4||Richie Gray||L|
|L||Ryan Caldwell||5||Alastair Kellock||L|
|FL||Andy Beattie||6||Rob Harley||FL||1|
|FL||Guy Mercer||7||Chris Fusaro||FL|
|1||8||Ben Skirving||8||John Barclay||8|