Bath Rugby recorded their second win of the season with a 30-23 win over London Wasps after an exciting and at times frantic game.
Olly Barkley carried on where he left off against Worcester Warriors last week by kicking six from six goals throughout the game, with tries for the home side coming from Matt Banahan, Tom Biggs and Kyle Eastmond.
Barkley started with a penalty in the first five minutes giving the hosts an early lead. There were early attacking opportunities for Bath, but they were unable to take advantage, and after 15 minutes Nick Robinson responded with a penalty of his own at the second time of asking, drawing the sides level.
Both sides were looking to play the ball, using the width of the pitch to try and find holes in the opposition defence, and the much talked about backlines on either side were keeping the defences and crowd on their toes.
Patience in attack paid off for the home side as - just under the half hour mark - they were first to cross the try line, Matt Banahan powering over. A well taken lineout from Dominic Day saw the ball spun wide, with Barkley picking out Dan Hipkiss. The centre put in a deft touch to release Banahan who stormed over the line and touched down. Barkley added the extras, taking Bath's lead to 10-3.
In keeping with the frantic nature of the game, Wasps responded quickly. Nathan Catt put in a barnstorming chip and chase, but Joe Simpson gathered for Wasps and released Christian Wade along the line. The winger looked set to score, but a fantastic try-saving tackle from Barkley saw the danger averted - for the moment at least.
The visitors kept the ball, and, after a period of sustained attack where they tried to find a way through the staunch Bath defence, a penalty was given and Robinson clawed back three points as the half-time whistle blew. 10-6.
Bath came out for the second half ready to press home their advantage, and quickly increased the lead with another penalty from Barkley after a great scrum from the home pack saw Wasps penalised.
The advantage was added to just minutes later with Biggs crossing over for Bath's second try. A loose pass from Robinson hit teammate Tom Palmer on the back and ricocheted into the path of Biggs who chipped ahead, setting up a footrace between himself and Wade as they headed for the line. The Bath man held his line, powered in front of the Wasps wing and held on to touch down under pressure. Barkley again converted. 20-6.
Wasps were not letting go though and Tom Varndell managed to get on the end of a neat chip from lock Marco Wentzel to go over for their first try and to bring them back to within seven points as Robinson added the conversion. 20-13.
Bath had the opportunity to close the game out going into the final quarter of the after Carl Fearns stormed towards the tryline. The flanker was unable to find either Biggs or Michael Claassens with his pass though, and Wasps managed to escape and clear.
A good kick from Banahan gave Bath some vital territory, and set up the final home try of the game. From the lineout, the ball was shipped wide, Nick Abendanon making a strong run in the midfield, before Barkley picked out Kyle Eastmond in the centres. The wing collected the ball and jinked his way to the tryline, bursting through a number of tackles on his way to dance over for a superb score – his first in a competitive fixture for Bath. Barkley again completed the try, 27-13.
A turnover from Joe Launchbury gave the visitors hope of a losing bonus point, as he released Christian Wade to run in down the line, with Robinson converting, and the fly-halves traded a penalty a-piece as the game drew to its conclusion, Robinson's coming on the final whistle.
Final Score – Bath Rugby 30 – London Wasps 23.