Bath Rugby defeat Bourgoin 39-12

Leading 16-12 with twenty-minutes to go in what had been a fairly open contest, it looked as though the 10,350 strong home support were in for a fairly tense finale to the match, but tries from Matt Stevens, James Hudson and the outstanding Danny Grewcock combined with a superb kicking display by Olly Barkley, stunned a Bourgoin side that simply had no response.
With two matches gone, John Connolly's side top their pool as the Heineken Cup gives way to Guinness Premiership action over the next month. However, Bath can now return to domestic action full of confidence after six good wins on the bounce.

"We are beginning to build a little momentum at the moment," said Connolly after the match. "With twenty minutes to go it was all to play for, but I was pleased by the way that we finished the match. It was not our best performance, but we are certainly heading in the right direction."

The first half was a tense affair as Bourgoin's Alexandre Peclier and Olly Barkley traded penalties to leave the two sides tied 9-9 coming up to the interval. However, the deadlock was broken when Steve Borthwick finished off some outstanding work by full back Lee Best to score in the corner to give the home side a 14-9 advantage at the break.

The second half failed to ignite and Barkley and then replacement kicker Benjamin Boyet traded penalties, leaving Bourgoin still in touch at 16-12 with a quarter of the game to go.

However, then came the defining moment. Lee Best, having by far his best game in a Bath jersey audaciously ran out of defence from behind the line. Olly Barkley and Ryan Davis took the ball on before Zak Feaunati and replacement Michael Lipman combined to stretch the Bourgoin defnce. A superb move was finally finished off by England squad member Matt Stevens.

The score opened the floodgates as Bath sensed that Bourgoin were on the ropes. The forwards, lead by Grewcock, battered the opposition and holes began to appear in a tired Bourgoin defence.

Replacement lock James Hudson, who has been so patient this season, scored Bath's third try before Danny Grewcock appropriately rounded things off in injury time with a typically powerful surge over the line to make the final scores 39-12.

Bath Rugby: 15 Lee Best (Andy Williams), 14 Salesi Finau, 13 Tom Cheeseman, 12 Olly Barkley (4p, 2c), 11 Frikkie Welsh, 10 Chris Malone (Ryan Davis), 9 Martyn Wood, 1 Matt Stevens (1t), 2 Lee Mears (Pieter Dixon), 3 Duncan Bell (Chris Loader), 4 Steve Borthwick (1t) (James Hudson 1t), 5 Danny Grewcock (1t), 6 Andy Beattie (Michael Lipman), 7 James Scaysbrook, 8 Gareth Delve (Zak Feaunati)

Heineken Man of the Match: Olly Barkley
Att: 10,350
Ref: Nigel Owens (WRU)

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